Those of us who are inarticulate will also appreciate Jesus’ next instruction – apart from “don’t go to church to pray”......
“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.”
Cut down on words. You don’t need many words when you pray, alone in your room, to your heavenly Father. He already knows what you need...... But do you know what you need?
Jesus had a third piece of advice to his followers – a model prayer for them to pray. It’s very, very short.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
• Give us this day our daily bread, and
• forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And
• lead us not into temptation, but
• deliver us from evil.”
Have you spotted the contradiction? You are to pray alone. How can you then pray: “Our Father.”? Surely that can only be prayed when with others? Or is it that I must focus on the “our” and the “us” when praying alone?
This instruction of Jesus runs throughout this model prayer even if it’s to be prayed alone in my room with the door shut. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”