Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Prayer – The Basics

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

8th January 2012

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. (Matthew 6:5–8)

There are three principles that emerge from this text that relate to having a prayer life that honours God.

1. Pray to be heard by God not seen by men

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (V.5)

Hypocrisy in this context is being more concerned about what men think about you than what God thinks about you. The love of men's praise is equal to slavery to the fear of man. We must fear God more than we do men.

In the Church, we can become guilty of serving men for their approval and turning our backs on spending time with God so we can have His power in our lives. Doing spiritual things in order to impress people will result in the loss of God’s blessing.

When our prayers are prayed to impress a human audience we are guilty of religious showboating for the applause of men instead of seeking the glory of God.

2. Pray in the secret place to see your rewards in the open place

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (V.6)

We all need a place to meet with God in private. This keeps it all about meeting with God and not impressing people.

Notice Jesus said the focus was to “pray to your Father, who is unseen”. Meeting with God just to be with Him and Him alone, where there are no external distractions moves His heart, because you are moving your heart toward Him when you do this. He has promised to draw near to you when you draw near to Him.

Then God promises to reward you openly. This could include: • Answering your prayer; • Giving you favour among men; • Bringing people to you who need ministry; • Releasing His grace upon you.

3. Pray to connect with God's heart not to convince god's will

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. (V.7-8)

Prayer is not about changing God's mind or circumventing God's will. It is about getting God's heart, knowing God's will, and agreeing with God and allowing Him to use you to bring about His will.

Prayer is a partnership. God invites us to join with Him in changing things in the earth. There are things that will happen because we connect with God and pray that do not happen when we don't pray. God wants His will done. We do not have to convince Him to do what He wants to do. We have to learn to position our hearts and listen.

Your vocabulary is not your greatest weapon, it is your faith. Some people pray like God was a student in school who needed to be informed of how to run the world. Some people pray as if God were ignorant of what is happening in the world, and they are like news anchormen informing God about what is going on.

Faith means you know God knows what needs to be done and you are connecting with His heart and His promises and joining Him in getting it done by using your prayers. He tells us to pray that His will would be done on earth. So prayer connects us with seeing that accomplished.

And remember the length of your prayer does not equal the depth of your prayer. Keep it simple and childlike and faith-filled to see Heaven moving to earth in power.

So as we engage in this thing called prayer, let's not want to impress people, but commit to draw near to God just to be with Him, and just relate to Him as Father.

Have a good week praying,

Pastor Barry

2: Prayer Is Not Easy »

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