I am sure you’ve heard prayers prayed in public that left you saying to yourself, “Wow, that really impressive! Sounds like that person took a lot of time crafting that prayer! They’re really good with words!”
The problem is, in the passage I read this morning during “Coffee with the Lord,” Jesus said that wasn’t the purpose of prayer – to “wow” others – “to be heard and seen by others… to be heard for our many words!” In fact, He says effective prayer is really a personal thing between God and the person praying – a private thing, a “secret” thing. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, filled with “empty phrases” repeated over and over again. Our Heavenly Father hears and knows the sincere heart (even before the person praying speaks)! I mean, read it for yourself in Matthew 6:5-8!
Then what follows is really a pattern the Lord gave for our times of prayer – not simply a prayer to be memorized and repeated over and over again. Here’s my take on what He recommended…
1) Recognize who God is and your relationship with Him… “Our Father in heaven”
2) In your heart and with your words “reverence” Him – recognize his “holiness” – worship Him! … “Hallowed be Your Name!”
3) Tell Him you desire His rule and reign to manifest itself fully on earth – His will to be done! … “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
4) Don’t hesitate to bring your daily needs to Him in prayer – As your Heavenly Father, He cares about those things! … “Give us this day our daily bread”
5) And be sure to ask Him to forgive you for your sins and failures (and be sure to give forgiveness to others as well). – “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
6) Then sincerely ask for Divine protection from temptation and evil! – “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil!”
7) And finally, some translations (and ancient manuscripts) add what I consider to be a wonderful ending to our prayer – an appropriate, worshipful, acknowledgement of our Heavenly Father’s position and power! – “For Yours is the king and the power and the glory forever! Amen!”
(A personal paraphrase of Matthew 6:9-13 – The “Lord’s Prayer” or better, “The way Jesus taught His disciples to pray”)
Sounds like a great way to have a meaningful season of prayer to me! Recommended by Jesus Himself! Can’t beat that!