The Lord’s Prayer: To the Father

“But 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)

We’re all about prayer this week. More specifically, we’re all about Jesus’ Matthew 6 teaching on how we should do this thing called “prayer.”

hands_350First step: Pray for God’s ears, not other people’s. Praying in public makes some people nervous. I don’t really blame them for saying silly things to God in those moments, but you can sometimes tell they’re worried about “sounding right” to the people around them. They work in a few churchy phrases because they’ve heard everyone else do it. Jesus told his listeners to do their praying behind closed doors – in secret.

Why? For one thing, it weeds out all the wrong motives. The Jewish religious leaders gave each other spiritual brownie points for style and form in their public prayers, but they were missing the point of talking to God. When you’re alone, you know you’re not impressing anyone with your prayer-talk. You’re more likely to talk to him straight out of your own life, not out of someone else’s prayer fashion handbook.

Of course, you’re not going to pray in secret unless you’re convinced God is listening. Prayer in secret is an act of greater faith in the God who cares so deeply about you. Jesus promised that our invisible Father listens and rewards those prayers. You don’t need to step up to the microphone for him to hear and answer you.

Think: If you ever pray in front of people, do you pray any differently than you do when you’re alone? Are you ever tempted to try to impress people with your prayers? How likely are you to pray when nobody is looking?

Pray: Ask God to help you talk to him more often when nobody else is around.

Do: Got a closet handy? Try praying in it today. No, you don’t really need to pray in a closet for God to hear you, but trying it once or twice might make you more aware of how you’re talking to God.