Deepening Your Prayer Life: Matthew 6:5-8
““5) When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6) But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “7) And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 7) So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew‬ ‭6:5-8‬
Prayer is intended to be intimate communion with God. It is communication between two friends. Even though God knows everything about us from our thoughts to our desires, He delights in dialogue with us.
Let me stress the word dialogue. Prayer includes listening to the whispers of the Spirit of God. For those who know Jesus and are filled with His Spirit, prayer is open ended throughout the day and night. It is constant and ongoing. It becomes very informal but deeply precious.
By contrast, mere religion turns prayer into a theatrical act to be seen and heard by others. It practices flowery rhetoric and is intended to impress others rather than communicate with God. In this way it becomes hypocritical. It is pretentious to say it is directed to God because it is intended for the human audience.
This changes the moment you go into your inner room alone with God. Suddenly He becomes the only audience. Learning to commune with God takes on new dynamics at this level. The nonChristian may still use vain repetitions, but the Christian soon learns to communicate with God openly and spontaneously.
Prayer has many components. It includes praise and adoration. It involves ascribing worth to God. Prayer includes confession of sin and personal failure. Prayer includes making requests and petitions both for others and for yourself. As your prayer life evolves, it deepens into discerning and appealing for the will of God to be done on your life and the world around you.
During these times, prayer is often a wrestling with God. As your communion with God deepens so does this wrestling. From these times comes vision, clarity, motivation, inner resolve, courage and boldness. Prayer is not so much twisting the arm of God to get what I want as it is aligning with His heart and desires.
As you become more absorbed in God, prayer takes on a new dynamic of basking in His presence. At this point other people and the hectic pressures of life become a distraction. During these times of communion, prayer lists are set aside and being absorbed in the glory and presence of God becomes an end in itself. Jesus often slipped away to spend this kind of time with His Father.
It is valuable to pray with your Bible open. The Spirit of God can speak to you through Scripture. Therein you can discover and align yourself with the ways and will of God. You can also discover and claim the promises of God contained in His Word as the Spirit illuminates truth to your spirit.
I also believe in becoming a conduit of prayer through the unction of the Holy Spirit. These are times when God reveals His heart to you so you can align your intercession with His will, desires and passions for the world around you.
The above context in Matthew 6:5-8 in no way discourages group or public praying. Intercessory prayer groups can be anointed and powerful. The thing that separates prayer warriors coming together for concerted prayer from the hypocrisy condemned in the text is the intended audience. Intercessory prayer groups come together to worship, praise and wrestle with God. Merely religious people meet to impress and entertain one another with little or no thought of connecting with God.
My quest in recent years has been focused on deepening my communion with God. I consider myself a novice when it comes to prayer and communion with God, but this has become my new vehicle that drives my pursuit of God. Acts 6:4 is quickly becoming my new yearning and calling.
No matter where you are in your walk with God, He invites you to deepen your communion and intimacy with Him. Prayer is not about prayer, it is about God. It is about deepening your personal relationship with Him. I encourage you to daily remove your distractions and get alone with God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoSev Global