Matthew 6:7-15

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that 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.

“Pray then in this way: Our Father 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 also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:7-15

Prayer is what we do when we are consciously aware of God’s presence. Prayer is to our relationship with God what communication is to our relationships with our loved ones. The more frequent, the more honest, the more vulnerable, and the more courageous our communications, the deeper our relationships move. That is simply how God has designed us. And what works with our loved ones also works with God.

Which, to me, is quite a challenge.

I got sideways with my Dad one summer and I gave him the silent treatment for the better part of two months. I’m not proud of it. I wasn’t proud of it then. I felt angry, hurt, and not a little belligerent and rebellious. Eventually I got over it and apologized but then it happened again many years later. That silent treatment lasted for a few years. I knew I was being resentful and childish…but there was a part of me that must have thought it was OK to be childish given that I was, in fact, his child.

Maybe we don’t give God the silent treatment on purpose. Or maybe we do. Or maybe we just get distracted. Or maybe we have developed a rich and natural pattern of communicating with God that comforts, challenges, and works for us. Wherever we are in that, intentionality and willingness go hand in hand to produce disciplines that look like discipleship.

We don’t even have to worry about the words to use. Jesus gives us a whole prayer that covers everything we need – praise, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. It’s all in there. Whether raised to pray “sin”, “debt”, or “trespasses”, whether we include the ending doxology or not, those particulars are not nearly as important as using this model prayer as Jesus intended – to stay connected, to stay in touch, to remember Whose we are, and to remember that God cares enough about all aspects of our lives to include them in this prayer.

I pray the Lord’s Prayer several times a day and I’m not even pious! Every time I pray it I am mindful of the millions of other Christians who have gone before me, those who are still walking by faith, and even those who claim “Other” or “None” when filling out forms that ask for their religious affiliations.

Sometimes I pray in silence. Sometimes I pray in sighs. Sometimes I pray in the company of others. And sometimes I feel like my “prayer mechanism” is broken. But I can always pray the Lord’s Prayer. And that is enough. And it is always better than filling the air with a prayerful word salad trying to impress others.

Let us pray: Thank you, Lord, for making it so easy for us to stay in touch with you. You are Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. You are the best kind of friend, the one who says to us what we don’t want to hear but trust that you know us better than we know ourselves and therefore we are able to hear it. Keep us mindful of your presence and steadfast in our prayers. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Matthew 6:7-15”

  1. David Armstrong Says:

    I love the way you remind us of the basics of living a Christian life.

  2. C. David Leyrer Says:

    Thank you for your meaningful devotion on Der Vater Unser. Just as you point out, it covers all. I try to always include it in my (Luther’s) morning and evening prayers.

    In Christ,
    C. David Letter
    Davenport, FL

  3. Wendy Says:

    repeating the Lord’s Prayer often during a trying time calmed me enough to hear our Lord when he spoke to me. Thanks for the memory and reminder.

  4. Carolee Groux Says:

    Thank you for the reminder that The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us, is always appropriate. When words of prayer fail us and we just need to communicate with God, The Lord’s Prayer is a perfect prayer. It contains A.C.T.S. : Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication which Rv. Kerry also mentions.

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