And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Matthew 6:7
Jesus points out the insincerity of hypocrites and gentiles who pray to be noticed. Hypocrites wanted to appear holy, so they made sure to be seen and heard. Gentiles believed in multiple gods, often anxious and confused about who to pray to. They babbled words and phrases together, hoping to use the right ones that might be pleasing to the right god for what they wanted. In direct contrast, Jesus wants his followers to address their prayers quietly to “Our Father.” The relational language of “father” brings acceptance, confidence and security to prayer.
Prayer can also cause confusion, insecurity and anxiety for some of us, whether we’re praying alone or with a group. We might struggle with the best words to say, how we sound, and whether we should kneel or fold our hands. But we don’t have to pray the perfect prayer because God is our loving father. He is delighted when we talk with him and sees our hearts’ attitude—not our word choices or the position of our body. We can speak to him normally, just like we talk to our earthly parents.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
As you pray “Our Father” with your 40 Days of Prayer, thank God for hearing and accepting your words the way you express yourself. Thank him for being open to listen at any time, and you can approach with confidence and bring him great joy when you pray.
40 DAYS OF PRAYER
Join us for 40 DAYS OF PRAYER where all of us will find a quiet space and slowly read The Lord’s Prayer. May forty days of praying like Jesus prayed, and desiring what Jesus wanted, make a big difference in our hearts and our communities.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art 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 debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
NEW TESTAMENT READING PLAN
Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.
Today’s reading is John 9.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.