Praying Effectively

Matthew 6:5-8 5Also when you pray, you must 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 people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward ]in full already.   6But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.   7And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking.  8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Prayer is our way of communicating with our Heavenly father. As we see in this passage, the hypocrites stand out in the open and pray so that everyone will see them. We are instructed to do our praying in secret. Does this mean there is no place for corporate prayer? No, but praying in a group cannot be a substitute for our personal prayer time. I think of it like this, if I walk around saying for all to hear, “I love you honey”, “You’re a great husband” “I love you so much” my words probably won’t have an impact on my husband.  Everyone around may think I’m a great wife and that I love my husband so much, but my husband won’t. Unless I tell him those things when no one else is around, he won’t feel very loved by me. It’s the same way with God. If the only time we tell Him we love Him is when others are around, He isn’t going to feel very loved by us.

The next part of this verse says not just use empty words when we are praying. It says the hypocrites think they will be heard, but that they won’t. Do you remember the story in 1 Kings 18? Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal( a false God). Both Elijah and all 450 prophets of Baal would each call to their God to bring fire to burn a sacrifice. Whichever God heard the prayers and answered them, the people of Israel would then serve. The prophets of Baal called upon the name of their god for hours They danced, they shouted, they cut themselves, they cried out, but there was not any answer from their God. We know that when Elijah prayed a quiet prayer, the Lord heard it and sent fire from Heaven to burn the sacrifice. When we just pray meaningless words they have the same effect as the false prophets prayers. Nothing happens.

Today we’ve learned to make sure we are spending one on one time with God in prayer, and that those prayers need to have substance and meaning behind them . The last thing we see is that our Father knows what we have need of before we ask Him. Why should we even ask then? When we ask and then receive, we have a greater appreciation for how great God is to us.

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