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When I was in high school, some 19 years ago, I remember my mom regularly watching different televangelists. The channel she faithfully watched would play sermons from different preachers, evangelist, missionaries, and speakers all day long.
On one particular day I watched a preacher give his sermon. I don’t necessarily remember the sermon he shared with the world that day, however I do remember his sales pitch at the end. He was selling his latest book. He wrote a book on prayer. In advertising his latest book he said words I have never forgotten to this day; “You do not know how to pray until you read my book.”
That one sentence confused my teenage self. I didn’t understand that statement. What was in his book that was so important that wasn’t in the Bible?
Now as an adult, I’m aggravated and saddened that christian’s would make such claims to sell a book. Those false statements may lead people away from the Bible and seeking it’s teaching.
Let me remind you that Jesus gave us a model prayer to use as a guideline for praying in Matthew 6:5-13…
A Guide to Prayer
The Model Prayer
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[a] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father 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 forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[b]
Let’s look at this model prayer that Jesus gave us.
From Matthew 6:5-6, we see He is telling us not be boastful and seeking attention from others when we pray. He tells us to go in a private place and get alone with God.
In Matthew 6:7, Jesus tell us to not be repetitious with our words. Prayer is not quoting the same prayer over and over again. Prayer is a conversation between you and God. It is not about how many times a day you can recite from memory a certain “prayer”.
From Matthew 6:8, He lets us know that God knows what is in our heart before we even speak the words in prayer. He knows us and He loves us!
The sample or model prayer starts in Matthew 6:9. Jesus starts it off with calling God our Father in Heaven. That is an endearing title filled with love. Next he is worshiping God. “Hallowed by your name.” Jesus is saying that even God’s name is holy. Jesus acknowledges who God is and that He is worthy of our worship.
Matthew 6:10, Jesus continues to worship God by asking Him to bring His kingdom down to earth as promised in the scriptures. Jews have often prayed the Kaddish Prayer, which includes, “may his kingdom come speedily and soon.” He also worships God by asking for His will to be done here on earth just like it is done in Heaven. Jesus is honoring and submitting to God in this passage.
In Matthew 6:12, we are guided to ask God to forgive us of our sins and to help us forgive those that have sinned against us. It’s important to be reconciled back to God when we have sinned. It’s equally important to Him that we also forgive those that hurt us.
Matthew 6:13, we are to ask God for help against temptations. The bible tells us satan and his goonies roam the earth for people he can destroy. It’s ok to ask God for help. He is our strength! This verse and model prayer ends in worshiping God.
We don’t need to go any further than the Bible to learn to pray. The model prayer that Jesus gave is filled with a worshipful conversation between our Heavenly Father and us.
Come humbly but expectedly when praying to God. He is our creator. He has good plans for you. Fully believe and trust in God.
A conversation implies you say something and then the person on the other end says something. So when praying to God, make sure you are being still enough to hear God. The enemy tries to crowd our mind. Let’s be intentional about seeking out God and His voice in our lives.
Is your prayer worshipful? What changes can we make as Christians to help us be single minded, focusing on God’s voice?
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.