Pray Like This

How do you pray?

Do you set aside intentional time, sit with a list of prayer concerns, and go straight into intercession? Do you pray spontaneously throughout the day as random needs present themselves? Do you only pray on Sundays when the pastor leads you? Do you say grace at meals?

Prayer is such a personal and individual thing. At its heart, prayer is simply our opportunity to speak with our loving parent who is always ready and able to have any conversation we desire. I know God has heard my most complex and my silliest, simplest prayers, and I am so grateful for his love and attention … especially when I am running up a big hill and pray, “Oh, Lord, just get me up this hill. Amen.” The fact that I am sitting in a chair writing this morning is evidence that God has gotten me up every big hill that I have ever encountered in my life. Thanks be to God!

When Jesus instructed his disciples how to pray in a passage that we refer to as “the Lord’s Prayer,” he was offering a basic outline for how we might fashion our prayers. There is no right or wrong way to pray. Scripture assures us that God even hears our prayers that are expressed in “sighs and groans.”

26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. (Romans 8: 26)

So let us take a moment to unpack Jesus’ prescription for prayer:

Matthew 6 (Common English Bible)

Pray like this:

Our Father who is in heaven,

uphold the holiness of your name.

Point 1: acknowledge God’s holiness.

10 Bring in your kingdom

so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.

Point 2: Ask for God’s will to be done in your situation.

1Give us the bread we need for today.

Point 3: Ask for what you need.

12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,

just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.

Point 4: Ask for forgiveness but be ready to offer that same forgiveness to the people around you who have hurt you. Yep, that’s what it means.

13 And don’t lead us into temptation,

but rescue us from the evil one.

Point 5: Petition God for his protection against all manner of evil that comes at you in the form of temptation.

Jesus offers this short outline as a place to start when we sit down to talk to our Father. It is important enough to be included in every protestant denomination’s order of worship and worship liturgies, including weddings and funerals. But do you know what is even more important than reciting the Lord’s Prayer? Just talking to God.

Take some time today to have a conversation with your Abba today. Use words if necessary.

Morning Chat by Michelle Robertson

The Quintessentials

Raise your hand if you are a WordNerd. I am. One of my favorite words is “quintessential.” The dictionary defines this word as “perfectly typical or representative of a particular kind of person or thing.” For example, the quintessential dressy party attire for women is the LBD (little black dress). The quintessential fruit on a hot day is watermelon. Examples of ‘quintessential Americana’ include baseball and apple pie. And taxes. Don’t forget taxes.

Today we will look at a quintessential prayer, which of course is the “Lord’s Prayer”:

Matthew 6 (Common English Bible)

Pray like this:

Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. 10 Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven. 11 Give us the bread we need for today. 12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. 13 And don’t lead us into temptation,but rescue us from the evil one.

Jesus was teaching his disciples how to pray in anticipation of the time when he would leave the earth. He wanted them to know how to talk to God in his absence. Jesus begins with “pray like this,” so let’s break this beautiful quintessential prayer down.

  1. Pray to God, and God alone.
  2. Remind yourself of the power and holiness of God’s name.
  3. Ask for God’s kingdom to come: this will remind you of where your citizenship truly lies.
  4. Ask God to show you HIS will for your life, setting aside your own.
  5. Ask for what you need to sustain you for the day. Then ask again tomorrow.
  6. Ask for forgiveness.
  7. Offer forgiveness to those who have wronged you.
  8. Seek God’s help in resisting evil of every manner.

This succinct outline serves as a way to frame our every prayer, not just the “Lord’s Prayer.” If we follow this in our daily conversations with God, we will be set to receive all the daily blessings that God has to give us.

Probably one of the most important aspects of this prayer is the word “daily.” It is a reminder to us to seek God in the good times, the bad times, the boring times, and the lonely times. With prayer as our way of communicating with God, we can be assured that God is present in our every moment, mood, and need. Day after day, every day. Thanks be to God!

So when you pray, pray like that.

“For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. AMEN!”

Flowing Water by Bruce Winterstine