“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that 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.
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:5-13
All of us have a clean slate for living as we move into a new year. All of us have an opportunity to fill the days ahead with what we choose. Maybe we will make this a new year of spending time with God in prayer.
Throughout the gospel accounts of the life of our Lord, we see instances where Jesus pauses to talk to God in prayer. Here in Matthew, in what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus tells his disciples how to pray.
Prayer, Jesus says, is a private conversation. And this conversation is welcomed between us and the God that we can approach like a Father. And if we don’t know exactly what to say in that conversation, Jesus gives us some categories in “the Lord’s Prayer.” Even though in seminary and ministry I have read about and studied prayer, I prefer most simply to think of prayer as I invite the children to join me in the Time with Younger Disciples in church — “Let’s talk to God in prayer.”
Maybe this year you will further the conversations you have had with Him in the past. Maybe this year, you will continue to devote some time to talking with the loving Father who has given you and me so much. Let’s talk to God in prayer.
Dear God, it’s me again … Amen.