August 28, 2023

The Power of Private Prayer

“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6


A strong prayer life is crucial for every believer. That’s why volumes have been written on how to pray. We tend to make prayer harder than it really is because we’re self-conscious about praying in public. But when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray He emphasized the power of private prayer, and He gave them a pattern to follow.


“Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (v9). Prayer is relational; we’re talking to our heavenly Father. The names of God show us who He is and indicate how He works. So start by praising His attributes and worshiping His name.


“Your kingdom come. Your will be done” (v10). We often pray for God’s will to be revealed, even while thinking and acting in ways that don’t align with His will (Ephesians 5:17-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 5:16-18). Ask God to help you see sinful attitudes or behaviors in your life. Remember, recognizing sin does nothing if you don’t also put an end to it. So confess it (agree with God about your sin), and repent (turn from it).


Praise and confession get us to a place of humility, which prepares our hearts for what’s next. “Give us this day our daily bread” (v11). Praying for daily provision acknowledges dependence on God. It also helps us differentiate between our needs and our wants, which builds a spirit of gratitude.


Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (v12). How we forgive determines how we will be forgiven (vv14-15). So pray for a tender heart that forgives others the same way God forgives you (Ephesians 4:32). 


“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (v13). Not every bad thing that happens is spiritual warfare. Sometimes, we just weren’t prepared when temptation came. Ask God to show you “the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13) and for the strength to take it!


When is your set time to talk with God each day? The power of private prayer isn’t in reciting certain words but in aligning your heart and mind with the Lord. He uses your private prayer time to build sensitivity to His will and His ways. You’ll only be as powerful in your Christian life as you are prayerful. And You’ll only be as strong in public as you’ve been in prayer privately.