In the life of Mosaic at the moment we have been spending time looking at Jesus' revolutionary teaching about Prayer. This has come alongside a season of praying for breakthrough for major issues we've been facing in the body of Christ at this time. The reading below is so much more than a 'How to' manual for prayer as it represents a complete cultural shift in how humans can connect with their creator.
Matthew 6 v 5 - 9 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy."
In prayer Jesus compels us to move away from the need to feed our own demand for attention and approval from others or even God. So often we strive from a place of performance – acting out and faking it, feeling like the one who shouts loudest will get the biggest portion. We try to be the one with the most knowledge and skill to win at the competition of life. We revel in the maximum exposure we get from outworking personal ambition. We seek satisfaction in the rewards of outward spirituality. The Bible simply calls this behavior being a hypocrite (ouch!). I call it being caught on the religious hamster wheel.
Life on the religious hamster wheel is like living with the competitive attitude of the Apprentice, the striving of Bake Off, the cut throat nature of X Factor and the performance mentality of The Voice all rolled into one. It is like dressing up in the glitz and glamour of Strictly Come Dancing yet underneath you know you can’t dance. It is exhausting!
Life in the Father’s house is different. This passage on prayer helps us see that none of this stuff will cut it when we come to connect with the Father. We don’t have to make ourselves seen, God sees us. We don’t have to earn points, yet God rewards us. We don’t have to beg for it, God knows what we need. We find Satisfaction in the rewards of simply being a child. The defining factor in how Jesus prayed was not that He used a set structure or formula but that He rooted His prayer life in response to God’s fatherhood.
A few weeks ago at a prayer meeting, a women in our church, Tracy Harding, shared a picture of people begging for bread at the palace gates. She then saw an image of those people being led inside the palace and invited into the throne room to be with the King. What a contrast! She shared that God doesn’t want us to be like those begging at the gates, demanding attention and approval, striving in a place of performance and shouting loudest so we get the biggest portion. This is the behavior of orphans, not of sons. We simply need to receive our invitation to the throne room and come.
Jesus taught us to pray like sons and daughters when He said “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8). How does this concept transform the way you might approach God for your breakthrough today?