When You Pray
“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 men. I tell you the truth, 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.”
Perhaps, you have received a Facebook message that says something like this, “If 500 people will like and share this picture, then God will give us the money to dig this well.” I have had people call and ask me to get the whole church praying for their sick friend (they have called six other churches asking them to pray, too), believing the more people praying increases the likelihood God will hear and answer their prayer.
I was asked to pray at a High School Baccalaureate Service. It was an honor to be asked, they could have asked many other clergy. I wanted to make sure my prayer was well thought out, that the language was appropriate to the audience. So, I sat down and began to write it out. It was not too long before I realized I was praying to the “crowd” and not to God. I wanted the people who heard my prayer to be impressed with the breadth of my training. God wanted me to speak with him.
Jesus responds to both these temptations. He reminds us all that God knows what we need before we come to him in prayer. When we pray, he wants us to spend time with him. He hears the prayer of one person as well as the prayer of 100 people. He hears the prayer of 10 seconds as well as the prayer of 10 minutes.Tags: Bob, Church Blog, Pastor Bob, Pastors Blog