The Gospel of Matthew

Prayer is a Conversation

This devotional is written by Katherine Evans. Katherine is a teacher, who loves cheese and wine, bike rides and the sea.

Matthew 6:5-15

Prayer

5 "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. 6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 "This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Reflection

"And when you pray do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words."

When I was a teenager exploring Christianity, I always thought the fancier your prayer was, the more effective it would be. I thought that if I used impressive words and made my prayers sound poetic, God would be more likely to listen and to answer my prayers.

Then one day someone told me that prayer was like a conversation with your best friend. I message my best friend pretty much every single day about the most random things, sometimes multiple times a day. Of course I speak to her when I have big news or I'm really struggling with things but I'll also message her about the tiniest things that have made me laugh, the slightest inconvenience in my day, or even just random thoughts that pop into my head. This is what our prayer life and relationship with God should be like too.

There will be times that we want to pray beautiful, well thought-out prayers, and times when we need to spend long periods of time in prayer. But our day-to-day lives should also be an on-going conversation with God, filled with prayers inviting Him to be present in every moment. When something difficult happens, pray: "God, be in this situation." When something amazing happens, pray: "Thank you, God". When God pops into your head, pray: "I love you, Lord." And that one sentence of prayer, those few words of praise, those ten seconds of inviting God into a situation, are just as valuable and meaningful to God as a long, poetic prayer. So today, open up that communication with God and involve Him in every part of your day, through prayer.

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