The Lord's Prayer. In this devotion we begin a section of Scripture from Matthew 6 and Luke 11 commonly known as The Lord's Prayer. What is prayer? Prayer is that deep, personal, communication we have with God our Father.
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love
to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets,
that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their
reward. 6 But you,
when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray
to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in
secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Matthew 5-8, NKJV
(See also Luke 11:1-4)
In this devotion we begin the section from Matthew 6 and Luke 11 on what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer. Jesus was addressing the public, showy mannerisms of the religious leaders of His day. Wanting to display their godliness before all of the people, the religious leaders made a great display of their prayers before the people. Jesus, however, quickly went to the heart of prayer in His words to the disciples.
What is prayer? Prayer is that deep, personal, communication we have with God our Father. We are not to pray so that others will think highly of our great spirituality. Rather, we pray in secret, to God our Father because we long to be with Him. We long to communicate with Him, for we realize that we can do nothing apart from Him.
Is prayer one-sided? Do our prayers just consist of us going to God and presenting our needs and desires to Him? Do we only go to God to ask Him for those things we need, which we hope will result in a better life for us?
As in all true forms of communication, prayer is a two-way street. When we pray in secret, baring our very soul before God, He responds. Yes! He communicates with us as well. In our heart of hearts, we sense and feel His response.
When we are fearful, and cry out to Him for help, we feel that fear dissipate. When our hearts are filled with anxiety, we sense His overwhelming peace. When we study His Word, He fills our hearts with understanding. When we are almost overcome with sorrow and grief, He sustains us. When we are reminded of God's great love for us, our hearts are filled with joy.
But there is more! Jesus said, "When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words." True prayer is not about repeating a magic formula; true prayer is not a talisman that, if said repeatedly, will result in a response from God. True prayer is communicating with God, and, actually, does not even require any words at all!
Spend some time just adoring God! Spend some time thinking of all of the attributes of God that you can remember. Spend some time remembering all of those things that God has done for you, personally. No specific words are required, yet the resulting love and joy of Christ you experience, will carry you through even the most difficult of days.
Why else are words not even required? Jesus said, "For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." God knows His children! He knows every need we have--even those needs of which we are not yet aware! As a doting, loving Father, He loves to bestow gifts of love and grace upon His children.
As we delve more into the Lord's Prayer, may you experience joy and peace in your own personal times with God. May you find in Him your anchor, your peace, your comfort, and your everlasting joy!