When Jesus teaches on the topic of prayer we should “prick up our ears” and be listening! I mean after all, He had the Father’s ear and spoke intimately with Him regularly! Not only that, access into the Father’s presence with a “priority pass” is gained “in Jesus’ name!” He is the one that gained unhindered access for us!So when I read the advice of Jesus regarding effective prayer in my Bible this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I was compelled to pay close attention. Here’s some key advice on prayer from the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, rephrased in my own words…
First, never pray to be noticed – don’t put on “airs” or use fancy language. In fact, simply and reverently address the Living God in ordinary language.
Second, prioritize private prayer. Get to know the Heavenly Father personally! Do the bulk of your praying in “the secret place! There’s a promise that goes with that!
And third, never let prayer become simply repeating “empty phrases” over and over again… mindlessly, with a yawn. Don’t simply “put in time” when you pray, thinking that the “amount of time” or the “word count” will give you special power and privilege.
In fact, Jesus taught us to approach your Heavenly Father like this…
1. First, spend some time reverencing Him – realizing and acknowledging who He is!
2. Then tell Him you want His “Kingdom” to be fully realized (here, just as it is in heaven)!
3. And don’t be afraid to ask Him to meet your daily needs!
4. Be sure to ask for His forgiveness (and be sure to give it to others).
5. And finally, ask for Divine protection (especially from temptation and sin).
And just to be sure that you have this straight from the Lord, here it is right out of your Bible…
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (From Matthew 6:5-13 ESV)