Week 3: When You Pray…

“It is taken for granted that all disciples of Christ pray. ” M. Henry’s comments on Matthew 6. 

I love the line from a spiritual, “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O, Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer.” Yep! That is me — all the time!

I find myself returning to the simple formula of The Lord’s Prayer over and over again as it applies to my daily needs: worship, my sins, the sins of others, God’s provisions, and hope in His future plans both for me and for the world.

Christ tells us what is wrong with our prayer life if we pray pridefully or for public display in the first part of Matthew 6. Then he lovingly instructs us how to pray. He does not leave us in the dark.

Pray in secret. (Matthew 6:6)

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”  I love that our Father is always present with His children in the secret place! What or where is your secret place? Mine sometimes is when I drive down a long stretch of country road, a quiet, empty house while I am cleaning, or the chair in the family room where I can quietly sit at certain times. You and I carry a double load, so we doubly need this secret place.

Pray with meaning and purpose. (Avoid vain repetitions — Matthew 6:7)

Sometimes the situations in my life or the lives of others seem so snarled and tangled that I don’t even begin to know how to best pray. “LORD, help! For vain is the help of man.” I am comforted as I pray, because Jesus told us, “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8  God knows what I mean when my prayers are feeble and uncertain.

Pray with a forgiving spirit because you have been forgiven much. Matthew 6:14-15

If you live and breathe on this planet, you will be sinned against! Another Southern traditional song for you, “you can talk about me just as much as you please. I talk about you down on my knees…”  If only we would do all of our, “so and so hurt me terribly talk” on our knees, we would find mercy and pardon because we would know how much we have been forgiven. When we feel like we can’t forgive, and we get on our knees, we are reminded again how great the Father’s love is for us. Through Jesus’s  blood we can forgive and our prayers can be heard by our Father. These verses are keys to victory for wives of chronically ill husbands. Chronic illness can easily bring out the worst in our spouses as folk tend to become self-centered when they are hurting. Stress and overload shows us our sinfulness as we respond to our spouses with less than gentle patience. I know! I’m this road with you every day, sister!

“And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly…” Matthew 6:4

Words of comfort and promise from the Almighty, Unchangeable One! How is it that God makes promises to us? Be encouraged! Keep praying, sister. You are not alone.

 

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