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A Pattern For Prayer, Part 1
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 • Posted April 1, 2011

I encourage you to read Matthew 6:5-13 carefully. In this section of Scripture, Jesus first shows us how we are not to pray; and then He shows us how we are to pray. Commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer (though it really the disciple’s prayer), it is given to us by Jesus as a pattern for us to follow in praying to our Father in Heaven. Before we get into The Lord’s Prayer, let’s first take a look at what Jesus said we should not be doing concerning prayer.

Jesus starts out by saying, "When you pray" - not "If you pray". Prayer is not optional in the Christian’s walk. It is not a suggestion. We are to do it. Assembling together with the Brethren; reading the Bible; living righteously; giving tithes and offerings; making disciples – and praying – among other things, are just standard procedure for the Christian. We shall call upon The Lord and pray to Him (Jer 29:12-13). Men ought always to pray (Lk 18:1, Eph 6:18, Philp 4:6). We are to continue in prayer (Col 4:2), and pray without ceasing (1Thess 5:17).

Next, Jesus points out that hypocrites love to pray - in public. Are you only a "prayer warrior" in public? Then you are a hypocrite. Don’t you just hate it when a long winded blow-hard hijacks a prayer meeting? They go on and on with all of their flowery, big words - and they are praying only with themselves, not to God our Father (Lk 18:11-12). Or, there are people who pray as a covering for their unrighteous lives. Like the Pharisees, they do evil - and then pray for a pretence (A show - Mt. 23:14). Save your long winded prayers, and walk righteously.

Why do hypocrites love to pray in public? To be seen of men. Their praying isn’t about God – it’s about them. God knows the heart of man. Men do lots of things for show. Most people are man pleasers, instead of God pleasers. Our prayers should be from the heart. Honest prayers. Pure prayers. Not for exhibition (Mt 23:5, Lk 16:15, Jn 5:44, 7:18, 12:42-43). Believe it or not, some men even preach Jesus just to argue; instead of wanting to see lives changed (Philp 1:15-17). Don’t assume because someone prays or preaches, that it is of sincerity. We should do what we do for Jesus, and esteem others higher than ourselves (Col 3:17, Phip 2:3-4).

In Mt. 6:6, Jesus said that we should go into a private place to pray. We should pray to God in secret, that He may reward us publicly. You see, secret prayer is what is real. When you pray, and there is no chance of being seen - you totally open up and humble yourself before God. This is also when you can really hear from God. If you are too busy to pray, then you have your priorities wrong. Prayer was important to Jesus. He made time (Mt 14:23, 26:36) for it, and so should we. If you’re not hearing God’s voice, I suspect you’re not spending much, or any, time in prayer. When you do, you get sensitive to His voice, and you will hear.

In verse 7, Jesus specifically says not to use vain repetition in prayer like the heathens do. Yet, so many Christians do this very thing. They repeat the same thing over and over again. That is pagan! God is not deaf, nor does He need you to wake Him up! Quit driving God, and yourself, crazy with worthless, repetitious prayers! If I was God, I would dread to see some Christians coming to pray! Notice these two instances of heathens crying out the same thing over and over again for hours (1Ki 18:26, Act 19:34).

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