Read Matthew 6:5-15
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. 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.
“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. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
The disciples asked Jesus to teach them one thing. It wasn’t “Jesus teach us how to cast out demons, teach us how to multiply bread, teach us how to raise dead people to life!” it was “Lord, teach us how to pray.”
It was said that there was a Rabbi who would pray from corner to corner, daily, reciting the same prayer in one spot, moving over another step, reciting the same prayer again, moving over another step, reciting the prayer, etc. He would do this over and over, from corner to corner, until he arrived back where he started.
That is the kind of prayer Jesus is referring to here, the kind of prayer that is more worried about the meticulous place or the exact words, the kind that is more like superstition and OCD than it is like a relationship.
Prayer is hard. It is a spiritual discipline. It is learned, practiced, and relational. We have turned prayer into a mockery. We have turned prayer into useless repetition, superstitious phrases, and mindless/heartless chatter. Really no different than what Jesus is talking about here.
Over the next week, we’ll look at each of Jesus instructions on prayer, and ask the LORD just as His disciples did “LORD, teach us to pray.”
- According to this passage, what is Jesus’ warning to us regarding prayer?
- Write down or circle any repeating words or phrases from yesterday’s passage with giving.
- What obstacles keep you from praying? How can you pray less like what’s mentioned in verses 5-8 and more like Jesus?