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Prayer 101

Campers praying

Ever stumped on how to pray? I think we’ve all been there a time or two. Chief points us right to the One who knows best how to talk with God. Check it out.

Scripture

“This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 

Matthew 6:9-13

Reflect

How do you have a conversation with someone who is bigger, stronger, more powerful, more knowledgeable, more amazing than you are to the nth degree? Oh, did I mention you can’t see them, touch them or hear their audible voice? Sounds kind of impossible when I put it that way. Fortunately, God did not leave us without direction on this highly important matter. When His disciples asked Him, “Teach us to pray”, He said, “Do it like this.”

  1. Praise – “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”. When you are dealing with the ineffable (words cannot express) God it just seems logical to start by telling Him how amazing He is. But more importantly, it is what we were made for. Isa 43:7 tells us God created us for His glory. And when we praise Him for His greatness, it puts us in a place of humility as we approach the great ‘I Am’ and give Him the praise He is due. (see Isa 6:1-5)
  2. Submission – “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I tend to come to God first with a list of requests. I tend to think this life is about me, my desires, and my happiness – my will. It’s not. He is the one running the show. He created this world (myself included) with His purposes in mind. So I need to approach Him more as a servant eager to do His bidding, rather than a spoiled son who just wants what’s coming to him.
  3. Requests  “Give us today our daily bread.” On the heels of praise and submission our requests take their proper place.  Often our wants begin to look quite petty. We tend to ask for the things that really matter…like food on the table and health in our bodies – our daily bread. That new sports car doesn’t seem quite as important anymore.
  4. Confession – “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Confess our sins to our Father, for He is ready to forgive. But notice the caveat; forgiveness is not being withheld from another. Jesus tells us to be reconciled to each other before bringing anything to God. (Matt 5:23-24)
  5. Protection – “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” All too often we forget life is a battle zone with an enemy looking to devour us. This prayer keeps us alert and self-controlled as we daily enter the arena (1 Pet 5:8).  It is the putting on of the armor of God (Eph 6:13).

Prayer is not a formula. It’s a conversation. But there are ways to make that conversation better. No better advice to follow than Jesus’. I think He prayed once or twice (wink, wink). He might know something about it.

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