Faith: A simple prayer life
Prayer advice from the bible
Life is complicated, and sometimes we can add to that complexity.
Fortunately, our prayer life does not have to be complicated. In Matthew, beginning at chapter 5 and running through to chapter 7:27, we find what is perhaps one of the greatest sermons Jesus preached. Known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking to His disciples on what it means to be a genuine follower of Christ.
Tucked away in the middle of this sermon in chapter 6 we find he addressed what genuine prayer looks like, and we learn it does not have to be at all complicated.
As one begins to contemplate the words of Jesus here, we are first reminded that we need not make a spectacle out of prayer. There is no need to showboat to get attention. No! Just go find a secluded place where you can shut out the world's distractions and give this time to the Lord.
We are also reminded this does not deny corporate prayer. Scripture reminds us “where two or three are gathered together, there am I with them.” We also find the disciples all gathered together in corporate prayer in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.
Second, we do not need to go on babbling. Babbling here could be described as one who is long winded or continues to come to the Lord with vain repetitions. Vain in this context may also refer to one who utters nonsense much like the pagans did in the days of Jesus.
Jesus reminds us when you pray, be clear and straight to the point when talking to God. How is it we can come to the Lord in this manner? Because our heavenly Father already knows our need even before we ask Him.
After Jesus addresses some behaviors that can produce negative results in one’s prayer life, he then goes on to give us some guidance on how one ought to come to the Lord in prayer. Some traditions still make it a practice to repeat this prayer within their services while other traditions use it more as a guide.
In either manner it remains one of the most beautiful models we can look to if we are wanting to have a simple yet authentic prayer life.
The first half of this prayer we are encouraged to direct our thoughts exclusively on God and his agenda as we adore, worship and submit to his will before we introduce our own personal petitions. We are also reminded of just how accessible God is to us as the prayer begins with the words, “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
The second half of this prayer is our petitions we lift to our heavenly Father. We understand here that we can come to God for our daily provisions, forgiveness as well as strength to overcome the evil one.
So all in all we find it is a prayer where we do not have to go on uttering nonsense to the Lord, but one where we can keep it simple and straight to the point. I believe what God is most interested in is that we come to Him with an open, honest and sincere heart more than anything else.
Therefore, the next time you pray, perhaps go find a quiet place and just keep it simple as you converse with your heavenly Father.
May the Lord add his blessing to your life.
John Rister is pastor at the Church of the Nazarene in Backus.