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Oct
01

The Lord’s Prayer: Basic Instruction

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When Jesus began teaching on the subject of prayer, he anticipated that there would be questions about how prayer should be offered. Prior to the model prayer he listed some basic do’s and don’ts about how to pray.

In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus told the disciples to not pray like the hypocrites, because they pray with the wrong motive. They pray to impress other people. In the following two verses Jesus told the disciples to not pray like people of other religions, because they pray in the wrong manner. They pray to impress God.

How then shall we approach prayer?

1. We are to pray with sincerity. “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.” (Matthew 6:5)

2. We are to pray with secrecy. “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)

It has been said that the secret of religion is religion in secret. Notice also that Jesus assumes our prayers.

3. We are to pray with simplicity. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on like people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” (Matthew 6:7)

Spending time in prayer will vary, depending on the need. Jesus is warning against the assumption that the longer you pray for something the more likely you will receive the answer you want to your prayer. Remember, Elijah called down fire on Mt. Carmel with a prayer consisting of 64 words.

4. We are to pray securely. “Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” (Matthew 6:8)

We can be confident knowing that God knows our needs. Even though he knows our needs we are not exempt from prayer. Prayer not only helps us find union with God. It also helps cultivate trust and gives him glory because we know who provides for us.

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