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Berni - ceo, Christianityworks

Ditching the Prayer Formula

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Matthew 6:5-8 When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites. They love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray loudly. They want people to see them. The truth is, that’s all the reward they will get. But when you pray, you should go into your room and close the door. Then pray to your Father. He is there in that private place. He can see what is done in private, and he will reward you. “And when you pray, don’t be like the people who don’t know God. They say the same things again and again. They think that if they say it enough, their god will hear them. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

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Ditching the Prayer Formula


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For so many people, prayer has become a burden. We know we should pray more, but you know how it goes. You’re busy and in any case, it doesn’t feel as though anything much is happening.

I’m the sort of guy who likes to have a formula for everything. It’s just how I’m built – super-organised, a place for everything, everything in its place. You know the sort.

So when I became a Christian, I wanted to know the formula for prayer. You know … say these words, and it’s all good, done, tick in the box. In fact, as a child, I’d grown up in a church just like that.

But then I discovered this radical, unconventional Jesus; this Jesus who wasn’t into religious rituals (as though somehow God is impressed by rituals, by empty words that we rattle off), this Jesus who said:

Matthew 6:5-8 When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites. They love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray loudly. They want people to see them. The truth is, that’s all the reward they will get. But when you pray, you should go into your room and close the door. Then pray to your Father. He is there in that private place. He can see what is done in private, and he will reward you. “And when you pray, don’t be like the people who don’t know God. They say the same things again and again. They think that if they say it enough, their god will hear them. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Prayer isn’t some formula, any more than communicating with any other person in your life is a formula. Prayer is a passionate embrace.

That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.


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