WHEN YOU PRAY
by Kevin V. Rutherford
Jesus said, “When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites (Matthew 6:5).” The hypocrites pray publicly for the express purpose of beings seen of men. There nothing wrong with praying publicly, unless you are doing it for the purpose of show.
Jesus said, “When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do (Matthew 6:7).” There is nothing wrong with repeatedly asking God for the same things in prayer, however we must not simply repeat memorized words that have become nothing more than some type of magic formula in our minds.
After Jesus told us not to pray for the purpose of being seen by men, and not to pray using vain repetitions, He gave us a model prayer to follow (Matthew 6:9-13). This prayer is a model to be followed, not a magical chant to be repeated continually. What can we learn from this model?
We learn that when we pray we need to addresses God the Father. God the Father is the one who has the ultimate authority. His authority is even higher than that of His Son Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). In praying to the Father we have the privilege of going straight to the top. While we are addressing the Father we ought to speak words of praise unto the Father. He is worthy to be praised (Psalm 18:3).
When we pray to God we should pray for our spiritual and physical needs. God knows what we need, but it shows humility on our part when we ask for it. Don’t be afraid to ask God for help. He wants to help those whom He loves. We need particularly not to be afraid to ask God for spiritual help. The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews ).”
Although no expression of gratitude
is found in the model prayer, it is good for us to remember to thank God for
His blessings when we pray. This
important fact was brought out by Paul when he addressed the church at
Now that we know what we should pray for, let’s talk about how we should pray. We should pray fervently (James ). It is the fervent prayer that will be effective. If we do not truly express sincere desires and thanks in our prayers God will not hear our prayers.
But note also that the effective prayer is one that comes from the righteous man (James ). Peter wrote, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (1 Peter ).” If we want God to hear our prayers we need to make sure we are following Him.
Prayer is one of the most important functions of the Christian’s life. Through prayer the Christian can gain that peace which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6, 7). Therefore, we ought to be a people who are in the habit of frequently praying unto God (I Thessalonians ).