Read Matthew 6:1-15 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: 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 also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Why do we pray the Lord’s Prayer? Not knowing why might cause our use of the prayer to become nothing more than an empty ritual of repetition. Not knowing the answer to that question might lead us to abandon this prayer all together. We may ask, “Isn’t it better for us simply to pray what is on our hearts?” The challenge in that mindset is that Jesus reminds us that our hearts are corrupted by our sinfulness. Prayers guided only by our hearts can become echoes of our sinful thoughts and desires. God desires that we pray, and that we do so fully engaged and present in our time of prayer. He wants us to come to Him with the desires and needs weighing on our hearts and minds. That is why, through Jesus, He gives us the right to be called His children and the invitation to go to Him as our Heavenly Father. With that invitation, the Lord’s Prayer is a gift of God’s grace, which not only gives expression to the things we need in this life but also conforms our hearts and prayers to the good He desires for us, rather than having us expect that God’s will would be conformed to our desires. It is a gift of grace which not only reminds us that He wants us to pray but also that He promises to hear us. Prayer Lord, teach me to pray. This Lent, shape me to depend on You more each day. Help me to trust Your good and gracious will. Amen.