Prayer 1 – Jesus’ Instructions

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on Jesus’ instructions regarding the discipline of prayer in the life of the believer.


Matthew 6:5-15

5 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. 6 “ But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father, who sees in the secret place will reward you openly.

7 “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. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

9 “In this manner, therefore, pray:  Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.10 Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 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.

14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Observations and Reflections

Note: Jesus’ teaching on prayer does not condemn public prayer (v 6) nor does “vain repetitions” (v 7) refer to repeating requests when praying.  Instead He teaches, by way of contrast, focussed prayer which acknowledges God’s needed reign in every area of our lives.

  1. Jesus uses the words “when you pray” (v 6, 7) and “pray therefore” (v 9) instead of “if you pray”. What does His use of words imply?
  2. What instructions does Jesus give concerning time, space, method and content of prayer? Try to put each of these instructions in one or two words.
  3. Why do you think Jesus values prayer in the ‘secret place’ specifically vs prayer that attracts attention?

Personal reflection & Prayer

  1. Consider your own prayer life:
  • How often do you talk to God?
  • Do you have a special place or time set aside for prayer?
  1. Consider Jesus’ promise of reward for disciplined prayer:
  • Ask God to show you how and where He wants you to create a ‘secret place’ where the two of you can communicate without distractions.

Share you intent and plan with your accountability friend or some trusted mature Christian and ask him/ her to help you cultivate a place of private prayer by keeping you accountable.

Acknowledgement: This devotional series on prayer was developed and complied by Ester Venter.