Jesus' disciples wanted to know how to pray and He taught them, "Don't pray like them." The hypocrites liked to make appearances and show off their eloquent words. Jesus saw through their empty prayers. He said, "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you," (Matthew 6:6 NIV).
I've thought I'm okay because I pray in private and not in public, not for any recognition. Yet, today when I read the Lord's Prayer in the sixth chapter of Matthew, I asked myself if my life matched my prayers. How often have I prayed for the homeless and hungry and done nothing personally to help them? Can I honestly say, "I gave at church," and think it is enough? How often have I prayed for the sick and failed to call or visit or send a card? I've been in the hospital and I know how important those calls, cards and visits are.
My prayers are good Christian prayers, I think. "Lord, bless me and help me expand my ministry." But when I looked at the Lord's Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught his disciples, I don't see one single personal pronoun--not one. Check it out:
Our Father who art in Heaven,
hallowed by your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.
Think About It
Is it wrong to ask God for help or healing? No, but we must remember that prayer is not about us, but about God and others. Yet, we live in a selfish and self-centered world. God's thoughts and ways are higher than ours. He made each of us in His image and desires more for us. He loves us so much He made a way for us to be with Him forever. We can learn to work and pray and love as He does but only with His power and strength at work in us.
Pray About It
Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us. You are the awesome and true God. You have life and love everlasting. Empower us to love as you do, to live out our prayers after we say "Amen."