There is so much in these chapters of Matthew that challenges and runs counter to what we might believe we should do! A whole book could be written about Matthew 5-7! But we’ll just content ourselves with this for now:
“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. Therefore do not be like them. For Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:” Mat 6:7-8
This instruction is followed by the Lord’s Prayer, which takes less than five minutes to pray. Many of us do not spend intimate, worshipful time with the Lord, because when we go before Him, we maybe feel guilty about how much time we haven’t spent in prayer, or how much time we haven’t spent reading the Word of God.
One of the first things I was taught when I was born again, was to have a Quiet Time every day, and this time was to consist of prayer and Bible reading, and, you know, if the time you spent was less than an hour, well, you were slacking off. I mean, that is the idea most of us have.
Now I believe in quiet time with the Lord, and I believe, that since man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mat 4:4), we ought to feed on and meditate on that Word at least as often as we feed our bodies on bread. Every day, in other words.
But I wonder if man’s attempt to turn quiet time into a religious system has detracted from the freedom we have as beloved children of the Most High, to just spend our quiet time with Him, talking about whatever, worshiping, being quiet together, listening without (us) talking, loving and being loved … I bet God even has a sense of humor, and as a Father, likes playing with His children. But if we take time for those things, then we might not have time for “prayer” and “Bible reading.”
But if we prayed in the manner our Lord instructed us, and not as the Gentiles who only think they will be heard if they use many words, then we would have more time for relationship!
Now don’t use relationship as an excuse to neglect prayer and Bible reading!
For further reading:
Matthew 6, Jesus’ teaching on the Ten Commandments (2009)