“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."
Matthew 6:7-8 ESV
Once a month, we have a family dinner with the kids. Janice and I cherish this time together with them, listening to what is happening in their lives and giving advice where it makes sense. We occasionally exchange texts with them, but nothing compares with that face-to-face contact and free-flow conversation.
Before giving us the Lord's Prayer, Jesus gives us some instructions on what not to do. There were lots of other gods around at this time; remember all those Greek and Roman gods. The prayers offered up were not only empty, but the gods themselves were meaningless. They held no power to do anything. They were praying so intently in hopes that something would happen. Jesus says, don't be like them; you don't need to. We have a living God who already knows what we need.
Although God knows what we need, he wants to share how we feel and what we are experiencing. God desires to connect with us, have a meaningful dialogue, and have a conversation based on our hearts’ contents. An open and comfortable free exchange of dialogue. We are his children, and he only wants us to spend time together.
Our prayers only need to be as long as it takes for this vital conversation to take place. It is not about length but content. Perhaps shorter but more frequent is even better. Think of it as a regular morning conversation with the occasional phone call throughout the day. Who doesn’t like to hear from their kids! "Mom and Dad, I know we talked this morning, but this thing came up and I want to get your opinion on how I should handle the situation."
Our Heavenly Father, we come to you today with thanks for your love, compassion, and kindness. We want to pray, but sometimes we fall back on prayer’s familiar words without establishing the connection. All those things heavy on our hearts and minds that you already know about, we want to share our anger, hurt, and anxiety with you. We also want to share our joy for the many gifts we are blessed with each day that we often take for granted. Please come and reside in our hearts, help us keep this intimate connection and conversation going throughout this day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.