The study lesson today comes from Matthew 6:5-14. It talks about how Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer.
Many of us as children learned the bedtime prayer; “Now I lay me down to sleep” but, as we became more “mature”, prayer took on a different meaning. Well, at least it did for me. Prayer became more about reflection and meditation than something to simply say before bed.
Yes, Jesus taught many things during His ministry including what to do about money, anger & giving, to name a few. But, one thing that supersedes all of this is learning how to pray for God’s help in these matters. Jesus knew that prayer was the only way to gain God’s help. He encouraged His disciples to pray for help with any difficulty they faced. He knew that prayer was a direct connection to God.
And, Jesus knew that God could answer prayers and give guidance. So, it is safe to say that prayer was the cornerstone of Jesus’ teachings and is essential for Christians to learn and master. With that said, let’s read the Scripture below as Jesus uses “The Lords Prayer” to teach us how to pray.
Jesus Teaches How to Pray with The Lord’s Prayer
“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. – Matthew 6:5-14 NASB
How to Use The Lord’s Prayer – Why Pray in Secret?
Many people in Jesus’ day prayed in public places so they would be seen by others. I like to think of this as their “fifteen minutes of fame“.
We, as humans like to be recognized for our accomplishments; the Jewish people and leaders were no different. By praying in public, they earned the respect of those around them and gained the recognition they desired.
Jesus says it is better to move to a private place to pray. This way the prayer is between you and God with no distractions and no possibility to take credit for being a “religious” person in plain view of others. Private prayer is the most effective way to strengthen your relationship with Him.
When to Pray
We can pray anytime or anywhere when the need strikes us but making prayer a part of our daily lives will keep us in touch with God consistently. For instance, many believers choose to pray in the morning to start their day with a sense of purpose and direction.
Pray while driving or walking – and yes, you can pray with your eyes open. God still hears you.
Set Aside Time
Make an appointment with God to pray daily and find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. You will strengthen your ties with God by praying in this way. Praying consistently is an excellent way to strengthen your relationship with God.
Prayer for the Right Reasons
God knows our hearts and minds. So, when we pray in public and get a feeling of superiority to others who don’t pray in public let’s remember Christ’s words in verse 5 and become humble again. Remember that regardless of our public prayers, God still knows our innermost thoughts.
The “many words” Jesus speaks of in verses 7 & 8 may refer to chanting. Those who chant say the same words over and over as if God keeps count of how many times a request is made. This is similar to Buddhism’s mantra practice, which is believed to lead to enlightenment. By repeating the same words over and over, one gains clarity and focus.
God knows what we need before we ask so why pray at all?
Prayer is an effort on our part to let God know that we depend on Him and trust Him with our inner thoughts and needs.
If we pray sincerely and ask like a little child, God answers; not always in the way we expect Him to but in a way that is in His will (“Your will be done ..“) for our lives. This is because He desires to answer our prayers in accordance with His will, not necessarily our own.
Three Answers to Prayer
God normally has three ways to answer our prayer. His answer could be ..
God may answer yes, no, or tell us to be patient as he works his will for our lives – and others’ lives. God’s timing is perfect and He knows what is best for us. He may not give us the answer we want, but He always gives us the answer we need. In other words, the answer not only affects us but also all those involved, and God knows what’s best for all. Ultimately, we must trust that God’s plan is greater than ours and that He will give us the best possible outcome.
Lastly, but first in our prayer sequence, let’s remember who we are talking to – this is the mighty God, Creator of the universe. He is all-powerful and All-knowing, and He can do anything. He is our Creator and Sustainer, and He is all love and mercy. Let’s treat Him as such and bow to Him in reverence.
Please take a moment to pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask God to do His will in your life.
I am going back to say this prayer now.
Love in Christ
If you would like to know how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16 to learn more.