In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us about the type of prayer our Father hears. More than anything, what God looks for in our prayer life is honesty and humility before Him. This school year, each middle school homeroom will dedicate one morning a week to prayer for a specific missionary family that they have adopted. But we can pray for this family, our own families, our friends, and our school every day at home in our own “prayer closets.”
The Text (Matthew 6:5-15)
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Background and Observations
- Jesus assumed that His disciples would pray. A follower of Jesus will become a person who prays.
- We do not pray for attention from others. We don’t pray to impress others with our spirituality. Such prayers may earn you approval from others, but they do not reach God’s ears.
- The real reward for honest, humble prayer is that God hears it. The sincere and open prayer of a young person on their knees in their room has more power than a long, beautiful-sounding speech made by a hypocrite (a false person).
- The Lord’s Prayer is a model for how we should pray, but not a prayer that He intended for us to simply recite without thought. Jesus wants us to see the types of things we should pray for: God’s kingdom work, our daily needs, and right relationships with God and others through confession and forgiveness of sin.
- Verses 12-15 are all about the problem of sin and how it must be dealt with if we want our prayers to reach God. This is something we should really think about. If our prayer life is weak or nonexistent, there are probably sin barriers that we need God to help us break.
Questions to Think About
1. Do you have a regular prayer time? Where and when do you spend time alone with God? What do you do?
2. How do your prayers compare to what Jesus teaches about prayer in this passage?
3. What changes could you make in your life to create more time and focus for prayer?