What Jesus Did! 'Few Words are Needed' — Matthew 6:7-8

Friday, March 10, 2017

"And when you pray, don't be like those people that don't know God. They continue saying things that mean nothing. Don't pray like that. They think that God will hear them because of the many things they say. Don't be like those people. Your Father knows the things you need before you ask him."
— Matthew 6:7-8
Illustration of Matthew 6:7-8 — "And when you pray, don't be like those people that don't know God."

Key Thought

The Stoic Philosopher Seneca made fun of the pagans of his day "fatiguing the gods" with their prayers. Jesus warns his followers not to follow the same course. Senseless babbling and the heaping up of repetitious phrases do not win us an audience with God. Prayer is not about magic formulas or fancy speech. Prayer is about our confidence in the Father's knowing us and responding to our needs. Under this understanding, our words don't need to be special or effusive, just heartfelt and genuine!

Today's Prayer

Holy and righteous Father, thank you for hearing my simple words that come from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for blessings. Please forgive me for my sins and guard me from evil. Use me in astounding ways that bring you glory! Empower me to do your will. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

"Be careful! When you do good things, don't do those things in front of people. Don't do those things for people to see you. If you do that, then you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. "When you give to poor people, don't announce that you are giving. Don't do like the hypocrites do. They blow trumpets before they give so that people will see them. They do that in the synagogues and on the streets. They want other people to give honor to them. I tell you the truth. Those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you give to poor people, give very secretly. Don't let any person know what you are doing. Your giving should be done in secret. Your Father can see the things that are done in secret. And he will reward you. "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites. The hypocrites love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray loudly. They want people to see them pray. I tell you the truth. They already have their full reward. When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door. Then pray to your Father. He is there in that secret place. Your Father can see the things that are done in secret. And he will reward you. "And when you pray, don't be like those people that don't know God. They continue saying things that mean nothing. Don't pray like that. They think that God will hear them because of the many things they say. Don't be like those people. Your Father knows the things you need before you ask him. So when you pray, you should pray like this: 'Our Father in heaven, we pray that your name will always be kept holy. We pray that your kingdom will come, and that the things you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven. Give us the food we need for each day. Forgive the sins we have done, the same as we have forgiven the people that did wrong to us. Don't let us be tempted (tested); but save us from the Evil One (the devil).' Yes, if you forgive other people for the things they do wrong, then your Fatherin heaven will also forgive you for the things you do wrong. But if you don't forgive the wrong things people do to you, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrong things you do. "When you fast, don't make yourselves look sad. The hypocrites do that. Don't be like the hypocrites. They make their faces look strange to show people that they are fasting. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you fast, make yourself look nice. Wash your face. Then people will not know that you are fasting. But your Father that you cannot see will see you. Your Father sees the things that are done in secret. And he will reward you.

Matthew 6:1-18

Related Scripture Readings

"You people will raise your arms to pray to me—but I will refuse to look at you. You people will say more and more prayers—but I will refuse to listen to you. Why? Because your hands are covered with blood.

Isaiah 1:15

Be very careful when you go to worship God. It is better to listen {to God} than to give sacrifices like foolish people. Foolish people often do bad things, and they don't even know it. Be careful when you make promises to God. Be careful about the things you say to God. Don't let your feelings cause you to speak too soon. God is in heaven, and you are on the earth. So you need to say only a few things to God. This saying is true: Bad dreams come with too many worries, and a fool with too many words.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3

{You are not like God}—you are evil. But you know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father will give good things to those people that ask him.

Matthew 7:11

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.