Last time we were together we discussed what Jesus called the "so-called prayer warriors" and the fact that prayer is not a formula for getting what you want from God. Today we will talk about more legalistic techniques and why they do not work.

"With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:" (Matthew 6:9 The Message)

This is Jesus teaching us how to pray -- no magical phrases, no wordy wandering, just a simple plea. We all know The Lord's Prayer, but do we really think of what it means?

In the verse above, as rendered in The Message Bible, Jesus says pray "like this". When I looked up the synonyms for the word "like" this is what I found the following: "similar to", "in the vein of", "reminiscent of", "approximating" and "akin to". Jesus is not telling us to pray these exact words; He is saying this is the pattern for prayer. Otherwise, this would be just another formula, and a prayer with no heart behind it will never move God.

The actual words of The Lord's Prayer are not meant to be the only words we use.  That's legalism. These words make up the framework on which to hang our prayers. We should be able to trace each prayer back to this foundation. It is the pattern for petition, the cornerstone of our spiritual house. We lay our prayers upon it, building the structure one prayer at a time.

Jesus intended this teaching on prayer to be a guideline to take us deeper into our prayer life, and not a stumbling stone. We know that Satan is a perverter of God's Word, and tries to water down the Word to make it of no effect. So, let us not fall into his trap by treating as common something God has sanctified for our good.

Father, thank You for Your Word. It is yes and amen. It is profitable to teach us how to live and love and walk and talk with You. I pray You will open the eyes of our understanding as we grow in the grace and knowledge of You Lord. Bless us and keep us safe from the evil one. In the mighty and matchless name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In the next few parts in this series, we will look closer at each verse of the prayer to see beyond the familiarity of the words and into Jesus' heart in the matter. Join us next Tuesday as we talk about the focus of our prayers, God Himself.

Yours in Christ,
Sonya Richards


(To Access the rest of "The Lord's Prayer" mini-series, please click here!)