Matthew 6:5-6: And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Corporate prayer, public prayer and joining others in prayer are important. But our most important prayer is one on one with God. The most significant definition of the word hypocrite is an actor. His prayer is not genuinely meant for God. Indeed, he does not know God and does not have a relationship with God that will permit him access to God. He prays first and foremost to be heard by men. He gets the attention and admiration of men which is the reward he wants.
Matthew 6:7: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The problem with repetitive prayer is that the one praying does not have faith in God. He has faith in himself and his own method of prayer. He has faith in his repetition. It is appropriate for us to repeat prayers when we are fervent in prayer.
Luke 18:1-6: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
James 5:16: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Matthew 6:9: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
That first phrase Our Father is very significant. Many people who say it are uttering a complete falsehood. God is NOT their father. They have not become a child of God. The prayers of one like that will always bounce off the ceiling. Their prayers are sins. In fact, their prayers are lies. God does not hear the prayers of Satan*s children.
People need to make sure they are the children of God before they insult Him by calling Him their father. The first and only prayer by a child of Satan that God promises to hear is a prayer to receive Christ as Saviour.
Matthew 6:10a: Thy kingdom come. . . .
This is not a request for the distant future. It should express a desire for Him to be my King right here and now.
Matthew 6:10b: . . . Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
God*s will is done perfectly in heaven. His perfect will, not ours, should be our desire for this earth. Everything that is not His will is sin. His will is righteous. Our will is flawed and sinful. We are not as wise as God. We do not know for certain whether what we want is right or wrong. We dare not depend upon our will to be right.
Matthew 6:11: Give us this day our daily bread.
No day, no hour, no minute and no second passes that we do not need Him and His provision. We should not take it for granted.
Matthew 6:12: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Being able to forgive people should be characteristic of anyone who has been forgiven by God. Our sins against Him are far worse than the sins others commit against us. A lack of forgiveness can demonstrate that someone is not saved. Forgiveness is vital for believers because unconfessed sin is a barrier between us and God. It prevents answers to our prayers.
Isaiah 59:2: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Matthew 6:13a: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: . . .
This request is often insincere. People pray this and then deliberately walk right into temptation. The temptation we need the most deliverance from is self-inflicted.
The word us appears four times in verses 11 through 13. We should pray for others.
Matthew 6:13b: . . . For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Prayer should include knowledgeable worship of God. It should be trustful and expectant. It should be grateful even before the answer comes. It should appreciate what God withholds or delays. Those who know the Lord best will pray best.