Have you ever thought of why your best friend is your closest friend, or why you are close to your spouse? If you reflect on it, you would probably find that it is because you have some important things in common, and some of it is probably because you have had some very personal and intimate conversations with each other. You have shared things with your friend or spouse that you haven't ever shared with anyone else. Maybe you are sharing some of your hopes and dreams, or maybe you are sharing some things that you would like them to consider as they pray for you. Either way you look at it, the people we are closest to are close to us because of some shared moments between you and them. God wants those moments with us as well; He wants that intimacy. Please read Matthew 6:5-15 to see what Jesus taught about prayer.
Jesus points out the importance of private prayer. Prayer isn't something to be used to show how holy we are or to show people that we are closer to God. Prayer is a conversation with God. Jesus points out that prayer doesn't need to be repetitive because God already knows what we need. Don't get me wrong, Jesus wasn't saying that corporate prayer is bad; He is saying that we shouldn't be using prayer as a way of boasting about ourselves. In fact, without having our private time with God, how are we supposed to bring those private and intimate struggles and concerns to God?
Jesus gave us a beautiful model on how to pray in verses 9 - 13. We see that we are to praise our Heavenly Father, and I know that starting this way is such an amazing reminder to me that we can even bring our needs to Him. When we start with praise and honor to God, we are reminded of how great He is. We are to pray for God's kingdom and pray that His will be done here on earth. We are to bring our needs before Him - our needs for His provision and our needs for His help living this life. We are to pray for His forgiveness and we are to forgive those who have offended or hurt us. If we cannot forgive - pray that God helps you forgive! Notice what Jesus says in verses 14 and 15 - we have to forgive! We are to pray for the strength to overcome our temptations and to be saved from the enemy's attacks.
As we look at prayer, I ask that you pray for the many people who will be affected by Hurricane Sandy. They are predicting widespread damage and power outages. Pray that God would protect people and provide for them in their time of need and also for the many rescue workers who will undoubtedly be put in dangerous situations. Pray for me and my family as well since we are in an area that is predicted to have a high probability of power outages (although we are nowhere near the shore!).
Do you spend some time in prayer alone with God?
This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty, Monday Musings and A Heart Reflected.