Can You Hear Me?
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to prayer standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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. Then when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” ~ Matthew 6:5-8 NIV
Prayer is arguably the biggest part of faith. Nearly every religion does it, even those who don’t believe pray in dire situations, but who’s on the receiving end of the call?
If you’re reading this, then I’ll take the liberty of presuming you’ve prayed before. If not, no problem! Praying is an important thing, a connection with God, and this may seem daunting. Going to church, hearing those perfect prayers, reciting scripture from memory, wishing – hopefully praying – that you could have the ability, the confidence to pray in such poetic ways. It’s a nice idea, but believe me, those little prayers you say in your head, the mumbled thank you as you blow out a breath, they all mean just as much. Prayer is the foundation of your relationship with God, and He loves those quiet prayers just as much as any others.
The thing is, while prayer can help other people, it isn’t really for them. Prayer is for you, and for God. Its not a competition, its not a performance, it’s just a chat with God, your Heavenly Father. Matthew 6 talks about “the hypocrites”, the performers. A bit of a disclaimer here – in no way shape or form are those who pray openly hypocrites, but you may yet, or may have already encountered people just like that. We all need to be careful of what we pray for. Do you pray to the Lord in praise? In thanks? Let your prayers be for God, not a show for others, a mummer’s play to show superiority.
Your prayers mean everything to the Lord, no matter what its like. All that really matters its that you want that relationship with Him, and openly seek it. He listens, He knows, and He will deliver to you.
It seems that the most appropriate prayer is a familiar one, The Lord’s Prayer. There are too many variations to count, but I’ve always been brought up with this version –
Our Father, who is in Heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those that sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
Forever and ever, Amen.