“When you pray.” Did you spot that twice in today’s reading? Jesus expects us to pray. It is natural! And it is hard. Most people pray, whether it is the opening lines of the bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love” with “Hello God. How are you? I’m Liz. It’s nice to meet you…” or rock Star Dave Grohl praying desperately when his friend was in a coma after a drug overdose “I’m not a religious person, but I was out of my mind, I was so frightened and heartbroken and confused.” We all pray. It is as hotelier Conrad Hilton described, the hub that holds the wheel together.
We may ask why pray, if God is all knowing? He surely knows what we will pray before we say it. The answer to that is prayer is primarily about relationship. All good relationships require communication and our relationship with God is no different. There is a two-way conversation between us as God’s children and our Father. We will explore how God speaks later, today we are focused on our communication with Him.
The question is less why pray, but how to pray and what? Jesus begins to address this in today’s passage.
Firstly if you are in public, don’t pray to draw attention to how good you are at praying. God loves spending time with us one on one and rewards that. This passage is not saying we shouldn’t gather together to pray, there are many Bible passages that describe that (eg Acts 4:23-31). Find a place and a time when you can enjoy some alone time with God.
Secondly, don’t babble – in our house we’d say stop wittering on! Just pray simply from the heart. If it concerns you, it concerns God, so tell Him about it.
Pray: Tell the Lord what’s on your heart today and ask for help as needed.
Recommended extra reading
How to Pray - a simple guide for normal people (Pete Greig)
This book is the simplest and most helpful book on prayer I have ever read. Well worth buying, reading and putting into practice