This simple blog is devoted to the greatest privilege that man has ever been given; PRAYER.
You can’t appreciate the Lord’s Prayer until you look at the prayers of the hypocrites and the pagans. For that insight, we look to the beginning of our passage, Matthew 6:5
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corner to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the does and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
No doubt you’ve heard people who can mesmerize entire congregations with their catalog of grammar. Maybe you’ve even said to yourself, “I wish I could pray like he can pray!” According to this verse, that might be an unwise wish. Eloquence impresses people, not God. The Lord is interested in humility and sincerity, not stage presence.
One evening at bedtime, a little boy prayed loudly from his room, “Lord, bless Mommy and Daddy. And, Lord, give me a new bicycle!” His mother came in, holding her ears and said, “Son, you don’t have to shout. God can hear.” He answered “Yes, Mommy, but Grandmother can’t. She’s clear down the hall!” Obviously, the boy wasn’t counting on God to answer his prayer. Don’t let your prayer degenerate into a performance. Your goal is neither to impress nor inform other people. Instead, find a place to be alone with God. (Parents, be creative!) Private behavior should be an intimate encounter between Creator and creation.
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8) Meaningless words do not transform into meaningful prayers. There’s nothing wrong with teaching a child to pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” and so on. But if that’s as far as you’ve gotten after 20 or 30 years of praying, that’s worthless repetition. If you recite the same worn- out phrases before a meal and call it “grace,” you may have quoted, but you have not prayed.
Excerpt from “Prayers that pass the ceiling” by Tony Evans