When Jesus’s disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus told them to “pray like this.” But before He shared with them a pattern to follow, He first reminded them how not to pray.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:7-8 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
Prayer is Personal
Prayer is personal because Jesus is a personal God. He knows our hearts so well. When we babble on in our prayer, He knows that prayer is not sincere. Jesus continues to say that repeated words do not turn into magic words that will cause God to move. Meaningless prayers do not impress God.
Prayer is one way we can be intimate with Jesus. Prayer is a personal conversation with Jesus. It’s not a nonsensical talk. When we come to Him in prayer, we draw from our innermost desire and longing. He wants us to speak from our hearts.
Let us talk to him as if we are talking to our best friend or our father. We can be as transparent as we can to Jesus because He knows what is going on inside of us in the first place.
So, if we can tell him anything, what will we share with him? If we can ask Him anything, what will our question be? That’s how we are to pray.
Jesus’s Prayer Pattern
Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
Jesus did not command his disciples to pray this prayer but to pray like this. We are to follow the pattern he has set for his disciples. What we all know as the “The Lord’s Prayer” is in fact, the disciples’ prayer. The prayer Jesus taught his disciples was an example of how we all should pray or communicate with God.
Pray Like Jesus
Jesus teaches us to honor God is first. We acknowledge that God is above all and His throne is in heaven. He is fully in control of everything in the world and in our personal lives. We praise His name and his character.
I’ve experienced God’s forgiveness, compassion, faithfulness, mercy, and graciousness. I have seen how He has provided for me. He has healed me and saved me. How would you describe God as you get to know Him intimately? Get to know the God of the Bible more intimately as you read His Word.
As we praise Him, we also give thanks for everything He has given us. We thank Him for the big and small things that He has provided. Only a grateful and humble heart can look past the things that went wrong and focus on the good things.
Then, we check out hearts. We review what has transpired during the day and recall if we have committed any sin. Did you lie to your boss? Did you dishonor your parents? Let us ask the Lord to show to us any hidden sin and seek forgiveness. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. Psalm 90:8. We sincerely confess our sin before God.
Finally, we make our petitions before Him. Even though He already knows what we want and need, asking the Lord for them is humbling. Why? Because we acknowledge that He is the source of everything. As the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:1, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Let us keep in mind that when we come to the Lord in prayer, He will respond according to His character and His perfect timing. He is a good God no matter what. So he will answer our prayers out of the goodness of His heart. His timing is always perfect. He is never late or early. He is always on time. We can trust His answer and His timing.
If you have babbled in prayer for so long, maybe it’s time to change the way you pray. Get personal with God. Talk to Him as if He is beside you or in front of you. Speak from your heart and He will listen.
What changes in your prayer life will you make as you start a more meaningful conversation with the Lord?