Prayer. To some it can be intimidating. To others it’s the best thing in the world. No matter how you feel about prayer, it is a necessary tool to have and use as a Christian. A lot of times, we make prayer harder than it should be.
Remembering that God wants a relationship with us, prayer should be nothing more than conversation with God. In Matthew 6, verses 9 through 13 (ESV), Jesus teaches us The Lord’s Prayer. This is what all prayers should be based on. And in this prayer, there are very specific things that we should take away to use in our own lives, outside of learning and reciting it. The scripture reads,
“Pray then like this: 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 also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.”
In this prayer that Jesus gives us, there are 6 parts of prayer that we should focus on when we pray. Three of them pertain to God and who He is to us in our lives and three pertain to our personal lives.
Before we step into the multiple layers of prayer, Jesus first acknowledges God as Father. And not just a father figure, but He establishes the knowledge of a father that operates in authority, warmth and intimacy in our relationship. It’s an instant invitation to God asking Him to meet with us and that His love and care is welcomed in this meeting.
The first layer is that God’s name would be set apart as Holy. This gives Him all glory and highest honor for who He is. This is why we give thanks unto God in our prayers. Because the things He’s done for us point back to who He is. We should always take time to acknowledge God for who He is and the things He’s done for us.
The second layer is that God will reign in our lives. That He will always be King in our hearts. And not only King in our hearts, but in everything we do. Specifically, living our lives for Him in love and obedience. (That why we call Him Lord, isn’t that cool?)
The third layer is for His will to be done in our lives. By establishing that God is Lord in our hearts, obviously we’d want what He wants for us. Whether good or bad in our eyes, we should pray His will be done as He sets it up in heaven. Ephesians 5:17 (ESV) says, “therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of The Lord is.” Knowing His will will keep us from unnecessary stress and worry.
The fourth layer focuses on our daily needs. That God will, every day, supply the things we need for that specific day. That as we work, eat, play, sleep, converse, He will provide us with the necessary tools for each of those things. Yes, even sleep. I dare you to pray for supernatural rest the next time you need it.
The fifth layer is forgiveness. Why forgiveness? Ephesians 4:23(ESV) says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” And further, Matthew 5:23-24(ESV) reads, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and THEN come and offer your gift.” (Emphasis added.)
The last and sixth layer of prayer focuses on help to stay in line with God. A prayer asking that we be spared from situations and things that could cause us to sin. Not a prayer that we don’t sin, but protection from the things that may cause us to sin. James 1:14-15 tells us, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Our prayer should be for help to keep the “enticing desires” at bay in our weakest moments.
If we take the time to look at The Lord’s Prayer and try to make it our own, we’ll begin to see a growth in how we pray. We’ll begin to see that it isn’t as hard as some make it seem. As we pray, we should always look to make our prayer as personal as possible in our individual prayer times and a fit for the situation in corporate prayer time. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or hard. Remember, when we address God as father, we are looking to a father that is inviting us into His warmth, authority and intimacy. My prayer is that we begin to look at God in this manner and that our prayer lives continue to grow as we open ourselves and our hearts to Him in prayer.
Never forget, He’s our Father. His name is Holy. He is King. His will should be done in our lives. Pray for your daily needs. Ask for forgiveness. And pray for safety from the “enticing desires”. But ALWAYS use YOUR OWN words in place of the guideline of The Lord’s Prayer. He loves you. He created you. He knows what you mean when you feel you aren’t clear enough in your words. He enjoys seeing you grow in relationship with Him!
Lastly, here’s a little reminder to “pray without ceasing” James 5:17 (ESV).
Be blessed friends!