As we enter into the Lenten season, (whether you celebrate Lent or not, these 40 some odd days, can be an important time of reflection for all of us) as we look forward with anticipation to the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, we’ll be walking through one of the most important daily practices that Christ taught His followers. Each Wednesday from now until Holy week there will be a new post as we take this part of Scripture piece by piece, I hope you will join us on this journey and possibly share it with someone you think could be encouraged by what Jesus taught. We’ll call this series: “The Prayer.”
In Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus continues his teaching that we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” This time of teaching is where Jesus lays the groundwork for living inside of His Kingdom. These are essential things that we must take up in our daily lives if we want to live life the way Jesus wants us to live. Beginning with verse 5, Jesus turns our attention to prayer. And what follows has become widely known as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Prayer is a basic, yet essential, element to our Christian life, so when Jesus lays out “how we should pray,” we should pay close attention. What Jesus teaches us in these 9 verses should shape our daily lives. Verse 9 begins like this:
“Pray then like this…” (Matthew 6:9a ESV)
This doesn’t mean that every time we pray we MUST pray this prayer, but Jesus does mean that every time we pray our prayer should reflect what He models for us here.
As we walk through this passage in the coming weeks, we will notice part of this model is to show us that our prayers should never begin or be solely about ourselves, but it will also show us that our personal needs (both physical and spiritual) should be a part of daily petitions and matter very much to God, and more importantly that, us having the right heart (not the right words) is what matters the most when we talk with God. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
As Jesus gives an introduction to His “model prayer,” He cautions us first on what NOT to do when we pray. Verse 5-8 tells us not to pray just to be heard, or to impress others. People that pray in this way only get attention from a crowd, not from God. Instead, we should pray both with others and when we are alone, with sincerity of heart. He also warns against thinking that the more words or the eloquence of our words do anything to move the heart of God. God knows what we need; all we have to do is talk to Him.
His way to pray is both simple, yet complex, so let’s take the time to pay close attention to the words of our Savior on how we were created to communicate with Him each and every day. Join us on this journey the next few weeks as we discover the abundance of life found inside of “The Prayer.”
Read the next part here: “The Prayer: Part One “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
Grace and Peace to You.