Hello Church Devotion Aug.19, 2013

P is for Prayer

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.” Matthew 6:5 NIV

As we go through the daily ups and downs that life brings our way we find ourselves in need of relationship. An important component, one might even say an essential component of relationships is good communication. Through communication you learn about others and they learn about you. Communication develops the line of information that allows us to support and encourage one another through every day situations.

This concept was highlighted on the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” On the show a contestant would be asked numerous questions with each correct answer being one step closer to a million dollars. The game allowed for several life lines, two of them come to mind with regards to communication and relationship. You had the option to poll the audience were you could receive communication from the crowd but since you didn’t know the crowd you had to decide whether or not to trust the crowd. Then you had the phone a friend were you could call a close friend who may know a lot about the specific question at hand. The latter of the two allowed your friend to communicate their certainty of the answer and possibly give you insight in to how they came to that answer. These life lines highlighted the importance of communication even for answer a simple question on a game show.

With a strong close relationship you are more likely to be able to trust and know the sincerity of the person or people with which you are communicating. Now you may be asking what communication has to do with prayer. Or maybe you already know, but prayer is the gift of communication between us and God. Prayer is the line God has opened up so that we can be certain that he hears us. Too often though we forget the line exists, we use it in erroneous ways or we attempt to use it as something that should give us control over a situation. In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches his disciples and us about prayer. As verse 5 above states, prayer is not a way for us to gain acclaim or to build ourselves up amongst peers. It is to be an intimate and personal time to connect with God our Father.

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.” (Matthew 6:6 NIV) God doesn’t want us to use prayer as a way to draw praise or contention but as a means to know that he hears us. That is a significant and important detail to understand that the God of the universe desires to be in relationship with us and wants to hear our thoughts and our needs. God, although unseen, is not a God that is far off and unapproachable but through Christ he is a God that is approachable that has initiated the communication process for us.

We have assurance of the communication that God has begun with us and can be confident in his ability to hear us as we are reminded in Matthew 6:7-8 NIV, “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.” God already knows our needs and our desires. He is intimately aware of what is happening in our lives. In that knowledge we are given great confidence to approach him in prayer knowing that we are able to communicate with our creator. The ability to pray is truly a gift from God that allows us to be comforted and know that he hears our petitions. He goes even further in Matthew by laying out a guide of what to pray in a prayer that many of us are familiar with, the Lord’s prayer. It is not the only prayer we say but it gives us a guide to know what and how to pray while maintaining the confidence to not ramble on and on as if God does not hear us but trusting in him through all things.

9This, 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,

but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Matthew 6:7-13 NIV)

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power, and the glory,

Forever and ever. Amen.

Further Thoughts:

1. How do you utilize prayer in your life?

2. Are there times or specific places where you pray more often? Or less?

3. Many people use prayer during tough times, how might you remember to use prayer in everyday life, the good times as well as the bad?