WHEN YOU PRAY
‘When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men… And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words…” Matthew 6:5, 7.
“When you pray…” Once again Jesus assumed that His disciples would pray. As children of God and followers of Jesus, it is impossible to live our lives as He intends if we do not communicate regularly with Him. Unfortunately many of us have degraded prayer to nothing more than asking God for things or telling Him what to do, but that is not what prayer is about!
Firstly, we must understand that prayer is the privilege of God’s sons and daughters. In the model prayer Jesus taught His disciples, we are to address God as Father. That means that, unlike people who worship idols, we have a unique relationship with Him. Fathers care for and protect their children, and children submit to, obey and serve their fathers in preparation for their role as adults.
Jesus said we are not to use prayer to show off how “religious” we are. If all we want is people’s admiration, that’s all we will get.
Secondly, prayer is not about informing God, instructing Him or making demands of Him. God is God and we are not. He knows everything about us far better than we do. When we focus only on our needs and wants, we feed our selfishness. God wants us to be involved in much bigger things than our own little lives.
If prayer is not about wants and needs, what is prayer?
- Prayer is worship.
Worship is about putting God where He belongs, in the centre of our lives. Instead of looking at God through all our issues and problems, we must stop and gaze at God first, who He is and where He is. Prayer is not about getting God to come into our world. It’s about stepping in His world where He is God Almighty, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-wise and All-loving. When we look at Him first, everything else will assume its right perspective.
- Prayer is recognising our role in God’s kingdom.
God wants to rule over people’s hearts so that He can put righteousness and truth back where they belong in the world. He does it through us when we live in obedience to Him and share His message of love with the world. We are not here to get what we want and live for ourselves. We are here to show the world what God is like and to invite people back into His family as His dearly loved children.
- Prayer is submitting ourselves to God to be changed into the likeness of Jesus.
We still have a long way to go before we resemble Jesus, our elder brother. Two things get in the way; our unwillingness to forgive and our selfishness and greed. Jesus knew that it is not the devil who is our real problem. We are. He taught us to pray that God would save us from ourselves. When we look at the things people do to offend us, we only see how big their offences are. He wants us to see how big God’s mercy is. Then we will forgive the little that people do against us because we have been forgiven much that we have done against God.
Do you pray? As a disciple of Jesus is it an honour and privilege to be intimate with God.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
Watch this space. My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master, will soon be on the bookshelves.