And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in the secret place; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:
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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
In prayer and research concerning this devotion, I am convicted of several things, including: 1) The absolute importance of prayer. 2) Prayer must be passionate. Mechanical prayer is meaningless--or worse. It trivializes our relationship with God. 3) Private prayer was Jesus' norm, as opposed to large or long prayers in public.
I encourage you to examine your own prayer life, as I must and will. Ask Jesus and His Holy Spirit to be your Guide in renewal and a fresh perspective that comes from God--not man, nor even the constructs of today's churches.
That being said, I include remarks about prayer from extraordinary people. Each left this earth with a legacy that continues:
'Gentlemen, I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I move that prayer imploring the assistance of Heaven be held every morning before we proceed to business' (Benjamin Franklin).
'Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom. If you may have everything by asking in His Name, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is' (Charles Spurgeon).
'If you are strangers to prayer, you are strangers to power' (Billy Sunday).
'Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer' (D.L. Moody).
'God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them' (E.M. Bounds).
'Prayer is of transcendent importance. Prayer is the mightiest agent to advance God's work... Prayer succeeds when all else fails' (E.M. Bounds).
'I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer... It is that burning lava of prayer that finds its way to God. No prayer ever reaches God's Heart which does not come from our hearts' (Charles Spurgeon).
'True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length' (Charles Spurgeon).
'Flamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight Heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying' (E.M. Bounds).
'Methinks every true Christian should be exceedingly earnest in prayer concerning the souls of the ungodly; and when they are so, how abundantly God blesses them and how the church prospers!' (Charles Spurgeon).
'Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?' (Corrie Ten Boom).
'I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive someone' (D.L. Moody).
'Neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church' (Charles Spurgeon).
'Prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes, and bend His government according to my foolish, silly, and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up into feeling, into union and design with Him; that I am to enter into His counsel and carry out His purpose fully' (D.L. Moody).
For every good reason, prayer is an essential success strategy. Get intense. Pray without ceasing, but make it real.
To Be Continued...
The Prayer Life of Jesus: http://www.lovesark.net/prayer/prayerlifejesus.html
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Success Strategies series.