Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus Teaches Us to Pray

bed time prayers aurora

Just Talk to Him. He is listening

Jesus starts out His teaching on giving, praying and fasting with the same admonishment. Don’t do it just to be seen by others! These are personal interactions between you and God. Turning them into public displays, robs you of the real reward of these activities; personal relationship time with God. Jesus though this was important enough that He started EACH teaching with this crucial command.

Jesus next words on prayer are interesting. He talks about how the gentiles go on and On and ON in their prayers. Jesus is fully God and fully man so as God, I guess He heard enough of the Gentiles prayers to know what they sounded like. He says to keep it sweet and to the point, because God already knows your need, even before you come to Him.

But if God already knows what I need why do I come in the first place? This reminds me of a story I once heard. A wife of 50 years has been talking with her friend down the street who was bragging on how many times her husband told her he loved her. That night at dinner, the wife confronts her husband. “We have been married for 50 years. You barely talk to me anymore. I don’t think I can even remember the last time you told me you loved me.” His response is, “I told you I loved you once. That was when I asked you to marry me. If anything had changed since then, I would have told you so. Besides that, I eat what you cook and wear what you wash. What more proof do you need than that?”

I don’t know if her cooking and washing was so bad that it took love to make it through the ordeal, but he was neglecting their relationship. Actually, they both were neglecting their relationship. She probably should have come to him with her needs before 50 years of near silence built up. He certainly should have recognized the one sided nature of their conversations.

The same is true for our relationship with God. He wants a relationship with each of us. And ANY healthy growing relationship includes communication. Prayer is communication with God. It is telling Him how much you love Him and how AWESOME it is to be in a relationship with Him.

Father God, You are so AWESOME (Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name)! You have such AMAZING plans for me. Please help me stay out of Your way while You work them out in my life (Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven). I want to truly know You. Please help me know You better each day as I read Your word (Give us this day our daily bread). God, I don’t want anything between us. Please forgive me of my sins. Help me demonstrate how grateful I am for Your forgiveness by truly forgiving others whom I feel have done me wrong (and forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors). God, I KNOW I’m bound to mess up again. Please help me see the pitfalls in front of me BEFORE I fall into them again. Please don’t let me fall for Satan’s tricks again (And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil). I know YOU alone have the power to do all this in my life. I ask for Your help in everything we do together today, and remind me to turn all the glory for our successes over to You (For thine in the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever). Let’s get this day started together! Lead on; I’m following You (Amen)!

You may think that sounded flippant, but it wasn’t meant to. It was my heart reaching out to His. He loves to hear from us in any form. He even loves the shortest prayer; HELP! He answers that one too. He simply wants to hear from His children and hear how they are doing. What father wouldn’t? Talk to Him. You don’t have to use any “script” or special words. You don’t have to be in “your prayer closet” for Him to hear you. You simply have to talk to Him. He understands. He meets us where we are.

One last issue Jesus addressed here was forgiveness. Most of us when we first came to God, it was because we recognized we needed forgiveness for our sins. Somehow someone had shown us the truth about where we stood in life without God. Our first prayer probably went something like this: “God, thank You for Jesus. Please forgive me for my sins. Please come into my heart.”

Another common first time prayer is: “God! Please help! I’m sorry for everything I have done. If You will just help me right now, I promise I will change.” Both prayers recognize our need for God’s forgiveness. I believe God honors both requests for forgiveness, although I tend to think the second one’s commitment to change might be a little less than the first ones. But that is for God to judge, not me.

Jesus says that since we recognize our need for forgiveness that we need to also extend that same gift to others who have hurt us. God gave us forgiveness as a free gift. We HAVE to do the same. It may not happen the first time you pray, but if you truly recognize how undeserving you were of God’s gift, you can’t help but feel different about those who have hurt you. Jesus is saying that without that softening in your heart, God can’t or won’t be able to forgive you of your sins either.

I don’t believe this applies to the first time you come to Him asking for His forgiveness, because we are a work in progress. But if you continue to hold this unforgiveness attitude towards others, you are throwing God’s saving work back in His face and saying He didn’t do enough to pay for what that other person did to you.

God, I’m so grateful that You love me enough to keep bringing me back to the issues I need to work on. Thank You first of all for even wanting a relationship with me. I know I have not earned a place in Your presence but You invite me there anyway. You have shown me again today (and yesterday) that I still have room to grow. I need to continue to bring my heart and mind back to Your work table where You can address the areas that need to be fixed. I have been holding onto unforgiveness for certain acts from a certain person. I need Your help in turning lose for good. I thought I had moved past it but You showed me just the other day that I haven’t. Please help me forgive this person and give me Your heart towards him. Thank You God that You love me enough to bring these hard lessons to me. Please keep me open to Your instructions, no matter how hard they may be. With You beside me, we can do anything!

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4 Responses to “Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus Teaches Us to Pray”

  1. Victoria Nimmo Walters says:

    I didn’t read anything that sounded flippant, at all.

    Your portion concerning “deliver us from evil” reminded me of Psalm 91. In that Psalm, the word “deliverance” is used three times; with three different meanings. If you look up each occurrence in your Strong’s Concordance, you’ll find the first usage means, “to deliver through snatching away from danger” (like we would intervene should we see a child reaching for a hot stove.) The second usage means, “to steer around pitfalls” (as though we are walking together with Him and He points out a danger and guides us around it.) The third means, “to equip for battle,” (He gives us what we need to walk through the danger.)

    To me, this speaks of spiritual growth: when we are baby-Christians He snatches us from harms way. As we mature, He points out the dangers so we can avoid them. Then when we have proven our discipleship, He expects us to use His Armor to meet the challenges of life. I think most of the time (now) I’m in the second stage of spiritual development: He generally shows me the pitfalls before I step into them. I can avoid them if I’m paying attention, but sometimes I fail to heed His warning and fall flat on my face. Yet there are occasions that He calls me to soldier up, secure my armor a little tighter, and engage the enemy in HIS strength and in HIS might. Gotta tell you–those times are exhilarating! But at the same time, those times are the ones that I find myself most in danger of ‘taking credit for the win’ instead of recognizing that even when He makes me strong, it is still HIS doing, not my own.

  2. avincent says:

    When I was writing this piece I was prompted to include a piece about the armor but it got so long that I decided to leave it out. I’m glad you brought it up. Only through the use of His armor can we have any hope of standing up against the Devil and his schemes.

    I too find it too easy to take credit for the wins when we fight the battles together. It is so much easier to give Him glory when I get to sit back and watch Him work. Even this blog that I am working on now demonstrates that reality. The bible study part, I get to do together with Him. He shows me concepts and images that are inspiring and I HAVE to include them. Sometimes I’m tempted to take the glory for what eventually lands on the page, even though we created it together. For that I apologize to the readers and ask God to forgive me for AGAIN. I’m the scribe, He is the author or at least co-author. Father, please help me remember that every day.

    The financial part, I am trying to leave in His hands. I may post that it is available and what its purpose is, but I need Him to drive the traffic. I am NOT a sales person! I have not received much in the financial rewards, but I still trust Him to handle it. ALL glory for that part is easy to turn over. Thank You that I can trust You with my life. You know exactly what I need.

  3. Victoria Nimmo Walters says:

    Interestingly, the email subscription arrives a day later than when you actually post the entry. IOW, I received this one via email today, whereas you posted it yesterday. (Good thing I had gone to your web page yesterday instead of relying on the email subscription, huh?)

    Anyway – I have a question: What translation of Study Bible are you using? I ask, because of your reference to ‘how the Gentiles’ pray. Every version I’ve looked at discusses ‘how the hypocrites’ pray. So, I’m a little concerned about the rendering in your version. Gentiles were anyone who was not a Jew. Whereas, hypocrites were Jews who practiced their religion by rote rather than relationship. It was all about who was watching rather than what was coming from their heart.

    Not knit-picking…just wondering.

    • avincent says:

      My bible is the English Standard Version. I have noticed a few places where I went, Hmmm too. I have been trying to look up different versions renderings when I hit these places. This reference didn’t even make me stop. It should have because I have heard it with “hypocrites” before. I suppose either or both would fit here.

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