The Lord’s Prayer: Praying Like a Child Who Knows and is Known by the Father
Scripture: Matthew 6:7–6:8
Key Truth: Prayer is the means of expression of relationship and worship of God our Father, not mere rhetoric or a technique for manipulation.
Q: What are some effective prayer techniques and methods?
“The oldest and most implacable enemy in the practice of prayer is depersonalization, turning prayer into a technique, using prayer as a device…. In our technology-saturated culture, we frequently request help by asking, “How do I pray?” or even worse, “How do I pray effectively?” The question distorts what is fundamentally a personal relation into an impersonal technique. God is conceived as an idea or a force or a higher power. Prayer is reduced to an exercise in control: “If I can just get into the right mood and get the right words in the right order, I can get God to do what I want or get what I need.”
Eugene Peterson, Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers
Don’t Pray Like a Gentile:
“So instead of trusting a Father to fulfill their needs, they think they must badger a reluctant Deity into taking notice of them.”
R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew
Q: What makes prayer ineffective? What makes it effective?
Do Pray Like a Child Who Knows and is Known by the Father:
“Believers do not pray, with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray, in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.”
John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew
Q: Who knows what you need and moves to provide it before you can say anything about it? What does this indicate about God’s care and love for His children?
“In honesty, you have to admit to a wise man that prayer is not for the wise, not for the prudent, nor for the sophisticated. Instead it is for those who recognize in the face of their deepest needs, all their wisdom is quite helpless. It is for those who are willing to persist in doing something that is both childish and crucial.”
Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:7-8 that:
- prayer is not rhetoric
- prayer is not a technique by which we can control or manipulate God
- God knows us so intimately that He is already moving to provide what we need before we can ask for it
More in The Lord's Prayer
August 2, 2015The Lord's Prayer: And Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil
July 26, 2015The Lord’s Prayer: And Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Also Forgive Our Debtors
July 19, 2015The Lord's Prayer: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread