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The blessing of prayer

Written by Myles MacMillan.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (NIV) Matthew 6:5-8


When we think about blessings, prayer may not be the first that comes to mind. It’s always a good idea for me to reflect on the true meaning of prayer to remind myself of how important it is in our relationship with God. Jesus words in Matthew 6:5-13 highlight what God is looking for in our prayers to Him. In Jesus time, the Pharisees would stand in public places and pray at length. The reason this was wrong was because they were doing it “to be seen by others” not to develop their relationship with God. Jesus says that people who pray so they can get the attention of others have “received their reward in full” because they get all the attention they want from others but no reward from God.

Verse 8 says that God already knows what we need before we ask it. So if God already knows what we need then why bother praying? To help answer that question consider this, if our parents, children, or spouses all knew what we wanted before we spoke to them would we stop talking to our family? Of course not! We need to continue speaking with those we love to develop and grow the relationships we are in. It is the same way in our relationship with God.

So what is the best way to pray to God? The answer is with our hearts. This is what Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6. In verses 9-13, He gives an example of a model prayer. Jesus gave this prayer as a model of what our prayers should look like. Consider the topics Jesus covers in this short prayer:

Verse 9: Praise God for how awesome He is

Verse 10: Showing submission to His will, admitting that His way is best

Verse 11: Asking God for what we need to survive physically, acknowledging that it comes from Him

Verse 12: Asking for forgiveness for our sins and help so we can forgive others who have wronged us

Verse 13: Admitting our weaknesses and asking for help to overcome our temptation to sin

The next time you pray consider how amazing it is that we are communicating directly with the Creator of the universe. We are afforded this blessing because of what Jesus has done for us. We should be so thankful that God wants to have honest, heartfelt communication with us and that He cares for us.


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