When Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray, He first teaches them how NOT to pray. “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…” (Matthew 6:5). The disciples of Jesus must develop a secret prayer life. Jesus said, “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 is in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). The applause of heaven is much better than the applause of earth.
Then Jesus teaches us how to pray. “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). God is described in Scriptures in terms of fatherhood. “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God…” (Psalm 68:5). “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13). The 8th century prophet Isaiah, exclaims, “You, O LORD, are our Father…” (Isaiah 63:16). Other religions like Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism do not call their god(s) “Father.” Yahweh alone is called “Father.” Prayer involves closeness, and prayer also involves adoration. “Hallowed be your name!” Renowned English pastor and author Thomas Watson said, “Praising God is one of the highest and purest acts of religion. In prayer we act like men; in praise we act like angels!” Oh how our lives would change if we would set aside a day or two when we would just pray prayers of adoration, praising God for who He is, and what He has done! When you pray, call Him “Father.”