JESUS TEACHES US TO PRAY WITH SIMPLICITY
MATTHEW 6:5-13 MSG
And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
As we seek to be disciples let us consider a second essential building block in addition to continuing in the Word. The disciple must be a person of prayer!
If we attempt to continue in the Word without prayer, our study of the Word is going to be merely and academic exercise. What’s more, if we really desire to apply building blocks of discipleship to our Christian life, prayer will be essential. Prayer is the key to having passion and power in our witness.
For a believer, prayer should be second nature, almost like breathing. But sadly, in the lives of many believers, prayer is greatly lacking. Perhaps this is true because many times when we pray, it seems like nothing happens.
When Job encountered his many trials, one thing he cried out was, “There is no days-man for me” (Job 9:33). What he meant was that he couldn’t find anyone to reason or argue for him, no one who would stand in the gap for him before God. Job felt as though he couldn’t get through to God.
Perhaps there have been times when you have felt this way. It seemed as though God wasn’t really listening. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this simply should not be the case, for Jesus has paved the way for us to stand boldly at the throne of grace to find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Today we can approach God through Jesus our Mediator. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). We are also told in Hebrews 7:25 that Jesus “lives to make intercession” for us.
Now let us for a moment consider our motives for prayer; as we look at this passage in Matthew 6, we find Jesus first deals with several common misconceptions that people have regarding prayer. The first misconception deals with motives. Jesus said, “When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. They stand in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.”
The problem with the “religious” people of that day, the Pharisees, was that they prayed to impress others. On street corners and in the marketplace they could be seen lifting up their hands and praying in a very ostentatious manner. Others would walk by and think, “Look at that man of God. He loves God so much that he can’t even wait to get to the synagogue to pray.”
What they didn’t realize was that the person praying was most likely thinking, “What a man of God I am. Everyone is looking at me. Everyone is impressed with my spirituality. I am so holy.”
That type of prayer won’t be heard by God. A person so concerned with what others are thinking about him is too full of himself to be effective in his prayer. He is like the self-righteous Pharisee Jesus mentioned who “prayed thus with himself.” God won’t hear the prayer of a pride-filled person, for it is nothing less than sin, and the Bible tells us that if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us. Make no mistake about it—spiritual pride is every bit as much a sin as lying or immorality, even though it is a more subtle one.
Let me conclude with this word, “come boldly before the throne of grace and pray as Jesus taught us how to pray,” “PRAY WITH SIMPLICITY.”
If you have received this word today and conceived it in your mind as the word of truth, have no fear; share it with your family, friends and co-workers. Think globally, and work locally, God will bless you abundantly for the work you do in lifting others up. Jesus said, “If I am lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” Be an encourager, and lift someone other than self up today. I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher.