Matthew 6:6,7 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.
Simply defined, prayer is talking to God. Even as Christ followers, our lives can sometimes get so busy that we simply don’t take the time to talk to our Lord. This is a great mistake. In order to grow spiritually, we must be conversing…mostly listening…to God.
In our fast food culture, things come quickly and we can’t stand the thought of actually waiting. We have access to so much “on-demand” that it’s hard to just be still and listen to what the Lord has to say. But we must if we are going to learn His will. Prayer, coupled with Bible study, is one of the most important disciplines in the daily life of a Christ follower. Without reading God’s Word and communicating with Him, how are we to know who He is and what He requires of us?
Some may say that they just don’t know how to pray. Jesus gave us a great example in Matthew 6:9-13. We call it The Lord’s Prayer, but really this is a format, a template, of how we are to pray. This is not simply a prayer to be memorized and uttered. No, this is a blueprint for how our prayers should be. Does that mean that God does not hear us if we pray outside this format? No, God knows all that we need before we even ask (Matthew 6:8). He is not so strict on this format that we would never hear from Him if we prayed differently, but we should attempt to keep the principles of this prayer in place. Thanksgiving, praise, petition, repentance, seeking guidance. It’s not a magic formula, but a guideline.
The Lord is not interested in repetition and memorization. He wants our hearts to turn towards Him. He desires our attention and our praise. We make a great decision when we choose to include prayer as part of our day.