by: Wayne Schatzle

         Prayer to an unseen God is practiced in all the world’s religions. It is not an exact science and faiths have developed many ways to attempt to be heard by their god. I was brought up in a large Christian denomination that had many prayers published that a person could just read. In the early days prayers were said during worship in Latin. Even after nearly 50 years I can still remember some of those prayers I had said as an altar boy- but even to this day they are a bunch of odd sounding words that I know not what they mean. For the very earnest in praying, beads were strung together to keep track of the repetitive prayers. I can only imagine what God thinks of those attempts at gaining His ear. I liken that to my child coming to me and saying something over and over like robot with a broken record in him, which would do more to aggravate me than grant a wish.

            By far the most popular and most often used prayer is the “Our Father” or “The Lords Prayer”, which is a short prayer found in Matthew six of your Bible. Nearly all Christian Faiths quote it pretty much the same. The ending differs in some translations due to copyist errors, and some people feel they must use the old English “thee and thou” for God to understand. But if the truth be known it is NOT an acceptable prayer to God! If we read that entire chapter we will see Jesus clearing up some common misconceptions about religious deeds. First He shows how the hypocrites would make a show when they gave alms and said prayers standing on the street corners to be seen by men. Then Jesus said in verse seven, “but when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they will be heard by their many words. Therefore do not be like them…”. Then He says to pray in this manner, and gives an example of a prayer. Jesus is showing an outline of points to touch on during prayer- not giving an exacting worded prayer He would respond to. Adam Clarke’s commentary on this verse is: “Forms of prayers were frequent among the Jews, and every public teacher gave one to his disciples. Some forms were drawn out to considerable length, and from these abridgments were made... it is a plan for a more extended devotion”. I am drawn to Jesus’ example of prayer in Matthew 26, he went to the garden called Gethsemane and in private fell on His face and prayed to the Father. In fact there is no example of anyone offering a prepared prayer in the Bible.

            The “Lords prayer” contains some great ideas to pray: address Him as your Father with respect for His name and pray that His Kingdom come soon, as pictured in Revelation 21, and that His will be done on this earth instead of man’s evil ways. Ask that he provide for your needs and forgive the many sins made and give you strength to forgive those who offend you and help to overcome the many temptations that come your way. You can take each point and go on for hours if you so desire.

      God is a great listener, but even He would be bored stiff by listening to the same few words over and over. God wants us to pour out our hearts to Him and have meaningful conversation with Him. Why not try tonight to get your prayer life on the right track?                                        

    Written by Wayne Schatzle, director, Freedom Biblical Information Center
P.O. Box 1806, West Chester OH 45071)