Matthew 6:5-8 (NKJV), 5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[a] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
“If everything you need could only be obtained through prayer, how much of what you need would you have?” – Apostle Charlene Glover
For many people it is easier to talk about prayer then to pray. In Matthew 6, Jesus gives us insight into what to do “When You Pray”. Isn’t it interesting that most of us can only quote from Matthew 6 verse 9.
The Definition of Prayer
We need to define prayer. Words mean different things to different people. Prayer means to turn our will and desires to God. Prayer is a personal dialogue between God and man where we talk to Him and He talks to us. Prayer is not an exercise reserved for the spiritually elite! Prayer is for everyone. All of us can communicate with God. Prayer is very personal communication. Prayer is turning to God in communication, supplication, and worship.
The Frequency of Prayer
“When you pray…” is repeated three times verses 5, 6, and 7. He deals with the frequency of prayer. God’s assumption is that you want to communicate with Him. It’s not if you pray, but when you pray. Prayer is not situational or optional. Some of us would have a better prayer life if we did not pray only when we were in trouble. The assumption is that prayer is an ongoing, continual part of the believer’s life!
The Initiator of Prayer
The personal and possessive pronouns “you” and “your” are used fifteen times.
Prayer is personal and individual but not transferrable. You can’t outsource your prayer. We want other people to tell God what it is we need. We should not depend on others to pray for us.
The Method of Prayer: When you pray…
- Pray sincerely (v. 5)
- Hypocrites – pretenders; play actors; one holding a mask and reading from a script (Greek theater)
- Prayer is communicating with God, not trying to impress those around you!
- Pray secretly (v. 6)
- The place of prayer – your room (closet)
- The privacy of prayer – shut the door
- The Person of prayer – your Father
- Private prayer produces public power!
- Pray succinctly (v. 7)
- Vain repetitions – meaningless and mechanical phrases stated over and over
- Heathen – NT:1482 ethnikos – a national, especially a Gentile or non-Jew; a race as one of the same habit or tribe.
- More words don’t produce more results!
- In prayer, it’s not the quantity of your words, but the quality of your heart.
- Your heart gets to God long before your words do!
Matthew 6:5-8 (MSG), “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.”