Prayer, the one thing that you wish you were doing more of, right; the one thing you wish you spent more time doing, right? I don’t think there is a person on this earth that doesn’t wish they spent more time in prayer. Even the most prayer filled people you know wishes they prayed more.
Corporate prayer is a powerful tool. As we enter a month of prayer walking, with the help of the booklet we now have, we come together in small or large groups to pray for the communities we live in and the community we will soon be joining as we move into our worship center.
How did Jesus teach us to pray? A few weeks ago, Father Travis expounded on the Lord’s Prayer. A relatively simple prayer that packs an extraordinary punch. The words we know, the words we recite, the words we pray are filled with a depth of meaning that Jesus wants us to know and feel.
If it is such a simple prayer than how does it work? Jesus says this. "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly I say to you that they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them. For your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6: 5 – 6
What is Jesus telling us here? The first point is that Jesus is all about the motivation. Here He singles out the hypocrites and those who are faking their way through prayer. The reward that they get is the reward of being seen by others. That's it. They don't get the reward of prayer actually working, because their motivation isn't in the right place. And that is essentially what Jesus is saying here. If you pray to put on a show - then your reward is the show, not the true outputs of spiritual prayer.
So, when we are prayer walking lets grab onto our motivation – becoming a Christ centered community within the community surrounding our worship center. We are not walking the neighborhoods to “put on a show” or draw attention to ourselves by shouting out our prayers, rather we are prayer walking with a purpose. Our purpose is to connect with God and express our needs and the needs of the community to Him.
And then Jesus says, "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do. For they think they will be heard for their many words." I think Jesus is not only saying, "What's your motivation?" He's saying, "Be meaningful."
God already knows what we need. He wants us to use meaningful words and get at the heart of the issue of the things that we need. We pray to God in our communities to tell God what is on our hearts and in our minds. We pray to God to ask for what we need because it shows the submission of life.
Lord, stir in our hearts a desire to authentically communicate with you. Give us the motivation and a means unique to each of us so that You would move in our lives and our community.
Use your heart to love as Christ loves throughout the community.