Jesus emphasized prayer but not in the way commonly done. For Jesus, prayer was not about being seen or convincing God to do what He wanted.
He encouraged us to pray. He repeatedly said, “When you pray” (see Matthew 6:5-12).
Jesus saw prayer as a time of deep intimacy with God. The pharisees prayed openly three times a day, at morning, afternoon, and evening. They wanted to be seen, and they were seen. They received their reward, but they missed the main element of prayer–coming into the presence of God.
Jesus prayed in public and asked us to do the same. When we say “Our Father,” we are acknowledging that prayer can snd should be public. But prayer should first be to God and for God. Therefore, we need to do the equivalent of going into our closet so that we can spend time with God without the distractions around us.
Jesus also taught His followers to pray to the loving Father who already knows what we need. To go to God in prayer is to go to our Father who loves us and desires to hear our hurts and needs.
Therefore, we don’t need to babble on as the pagans do, thinking we can get our way if we say the secret phrases or impress God with our many words.
What Jesus wanted in prayer was for us to come into the presence our loving Father we knows and understands us.
Prayer is for many reasons. We should praise God in prayer, intercede for ourselves and others, deal with our deepest needs such as forgiveness, and invite God into our daily lives.
More than anything else, we simply need to lay our lives before our kind, Heavenly Father who knows and loves us and will give us what we need.
That kind of prayer gives meaning to our lives and draws us closer to Him.