How To Pray
Sometimes we can overcomplicate things, can’t we? We can talk circles around a subject. We can talk, talk, talk, instead of simply doing it. We can plead ignorance, when the answer is as close as our fingertips. One such thing that I believe we do all of the above to is the subject of prayer. Tens of Millions of books have been written on prayer (if you do a google search!). What is the best technique? What is the best physical posture? What words or formulas are there? “It’s too complicated”, we say.
If we are discontent enough with the status quo of our circumstances and the fruit of our life the good news is that we have answer to our woes! Jesus taught his disciples many things about prayer! The rest of the New Testament writers also give us many great words to imitate until we can find our own!
Last Sunday we began a 6 week sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer. We are examining the six phrases that make up that prayer in order to understand the things Jesus taught his disciples to pray about. Taken in its entirety I would say that within the words of that prayer you can find everything that Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God.
It begins with “Our Father”. Jesus was teaching his disciples that they can relate to Almighty God with the intimacy of a parent/child relationship. The Arabic term “Abba” (Father) is best expressed by the intimate term DADDY! We can approach God with the confidence of a child who knows they are deeply loved. How do you approach God in prayer? In what posture? Think about it the next time you pray. Is it with timidity? Is it with confidence? Is it with unbelief? Is it with belief? Our posture before God can have a major impact on prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer continues with “Hallowed be Thy Name”. Our name is who we are. When our name is spoken, our character and all that we are comes to the mind of those who know us. And so when we “hallow” God’s name, we are declaring that God is holy, perfect, and set apart from all that He has created. When we begin our prayer to “hallow” the Father’s name, we are pausing to remember who He is. And as we recall to mind the great works and the great character of our God, the faith within us rises! And we grow in confidence as we continue into our prayer.
Somebody came up to me after church and asked if “hallowed be thy name” could also be our expression of desire that God’s name would be exalted through our lives (through our actions and words). To that I say, absolutely!
The beauty of the Lord’s Prayer is that I don’t believe Jesus meant us to pray only those words. He was teaching his disciples a model prayer, or the various categories to pray that encompass the heart of the Kingdom! And so the depth and layers in each phrase that we can pray are grand! If we take the time to slow down, think, listen, and follow our hearts as the Spirit prompts, our prayer life will grow in dimension and power! The key to a more fruitful existence and more joy is prayer.