Praying With Jesus
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him (Matthew 6:5-8 New Living Translation)!
Yesterday my church had the honor of having David Sliker from International House of Prayer in Kansas City preach. For me, the message was a pivotal teaching on prayer and I was extremely blessed by it. He taught in such a way as to prompt me to evaluate the depth of my prayer life and personal relationship with Christ. When I read scripture, there are times where I take it very literally and Matthew 6:5-8 is no exception. Pastor Sliker gave a completely different perspective on these verses which made me look at them very differently. And, his teaching made perfect sense.
Jesus is the greatest intercessor and teacher, and digging into this portion of Scripture is a window into His heart. What I learned yesterday is to connect with Jesus through prayer. To be a hypocrite is to look to others for my value and reward instead of looking to Jesus. So, the questions I have to ask myself are do I really care what others think of me, or of what I do? Do I look to be given compliments and status based on my outward show of holiness and my talents? Do I want the reward of man instead of the heavenly rewards my Father wants to lavish upon me? After reflection, I honestly have to say yes, I admit, I secretly do. Well, now, after admitting this do I feel Jesus loves me less? No, I do not. I know He loves me regardless since He knows my heart and it’s weaknesses. I know He’s been interceding on my behalf because He knows my heart, and He and our Father are conversing about all their plans for me. Now that I also know this part of my heart, I can begin to let Him change me in ways that will only benefit me. My heart’s focus can now change to impress my audience of One, instead of the people around me.
As I sit down to pray, my connection with Jesus is stronger now and my heart reflects His heart. This is integral to my walk, and growth. Because of His light in my heart, this will also permeate all my areas of influence, allowing for those things which offended me in the past to simply slide off my back and into the pool of God’s love. When we realize the depth, width and greatness of God’s love for us, we come to the knowledge that no person on earth can give us what only He can.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for the love You have shown us! Thank You for teaching us how to connect with You and pray Your heart. May we desire more and more of You, drawing closer to You and our family, the Church. Father, may we do all for the audience of One, and not seek to find our value, worth and identity in the audience of man. Help us to forgive others when they offend us, and to seek forgiveness when we offend others. Let us not segregate ourselves, but dive fully into loving people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Connect to God today and pray with Jesus.