Sunday, August 8, kicked off the first message in our new message series Teach us How to Pray.

In his teaching, Pastor Jim Colledge walks us through Matthew 6:5-8 and the practical tips that Jesus himself gives us regarding prayer. Through Pastor Jim’s message, we learn a little more about the wrong way to pray, the right way to pray, and how Jesus helps us make the transition.

The wrong way to pray involves performing and pretending, and Jesus warns us against being like hypocrites. He doesn’t want us to try to be something that we’re not. He doesn’t want us to put on a show for others in an attempt to gain favor or credibility. It’s not about how eloquent our words are or how regimented we are with our prayer time. When we start to focus on metrics instead of the importance of simply meeting with God, we lose sight of what matters.

Luckily, Jesus shows us the right way to pray. He encourages us to go into our room, shut the door, and pray to our Father in secret. He encourages us to come to God, to meet with him and to pray authentic prayers. We can bring our anger, our disappointment, our joy, and our fears. He wants us to meet with him just as we are, without conditions, without distractions.

He wants us to meet with him responsively. As we seek his voice through prayer and time in the Word, we begin to hear him more and more clearly. He initiates a relationship with us, and we are called to respond to his guidance, encouragement, and direction.

And Jesus reminds us who we are praying to: Our Father. We pour our hearts out to a God who always listens. We nurture a relationship with the heavenly Father, the father figure we have always longed for. The heavenly Father who loves us deeply and promises that nothing could ever separate us from that unbreakable bond.

So how does Jesus help us move from the wrong types of prayer to the right ones? He bridges the gap. He prepares the way. He became the One Mediator between God and man, and because of his sacrifice, the curtain has been opened, and we can approach the throne of grace with confidence.

Jesus’ sacrifice secured for us a clear path to God. Our Father in heaven wants us to come to him, and Jesus is the Great Shepherd who leads us there.

Through prayer, we can come to God. And, he meets us right where we are. God doesn’t expect perfect prayers. He doesn’t want performances or pretending. He wants us to be present with him, pursue him, and seek him with our authentic selves every day.

And as Jesus taught us, we can begin our prayers to the God of the universe in this highly personal and relational way:

“Our Father”.