TALKING WITH YOUR FATHER
Loving Lord, let Your love alone push me and possess me today. Enable me in sacrificial loving.
Read Matthew 6:5–15
5 “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. 6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectImagine a father who knows you inside-out. He knows what you need. He is not rushing off. He loves spending time with you. You have his full attention. Meet your heavenly Father.
Jesus covers the how, where, and why of prayer, but behind each one of his dos and don’ts is a clear message that is key to why we pray and how we pray. Did you notice how many times Jesus mentions ‘your Father’? Understanding that God is our Father underpins every prayer.
Why are we so keen to impress others with our prayers (v 5), when the most important person in the universe is waiting to give us a private audience (v 6)? Praying to pagan gods was based on the equation: the more time spent praying, the better the results. This led to mindless, repetitive incantations (v 7). Since God is our Father, we don’t need to cajole or impress him. He knows all about us and is already determined to bless us.
Praying Jesus’ prayer (vs 9–13) reorders our priorities and transforms our thinking. We begin to prioritize what matters to our Father (vs 9,10). Our needs aren’t forgotten, but we are secure in the knowledge that our heavenly Father will provide (v 11), forgive (v 12), and protect us (v 13).
Pray the Lord’s Prayer sentence by sentence, considering the implications of each phrase, allowing your heavenly Father to shape your thoughts and priorities.
Lord Jesus, as I pray this prayer, I am praying for Your kingdom to come. I am bringing all of life to all of You, Lord. Teach me to pray!