“When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:7-8 TEV).
God created you and so He wants you to be the real you. By being authentic when you speak to God, you worship Him as your Creator.
For years I copied the prayers of other people. I noticed they used certain words and even a special tone of voice. I imitated all the religious clichés: “Lead, guide, and direct us, O Lord.” “Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.” “Bless the gift and the giver.”
In New Testament times, prayers were wordy, meaningless rituals. There was no spontaneity, no genuineness. But Jesus says don’t get caught up in ritual prayer. You don’t have to use fancy language. You can’t impress God with fancy language, and you shouldn’t be trying to impress other people, either.
I love to hear new Christians pray; there’s no pious pomposity. They haven’t learned the clichés yet. They just say, “Hi, God. It’s me.” That’s how you make contact with God. You just talk with your heavenly Father about what’s on your mind. Just pray your heart. Reveal yourself.
Imagine I walked in the door one evening and my kids said: “O, almighty procreator of our family. How wonderful thou art, who sovereignly deposits our allowance to us. Oh, the majesty of thy wonderful self! We beseech thee to come eat dinner with us.” I’d check their temperatures to see if they were sick! I don’t want to hear that. I want them to say, “Hey! Dad's home. Good to see you, Pop!”
I’m not saying to be flippant in prayer, but that’s how you make contact with God. You just talk with him in a genuine and heartfelt way.
Jesus gives us a model we can use as we learn to make contact with God. In the next six devotionals, we’ll look at six things we can talk to God about when we pray.