When we pray we should always focus our attention on God and pray only to Him. This principle may seem quite obvious and not necessary to mention; however, if you don’t always have a pure heart that seeks after God, it’s not unnecessary at all—for you may find yourself praying as a hypocrite or a pagan. Jesus addresses this kind of praying in Matthew 6: 5-8.
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 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.
8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
In this passage Jesus speaks of two kinds of wrong praying: praying as a hypocrite, to be seen by others; and praying as a pagan, using repetitious prayer. Both of these kinds of prayer are wrong because the focus of prayer is not on God. If we pray as a hypocrite our intent is to get others to hear our prayers so that thy will be pleased with us and praise us. If we pray as pagans our intent is to get God to hear us by our many words of prayer. In both kinds of prayer the focus is not on God as it should be; the focus is on us.
But the correct way to pray is to take the focus off of yourself and to be attentive to God alone. So when you pray, go to a quiet place where no one will hear you except God. As you arrive at that secret place, you may want to read a passage from the Bible and ask God to speak to you. More than anything, focus on being in His presence and praise Him for who He is. When you begin to pray don’t be concerned with your words, because God hears your heart and He knows what you need even before you ask Him. Just pour out your heart to Him and speak to Him as you would to a trusted friend—because He is your friend and He loves to hear from you. He wants to meet all your needs and bless you with His everlasting love.