Prayer & Fasting - Day 7

Twenty-One Days of Prayer
Devotions for Families

DAY SEVEN – “Relationship Not Ritual”

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:7-8

Why do you think Jesus says for the third time, “When you pray…..”?
Obviously, He is emphasizing the importance and necessity of praying, but I think there is more to it than that. When put it in the context of His teaching Jesus is saying it is important that you pray differently than what you have seen from your religious leaders. He is saying, “Don’t pray like them, pray like this!”

What makes the difference here?
The Pharisees and other Jewish leaders viewed prayer as a ritual or a religious duty. There was nothing personal about their prayers except seeking to enhance their pious public image. They prayed long, lavish and loquacious prayers seeking to implore God and impress onlookers.
Before you find yourself becoming too critical of them stop and examine your own heart. How many times have you prayed from a sense of religious duty? How often have you prayed so you could punch your religious time clock?

But Jesus says, “Don’t view prayer as a religious ritual rather see it as a relationship with your Heavenly Father!”  You may say, “Well duh!”
However, to the devout Jews this was revolutionary teaching! God as a Father? Seriously? 
Their God was Jehovah! He was the cloud and the thunder and the lightening atop Mount Sinai.
He was the cloud that led the Hebrews by day and the pillar of fire by night. The God of Israel was high and holy and unapproachable. He was a vengeful God and a punitive God! Jehovah God as a Father? It was too big of a stretch for their imagination – and their faith.

Jesus knew that if you could wrap your mind and spirit around this new paradigm it not only will change your prayers it will change your life! God wants to be your Father! He knows you and what you need! He stands ready to meet those needs if you will spend time communing with Him!

  1. Do I see prayer as a relationship with God or a ritual I must fulfill?
  2. Do I pray as those I am talking to a friend?

Heavenly Father, thank you I can talk to you like my Father and my friend! In Jesus’ Name.

By: Pastor Brad
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