Matthew 6: 7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that 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 “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”
You may be familiar with the words of the prayer beginning in v.9 – which Christians often refer to as the “Lord’s Prayer” or perhaps the “Our Father” in the Catholic tradition. It so happens that I’m starting into a sermon series studying this prayer which Jesus taught his disciples. It’s a key element of the Lutheran worship tradition to include this prayer in our gatherings.
Over the years I’ve had opportunity to pray with all kinds of Christians in many different forms. Some Christians are more formal in prayer, choosing to read beautiful prayers written in lovely prose. Other Christians are more extemporaneous, less formal, praying in everyday language. Yet other Christians are more expressive in prayer, spending extended periods of time praying about all sorts of things. I believe there is a place for all kinds of prayer. Recently I’ve been using music as a vehicle for prayer – spending time each day playing my guitar and singing to the Lord as I pray in the spirit.
What Jesus does in this passage, in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, is make clear one doesn’t have to go on and on in prayer, or craft lovely prose for prayer. The words of this single biblical prayer Jesus gave to his disciples is more than enough. There is depth here even as there is brevity.
Lord Jesus thank you for teaching us to pray. Give us grace to set aside time for prayer every day and trust that you answer our prayers. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.