“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. . . . But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.”Matthew 6:5–15
These passages of Scripture take place during Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. He stands on a mountain, and begins to teach people the truths of his gospel, explaining the Beatitudes, how to be salt and light in a dark world, fulfilling the law, dealing with anger, fighting against lust, resisting divorce, loving your enemies, and giving to the needy. Jesus covers some very difficult and relevant topics that hit the issues of that time period, and even today. He already knows what we struggle with, and what we WILL struggle with. Pride is one of these things. Jesus refers to the discipline of prayer, and how Christians are to approach prayer. In this section of Scripture, Jesus models and teaches how we are to pray, and calls it “The Lord’s Prayer.” He teaches against approaching prayer in a prideful way, as the hypocrites and Gentiles do, but rather approaching prayer in a humble and desperate way.
If you think about it, the whole purpose of prayer is to humble ourselves under and before God (see 1 Peter 5:6). The act of prayer itself is a prime example of our inability to handle life on our own strength. The reason we should be praying is because we need God, and we desire to hear from Him. Any act of ‘ministry’ can be demonstrated in a selfish, prideful way, in order to receive attention from others but that actually defeats the entire purpose of ministry itself. Ministry is about others. We do ministry as an overflow of what Christ has done for us. Let’s strive to be humble in our prayer life, and position ourselves under the sovereign hand of God.
1. What are some difficulties you face in order to maintain a humble prayer life?
2. How have you seen prayer impact your life? How do you think it can impact your life more?
3. Spend some time praying, asking that God would teach you humility and strengthen your desire to seek him in prayer this Lent season.