I thought I would switch gears a bit and discuss something many of us fall short of: Prayer. As you look through the Bible, there are many prayers. Some are short, some are long. All are heart-felt and sincere (except for one that I can remember where the Pharisee is praying that he is not like the sinner before him who is praying with sincerity…that is a good lesson for another time). If you have never watched the movie, The War Room,” you should. Powerful movie. Be sure to get the DVD and watch the bonus features. They provide a lot of insight and lessons from the movie. One thing I remember from one of these is that every church need to be ‘a praying church,’ not just a church that prays. Prayer should be a center activity in our lives and in our churches. Paul says, “pray without ceasing.” Whatever you are going through, good or bad, pray about it. If someone around you needs prayer, be an intercessor for that person. Seek out who needs prayer and pray for them.
So, what is prayer and how do we pray? I think there are many ways to pray. Sometimes it is just a short sentence praying for someone or something going on. Other times it is thanking God for all His goodness and remembering who He is. It may be confessing a sin or struggle you may have or asking for healing or comforting for yourself or someone you know. It is simply talking with God. What do you think? Do you have any experience in your prayer life you would like to share? Prayers answered? Frustrations? Questions? Please comment.
I think a good way to start this is with “The Lord’s Prayer” as many call it, or I think more appropriately it is called, “The Model Prayer.” I think John 17 should be considered “The Lord’s Prayer.” Anyways, Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. It is not to be a recitation (although I do not think there is anything wrong with reciting it as long as that is not your only prayer), but an example to follow.
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. 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. 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:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
First, Jesus tells us that our prayer is personal. It is between us and God. It is not a show, but it is a time to get quiet and have a conversation with Him. Find a place where you can be without distractions to focus on God and to hear Him.
Then, He gives a model of how to pray. He says pray in this manner. The first thing He talks about is acknowledging who God is. Remembering how great a God He is and He deserves all of our praise. Recognize all the things He has done, all the promises He has made and that He always keeps His promises. He is control. He created all things. He is sovereign.
Next we need to acknowledge that it is about Him, not us. He knows what is best, so we should pray for His will, not our own. Our will may not align with His or He may have a better plan.
Now that our attitude is in the right place, we ask Him for our needs. His provision. His mercy. Healing. Strength. Peace. Whatever it may be. We should pray in faith. He can do it.
Confess our sins and and remember that Christ died for all our sins that we may be forgiven. Ask God to give us strength in our weaknesses and to overcome our spiritual battles. He will fight for us. As we are forgiven, let us forgive.
Again, remember that He is in charge. He can do all these things. He loves us and is always there for us. To Him be the glory. Amen.