Foundations For Our Future #87
Foundations for Our Future (87)
by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler
Teach Us Lord
Matthew records next for us (Matthew 6:7) the guidance the Lord Jesus gave his disciples about prayer. It was not supposed to be a piling up of words, a “heaping up of empty phrases.” Do you understand what he is teaching us?
Some people, when they pray, actually start giving a sermon to those who are hearing them. Have you ever experiences such prayer? That is heaping up “empty phrases.” Jesus tells us that prayer is to be to our Father in heaven alone. It is not for the edification of others.
Sometimes people pray with long introductory explanations, as though God needs a great deal of clarification from us before they get to the point they really want to make. Have you ever done that? I have, but Jesus seems to me to be saying it is more “empty phrases.”
One of the finest of men, the late Bp. Alf Stanway, taught those he was responsible for to make short, clear, simple statements in prayer, and be done with it. “Help me stop gossiping,” or Teach me to be still,” or “Show me how to be a true servant,” or “Make me to love your commands.” Those prayers, Bp Alf taught, should end with an “Amen.”
There are times when we engage in long prayer dialogue with God, to be sure, but the key to understand our Lord Jesus today is this: Be clear, be honest, be direct with God. Make your true desire to hear from him, not him to hear from you.