Reflection from my reading in Matt 6:1-18 the One Year Bible New Testament.
In this passage, Jesus gives us some really practical principles for prayer.
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
Praying privately gives you an opportunity to be real with God. If you only pray with others, then you have to wonder how close your really are to God. Praying privately helps you focus on God.
Bonus point: Find a place for prayer
One very helpful thing for me is having a place I can go to pray. Personally, I pray best in nature, so I go to the lake or the hot tub; having a favorite chair can also help you get into prayer mode more easily. Also, I encourage you to turn off your phone and other electrical devices that can be a distraction.
Pray Simply & Succinctly
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” Matthew 6:7
Long, drawn out King James style prayers are not more powerful. God wants you to simply tell him what you need and talk to him.
One acrostic that has helped many pray effectively is PRAY, based on the Lord’s Prayer found here.
Praise & Thanksgiving
“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. ” Matthew 6:9
Starting with worship and thanksgiving reminds us of God’s power and sets the tone for our prayers. Praying a Psalm or singing a worship song can help with this.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
If we have unconfessed sin in our lives it will hinder our prayers. Confessing our sin to God and asking for his forgiveness clears up and restores our relationship with him.
“Give us this day our daily bread” Matthew 6:11
Ask God for what you need and want. God is our Father and is not upset when we ask him for things. He actually enjoys it, and it gives him great pleasure to answer our prayers. Nothing is too big or too small for him. We should also ask for God’s protection from temptation and evil for ourselves and our families.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13
Also, don’t forget to pray for the needs of others and the advancement of God’s kingdom. Pray for more laborers, pray for missionaries you know, pray for your pastor, and pray for the people in your life.
“Your kingdom come…” Matthew 6:10
Yield & Listen
“…your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
Ending with a time of surrendering to God helps you live your day in dependence upon him. This is also a good time to quiet yourself and listen with an attitude of obedience that is open to whatever he wants to tell you.
Learning to pray the way Jesus taught us will help us enjoy prayer more and experience more answers to prayer!
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