Day 17 – Jesus teaches how to pray

Bible reading: Matthew 6:5–13

Jesus teaches people how to pray

5 ‘Also, you must not pray in the way that the hypocrites pray. They like to stand and pray in the Jewish meeting places and on the corners of the busy streets. Then many people will see them and will praise them. I tell you this. They have already received their gift from people. God will not give them anything more.

6:5The corners of the streets were places where Jews met to pray. They also prayed in the special buildings. In those places there were a lot of people who could see them praying.

6 But this is how you should pray. Go to a place in your house where you can be alone. You can shut the door and you can pray to God your Father. He is in that secret place. He sees what you do there. He will give you good things in return. 7 When you pray, do not say the same words many times. People who do not believe in God do that. They use many words that mean nothing. They think that when they pray like that, their gods will hear them. 8 Do not pray like they do. God your Father already knows what you need. He knows this even before you ask him.

9 So, this is how you should pray:

“God our Father who is in heaven.

You are great. We want people to praise your name.

10 We want the day when you rule everyone to come soon.

We want everyone to obey you on earth, like everyone in heaven obeys you.

11 Please give us the food that we need today.

12 We have forgiven people who have done wrong things to us.

In the same way, please forgive us for the wrong things that we have done.

13 Do not let us agree to do wrong things.

Keep us safe from Satan.” ’

Matthew 6:5-13 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Reflection

Nearly everybody prays … when the plane is going to crash! But most of us find it so difficult that we don’t make a habit of it. So first, Jesus explains a few mistakes we make.

We don’t have to use religious words, simple words are perfectly acceptable. We are not heard because we pray for a long time. This prayer is very short. And we are not meant to bring God a shopping list of our requests. We should begin by looking up at his smiling face and saying ‘Daddy’ which is the meaning of the Aramaic word that Jesus used. It’s a familiar, warm, family word.

Prayer isn’t about persuading God to do what we want. It is humbly agreeing with what he wants. His name to be honoured and not used as a swear word, his will to have power in our broken world, and his reign as king of this world to grow worldwide.

Only then should we come with our requests: for our physical needs, for daily forgiveness when we fail, and for his strength to stop our bad habits. It ends wonderfully. If we make him king in our lives today, he will give us the strength we need. And we must give him thanks for it all!

Prayer like that is powerful. Let’s make use of the Lord’s Prayer, either by itself or as a series of topics, for our prayers.