Prayer Is Not An Option

Saturday, August 22, 1998

Matthew 6:6-7 – But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Jesus never made prayer an option to His followers. He says, "when you pray…" Matthew 6:6 is not "if you pray." There is a world of difference between "when" and "if."

Therefore, if we are to pray, then should not each of us seek to develop the art of prayer? I believe courses should be given to help individuals to pray. Several years ago we offered such a course in our church. After it had concluded, all who participated were thrilled with what they had learned.

One participant had a penetrating insight. She said to me, "Pastor, I have been active in church work for over forty years. I have served several years as a missionary of our denomination. I have been constantly admonished to pray. However, this is the first time I have ever been presented with an opportunity to be taught how to pray. This is the first course I have ever had presented to me in the area of prayer."

I thought of the tragedy of this comment. If prayer is important, should you not take advantage of opportunities to learn to pray? And should not the church be presenting these opportunities for you?

Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray and help me to teach others the art of communing with You. Amen.

(From The Ministry of the Master ©1986 by Donald Bartow. Used by permission.)

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Donald Bartow <>
Canton, Ohio, USA

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