Prayer is one of those gifts that the Creator has given to his children that is quiet often misunderstood and misused. Most of the people, who call themselves Christians do not really get prayer, and the evidence that we don’t get it, is our lack of influence on others and life change in our own lives.
I think one of the big problems is that we assume way too much when it comes to the things of God, and we take way too much for granted. The Bible is full of instruction. It teaches that we should pray, shows us how to do it and how not to do it and even helps us to understand the challenges we will face, if we don’t get it right.
A classic scripture passage on prayer is found in Matthew 6:1-15 where it says: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
This passage is packed full of very important details that will guide us to prayer powerful prayers that will impact life and eternity. The first thing that we will notice and learn from is that “There Is A Wrong Way To Pray!”
Verse 5 says: “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”
When You Pray! This is an assumption that we will in fact, take the time to pray. Just because we begin what we call a prayer with “Our Father” and end with “In Jesus Name” does not make our prayer a real, powerful and meaningful prayer.
Prayer is as much for us as it is for God, and when we begin to see prayer through spiritual eyes, then we will become different in our praying. There is a right and a wrong way to pray and the sad reality for most people today is that they choose not the right or wrong way, but “no way” to pray.
When Jesus said: “When”, he was making an indication that prayer is an ongoing activity. An activity where God is more interested in our attitude than our action! He says: “Do Not Be Like The Hypocrites!” giving us some classic instruction on how not to pray!
Jesus said: The hypocrites love to pray! The issue for them was not taking the time to do it, the issue was doing it in the wrong way. “Standing in the church and on the streets to be seen” is a very wrong motive for praying powerful prayers.
We need to understand, believe and be influenced by this idea of “Motive Matters!” The hypocrites have their reward and it’s not answered prayer! You and I have to decide in our praying: What reward do we want?
The issue today is not that God does not answer prayer, it is that we pray wrong. Prayer is not so much about getting God to do something, because God has already done it! Prayer is more about getting ourselves to where we need to be so that we can claim and receive what God has already done! Prayer is about belief, our belief in a great big God, who wants to do great big things in our and through our little lives.
A lot of times when we pray, we think that something must be wrong with God, that His “giver” must be broke, but the issue is not His “giver”, but our “receiver”! Romans 10:9 says: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The same faith it takes to get saved, is the faith it takes to manifest miracles and get prayers answered in our everyday living.
Jesus teaches us to go into our closet, when he says in verse 6: “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Get Alone With God! This does not mean that you can’t pray in public! It means that you don’t pray for recognition! The issue is motive – why are you praying what you are praying and how you are praying?
God See’s and God Rewards! We some times think that it takes shifting into King James language and religious tone to make prayer powerful. God and His Angels must shake their heads at our silly games. We have got to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.
Pray To Your Father! Prayer is about God and prayer is about you, so stop making it about everyone and everything else. God is waiting and longing to hear from His children.
Our prayers are like a kiss to the one we love, start thinking of your prayers in this way and KISS – Keep It Short And Simple! In verse 7 Jesus teaches: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Do Not Use Meaningless Repetition! God does not have a memory problem and it does not help our case to plead the same argument over and over and over again! God must sometime think: “What is wrong with him, why does he keep repeating himself?” The sad truth is this: If God does not enjoy your prayers, then you’ve got a serious problem!
God Does Not Base His Response On The Length Of Your Prayers. I can only find two times where Jesus prayed long prayers and on both occasions, he prayed all night long, but every other prayer he prayed, you find Jesus praying short and to the point. Someone said: “The shorter the prayer, the greater the faith!”
Prayer Is Communion With God! Relationship is supposed to be enjoyable. Prayer should not be something that we dread, it should be something that we enjoy and look forward to. I think one of the reasons that so many of us, have such a hard time with prayer is because there is a big difference between praying and complaining, and a lot of times our prayers become more of our telling God everything that is wrong. I am not saying that there is not a time and place to unload our truck, but Jesus teaches us how to do it, because He expects us to do it and he wants us to do it right, because when we do it right, the blessings flow and we cannot help but to live blessed!