Prayer is such a vital part of our Christian walk, or any religion actually, you would think it comes so naturally to the spirit man. The definition of prayer that I learnt from Religious Studies in my Primary School days was that it is communication with God, and it truly is. So, what could possibly be so difficult about that? Does one really need to be taught and guided on how to talk to God? Oddly enough though, it really is not as simple as it looks. Sometimes you find yourself wondering if there are things that you should say, or if there is a certain formula that will get God’s attention.
Jesus did give an instruction on how not to pray. Paraphrased, he said that prayer is not just about rumbling words to make it seem more spiritual or longer, (Matt 6 v7). It is not to be done out of pride or for show, the more private the better (Matt 6 v 6). Prayer should also not be from a place of selfish ambition (James 4 v 3). This shows that even with so many things we can communicate to God about, there is a wrong way of praying.
With this fact in mind, the disciples went to Jesus to ask him to teach them how to pray. This brought me a lot of relief to know that I can be taught how to pray, and who best to teach me how to talk to God than the Son of God Himself. Jesus then taught them the famous prayer commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. Of all the prayer hacks in the world, this is the most profound because it came from Jesus Himself when specifically asked on how to pray. It is a very short prayer and so simple in words it is easy for us to discard it and go for more “powerful” prayers, yet it holds so much depth on how we should communicate with God.
Our Father who art in Heaven (Matt 6 v13, Luke 11 v1)
Some Bible versions leave out the “who art in Heaven” part but I love the introduction of this prayer because it gives us the recipient and his dwelling place, pretty much His address. It also gives the person who is praying a position of a CHILD who is in communication with their father. Many times, I find people in prayer rooms talking to their problems, addressing the Devil, even their enemies. Sure, it is a way to attack the enemy in the spiritual realm and making your declarations, but Jesus showed us that prayer should be more of you talking to God more than anyone or anything else. A prayer should be addressed to God. I am yet to find someone in the Bible who addressed anyone else besides God in their prayers.
Hallowed be Your name
Although you are in a position of a Child, communicating with your FATHER, He is a God. A God who is worthy of honor, worship and praise., not just words of flattery. His name is to be regarded with great reverence and respect. Prayer is not to be taken lightly or in vain.
Your will be done
Sometimes we get lost in quest to make requests in prayer, we make it all about us. We believe that we can get anything and everything we want without regarding the sovereignty of God. We make God a genie. I love how this prayer line came before the request. It is to show God that my desires are subject to your will. Before I get to what I want, I want your will to be done on this earth, in my life as it is in Heaven. Jesus was teaching us to seek and regard the will of Good above everything. We might run left and right, give our lives but if it is not done according to the will of God it amounts to nothing, Jesus said that not all those who call on God will see the kingdom, only those who do the Will of God (Matt 7 v 21). In His lifetime Jesus delighted in doing only what God wanted him to do. Our prayer should also reflect our desire to know God’s will before we move, speak or act, even on something we think is spiritual.
More than anything we should desire to know the heart of God. That in itself is the prophecy many of us so desire, although we look for it from man. To prophesy is to speak the heart of God. Jesus already showed us that we can know it too in prayer.
Give us this day our daily bread
This is the part most of us are attached to and it really is important as well. To make our supplications known to God. To cast our burdens before Him for He cares for us (1 Peter 5 v7). Jesus encouraged us in Matthew 7 v 7 -11 to make our desires known to God for He is more than willing to grant them unto us. I love the song, WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS because it taught me that I should never go through any kind of want or pain without making it known to God. He will give me my daily bread. I shall not go hungry; all my needs shall be met by my Provider. This is the confidence that we have, that if we ask of anything according to his will, it shall be granted to us (1John 5 v 14).
Forgive us our trespasses.
This is a call to repentance. Our Christian walk is a process of purification and sanctification. We should never become too proud to turn a blind eye to our faults, too proud to not ask for forgiveness in our prayers and most importantly not repent. God is faithful enough to forgive us if we humbly confess our sins before Him (1 John 1 v 9). We should not be too self-righteous in our prayers like the Pharisee (from the parable) who brought before God all his good deeds forgetting that God sees all and He sees the heart. A prayer of repentance is better than a self-righteous prayer (Luke 18 v 9-14). The Lord’s prayer also teaches us to extend the same grace of forgiveness to others. For if we do not forgive others, we imply that forgiveness has no place in our lives. If that is so, how then can we get forgiveness from God.
Lead us not into temptation
Although we have been called to salvation, there are still somethings that draw us back to the life of sin that once ruled over us. Even Paul talked about this war between the flesh and the spirit (Gal 5 v17). We do desire to walk in the way of the Lord but in us is also an urge to do wrong. The Good news is we do not have to face this war alone. God is on our side to strengthen us. When we humbly ask for forgiveness for our sin, God will strengthen us not to sin again. Our prayer should be reflective of this desire in us to not to sin against God and asking for strength in times of temptation. Temptations is not only evident in reveling and pleasures but also present in our fears that will result in disobedience to the call of God. Jesus asked his disciples to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray against this temptation (Matt 26 v 41). Jesus Himself prayed for the strength to overcome the temptation of avoiding the cross and asked for God’s will to be done and not His. Temptation also comes with affliction as it draws you away from the presence of God, but in those times, we ask God to strengthen us (James 5 v 13)
Deliver us from evil
The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to rest and to trust in God’s ability to deliver us from evil. Sometimes we get so caught up in fighting our own battles, confronting devils and principalities we forget that it is God who is able to deliver us. Jesus had the authority over devils (the same power He gave to us), but in His prayers He would only address and give attention to God and his power to deliver Him. Jesus was acknowledging the source of His authority.
I believe that since the days of John the Baptist, the Kingdom of God suffered violence and the violent shall take it by force (Matt 11 v 12), but we are not to get distracted by fighting devils so much that we forget that it is actually God who will deliver us. He will do it through us, but it is HIM who is doing the deliverance. God told the Israelites to stand still, for the battle was His, He was to fight for them (Exodus 14 v14). When Jesus made the prayer for his disciples and all the believers to come in John 17 v 15, He addressed it to God to deliver us (His believers and disciples) from the Evil One. In His prayer, Jesus did not confront or address His desires to the Evil One. In the parable Jesus gave of prayer in Luke 18 v 1- 8, of a woman who asked the king to help her with her enemy, the persistent widow did not fight her enemy, she asked a higher authority, the king, to help her by fighting off her enemy. In that light, Jesus highlighted that God will also give justice to those who cry unto Him day and night. God is capable and willing to protect us, all we need to do is to ask Him in prayer.
I believe Jesus spent so many hours in prayer addressing God. He was communicating and communing with God. Seeking His will, aligning Himself to that will, strengthening Himself and worshipping God. I believe He did not spend his time addressing devils in prayer that is why he did not spend as much time casting them out as well. He was full of the power and authority of God; all He did was speak a word and it was done. May the Holy Spirit, the teacher given to us by Jesus, teach us how to pray.
To be continued…
I exalt you higher than every thought, every god and all desires. You are worth it Yahweh
3 months, 1 week
Well said Mrs. Vanessa Chidhumo, praise be to GodReply