Thinking about Prayer

Key Verse: “Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee.”
—Matthew 6:6

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 6:1-15

MANY CHRISTIANS THINK about prayer, but do not avail themselves of the privilege. Others may not think about it unless they are in a public session where a prayer is given. A true Christian, however, does more than think about prayer. It is his vital breath, and he prays regularly to the Father.

When Jesus died, he made possible a direct access to the Father through the merit of his blood for all who believed in him. Since Israel was in covenant relationship with God, they were able to pray and to be heard; whereas the Gentiles, if they prayed to the God of Israel, their prayers would ascend as a memorial before God, and they would have to wait for an answer. (Acts 10:1-4) This was because the ministry of Jesus upon earth was to the Jews only. (Amos 3:2; Matt. 15:24) Those who were ‘Israelites indeed’ prayed to the Father, but some had incorrect concepts about prayer. Hence, Jesus sought to set them aright.

The religious leaders of Israel, the Scribes and Pharisees, loved to pray on street corners and in the synagogues, so that men could see them and note their piety. (Matt. 6:5) This was a bad example to the average Israelite. Jesus told Israel that these were seeking the honor of men, and all they would receive was the honor of men as their reward. The Gentiles worshipped many gods and depended upon repetition to be heard. So Jesus advised not to use such methods, saying, “Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”—Matt. 6:7,8

After pointing out poor examples of prayer, Jesus then taught the disciples how to pray, giving them a model prayer known throughout the Christian world as the Lord’s Prayer, and recorded in Matthew 6:9-13. This beautiful prayer contains all the necessary elements for successful communication with the Heavenly Father.

Reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom. (Ps. 111:10) The wise man approaches God in reverence, saying, “Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9) Uppermost in the minds of all Christians should be the establishment of God’s Kingdom (assigned to Christ) for restoring righteousness to earth. How truly wonderful it will be when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven!

The Christian, when he prays to his Father in heaven, expressing his thanks, should be aware of God’s gracious provisions and tender mercies. Since the foes of the New Creation are ever well organized under the evil one, Satan, we as followers of Christ need God’s continual help to successfully oppose his schemes. Thus, through Jesus’ model prayer we can achieve all the objectives of honoring God, praying for his kingdom, thanking him for his goodness and mercy, and soliciting his assisting grace in every time of need.

What a wonderful privilege is prayer. We can communicate with God at any time and ask for anything—but always according to his will.—I John 5:14

Let us use this privilege frequently, and thus fulfill the admonition, “Pray without ceasing.”—I Thess. 5:17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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