Pray to your Father. Matthew 6:6
Madeleine L’Engle made it a habit to call her mother once a week. As her mother moved into her later years, the beloved spiritual writer called more frequently, “just to keep in touch.” In the same way, Madeleine liked her children to call and maintain that connection. Sometimes it was a lengthy conversation filled with significant questions and answers. Other times a call simply making sure the number was still valid was sufficient. As she wrote in her book Walking on Water, “It is good for the children to keep in touch. It is good for all of us children to keep in touch with our Father.”
Most of us are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9–13. But the verses that precede it are just as important, for they set the tone for what follows. Our prayers aren’t to be showy, “to be seen by others” (v. 5). And while there’s no limit on how long our prayers need to be, “many words” (v. 7) doesn’t automatically equate to quality prayer. The emphasis seems to be on maintaining regular contact with our Father who knows our need “before [we] ask him” (v. 8). Jesus stresses how good it is for us to keep in touch with our Father. Then instructs us: “This, then, is how you should pray” (v. 9).
Prayer is a good, vital choice for it keeps us in touch with the God and Father of us all.
How can you better stay in touch with others? How have you experienced keeping in touch with the Father?
Father, thank You for knowing my needs before I even speak them.
In Matthew 6:1–8, Jesus emphasizes that living for God should be done humbly, without seeking to draw attention to oneself or to gain praise. Believers in Jesus should have a humble attitude as they give to those in need (vv. 1–4) and as they pray (vv. 5–8). At first glance, this might seem to contradict 5:14–16, which emphasizes that the lives of Jesus’ disciples should shine brightly before others “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (v. 16). There’s no contradiction, however, for when believers serve God humbly out of love for Him and others, it naturally results in His light shining in the world. When service and prayer is motivated by a desire for attention and praise, however, it can have the opposite effect, repulsing others who may detect self-serving, hypocritical motivations (6:5).
Learn more about prayer.