Pray to Your Father
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.”
Today let’s focus on the first line of the “Lord’s Prayer.” Before we get there though, notice that Jesus instructs His followers not to pray in order to be seen as spiritual or holy or to babble on and on in prayer. Why? He wants us to believe God actually listens when we pray. He wants us to pray not as a show, but with the full confidence and trust that God is a good Father who cares for us, hears us, and will respond to our prayers. He also wants us to pray first and foremost with praise for God in our mouths and hearts, remembering we are not praying to a far-away, distant being, but to God our Father.
- Consider the phrase “hallowed be your name.” Some translations say, “may your name be holy or honored.” In what ways can or do you honor God’s name?
- What does it mean to you that God is Father? How might it change the way you pray to think of God as Father?
- As you reflect on the praising God first and foremost in your prayers, what invitation do you sense God extending to you for your prayer life?
Our Father in heaven, help us to honor Your name. Come and set up Your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey You, as You are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.
-Contemporary English Version-
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