Discipleship Minute #26

Read Matthew 6:5-8, 9-13.

If we read the Gospel accounts, we find that prayer was a priority in the life of Jesus. He began His ministry in prayer and ended with prayer while on the cross. Jesus took special moments to pray to the Father such as before calling the disciples or praying in great distress before the agony of the cross. The disciples noticed that and asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus first gave them a negative example of those who made a show of prayer. The prayers of the religious hypocrites were for the benefit of those people who happened to be listening. How could one help to listen if one of those people stopped on the street corner making loud and repetitive noises? Jesus said that those hypocrites “had received their reward” right then and there.

The prayers of a follower of Christ were and are to be different. Jesus gave us a model for prayer that is focused on God and His kingdom and not our own. The model prayer does not begin with me. It doesn’t focus on my kingdom. It asks of God the daily necessities. The prayer reminds us that we are sinners and that we need God’s guidance and protection. God is central in this framework. The order of elements emphasizes that our focus in prayer is on God.

Prayer is an invitation to communicate with the Creator of the universe and not to give a laundry list of requests in endless repetition. I hope that each one of you will take time out of your schedule to pray each day.

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