S: Matthew 6:5-9 5“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. 6But 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.7“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! 9Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11Give us today the food we need,
12and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
O: I find it ironic that this very prayer which Jesus prefaced with “use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (as verse 7 is rendered in the King James Version) has been turned by so many people into a “vain repetition” itself.
The words Jesus showed us in the “Our Father” are wonderful, but if you just rote repeat them, they lose their meaning.
The same thing goes for the liturgy. Coming from a mostly non-liturgical background, I love listening to the liturgy when I find myself in a liturgical mass. It is so full of Biblical meaning. Yet most people seem to just rote repeat it without paying attention to the meaning.
But lest we from non-liturgical denominations become smug, we are also susceptible to just “going through the motions”. And “praying so that people can see us” is a temptation that faces people from non-liturgical traditions even more, perhaps.
A: Let us pray purposefully! Let us come before our heavenly Father in spirit and in truth.
P: Father, sometimes I find my own prayers are just “going through the motions”. Fill me with Your Spirit and keep my faith fresh. In Jesus’ name, amen.
P: Father, thank You that You give us meaning in life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)