Chapel notes, 2/10/09.
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 men. I tell you the truth, 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. (Matthew 6:5-8. The above is from the NIV, due to my preference of this translation for this particular passage– Dr. Mohler read from the ESV.)
A person’s prayer reveals that person’s theology.
The way that we teach our children to pray is often a form of child abuse– not that we shouldn’t teach our children words to pray, but we should encourage them in heart-felt prayer as soon as possible, to avoid leading them in vain repetition.
2 dimensions of prayer:
1. Private prayer (passages such as the one above reveal that private prayer for Christians is an assumption).
2. Public prayer (this is an assignment for Christians, as seen in the Lord’s Prayer, when the pronouns are first person plural, rather than singular).
Presuppositions upon which prayer is based:
1. We are able to commune with God because we are made in His image.
2. Prayer is not an exercise in human creativity– we must pray in spirit and in truth.
Misconceptions concerning prayer:
1. That prayer is therapy (prayer may rightly disturb rather than soothe us, depending on our circumstances).
2. That prayer is an exercise in manipulation.
3. That prayer is for the purpose of persuading God (as if God were complacent or hostile toward us as Christians).
4. That prayer is an exercise in bargaining or negotiating.
Correctives to our prayer from this text:
1. We are not to pray to impress other people.
2. We are not to pray to impress God.