The Right Way to Pray
When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Matthew 6:6
I admire people who record prayer requests in journals tattered from daily handling, those who keep track of every prayer and praise and then faithfully update their lists. I’m inspired by those who gather with others to pray and whose kneeling wears out the carpet at their bedsides. For years, I tried to copy their styles, to emulate a perfect prayer life, and to imitate the eloquence of the so-much-more-articulate-than-me folks. I strived to unravel what I thought was a mystery, as I longed to learn the right way to pray.
Eventually, I learned that our Lord simply desires prayer that begins and ends with humility (Matthew 6:5). He invites us into an intimate exchange through which He promises to listen (v. 6). He never requires fancy or memorized words or phrases (v. 7). He assures us that prayer is a gift, an opportunity to honor His majesty (vv. 9–10), to display our confidence in His provision (v. 11), and to affirm our security in His forgiveness and guidance (vv. 12–13).
God assures us He hears and cares about every single spoken and unspoken prayer, as well as the prayers that slip down our cheeks as silent tears. As we place our trust in God and His perfect love for us, we can be sure praying with a humble heart that’s surrendered to and dependent on Him is always the right way to pray.
Lord, thank You for reminding us You hear every prayer.
Today’s Bible reading, taken from our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, gets to the heart of one of the most important issues in Christian living—motives. In Jesus’s teaching, He continually brought the “why” issue to the forefront because, in many ways, what we do is often secondary to why we do what we do. In a world focused on performance, Christ focuses on motive; and this focus drives us to the priority of motive as well.
Do we do what we do to be seen by people or to please our Lord?