When You Pray...
Read Matthew 6:5–15
“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.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
In this segment of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. This is not to say, of course, that as followers of Jesus we are to only pray using these precise words, but starting with these words and the ideas they communicate about God and ourselves is ideal. We’ll read this particular part of the Sermon on the Mount all week, focusing on a different aspect of what is called the “Lord’s Prayer” each day. For today, simply notice Jesus’ phrase “when you pray.” That we will pray to our Father is a given for Jesus.
- How would you describe your prayer life to a friend?
- Under what circumstances do you typically pray? What motivates you to pray? What generally keeps you from praying?
- Read today’s passage again slowly and listen for what invitation God might be extending to you about prayer. What did you hear?
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
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