June 20, 2022

“And when you pray…” – Matthew 6:5

The book of Matthew is the longest of the four gospels. It contains many of the teachings of Jesus. The longest teaching of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel is the “Sermon on the Mount.” This sermon is uninterrupted for three chapters (Matthew 5,6,7). This long, continuous teaching includes the “Beatitudes.” The “Sermon on the Mount” is truly worth our reading and meditation.

In the longest gospel, in the middle of the longest uninterrupted teaching of Jesus, is a large section on prayer. Starting in chapter six, Jesus teaches us what not to do when we pray. Jesus also teaches us how to pray. This is where we find “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is a powerful teaching that leads all disciples to a fuller life of prayer.

When you read the Bible, it is important to pay attention to the location of a particular scripture. What story does it follow? What happens after that scripture? The location of a bible text often tells as much of a story as the words themselves. The section on prayer is placed in the middle of the “Sermon on the Mount.” I believe this is to remind us that prayer is the central practice to our life of faith.

When Jesus teaches about prayer, he does not say, “If you pray.” When Jesus teaches about prayer, he assumes we will pray. Jesus says, “And when you pray…” Prayer is our connection to God. It allows us to share our hopes and fears, our worries, and our dreams. Prayer also gives us a chance to pause and listen for God to speak. Prayer is central to our life of faith.

When you pray today, perhaps you can start by saying, “Our Father in Heaven…”

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship