Friday, February 17, 2017

Pray Like This

Chuckle: You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
"Prayer takes the mind out of the narrowness of self-interest, and enables us to see the world in the mirror of the Holy." --Abraham Joshua Heschel

Jesus said, "Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Give us our food for today, and forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And don't let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matthew 6:9-13 NLT).
As Christians, we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and are now children of God -- members of His household (Eph. 2:19 NIV). Our relationship with God allows us to talk with Him as a child talks to his earthly father. It should be a two-way conversation -- we speak to God and God speaks to us. God wants to hear us pray to Him with confidence.
This prayer from the lips of Jesus is often called the Lord's Prayer. But I think it more accurate to call it the Model Prayer. Jesus was not praying to His Father, but providing an example for His followers as a pattern for their prayers. Let's look carefully at the content of this prayer in context and order of importance.
1. Pray to God only -- "Our Father." A good way to evaluate our prayer to see if we are really praying for God's ears is to compare what we say to God in private/secret to what we say when others are listening. In verses 5-6, Jesus says, "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on street corners to be seen (heard) of men. . . go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father. . ."
2. Pray boldly in the Name of Jesus. We should first honor God the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, before we address our needs and requests. Since we have access to the Father only through the name of Jesus, it's appropriate that we begin our prayer by acknowledging this truth. Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6b). Many of us close our prayers with "in the name of Jesus." But if we open our prayer in the name of Jesus, I think we will be more likely to honor Him in the remainder of our prayer.
3. Pray for the advancement of God's kingdom work here on earth. The work of the kingdom should be more important to us than our own needs and wants. Our emphasis should be on God's interests ahead of our own.
4. Pray for our daily physical needs. Again, our first priority should be to praise and honor God and to pray for the advancement of His kingdom. As we spend more time praising God, we will spend less time on our more selfish physical needs, and we will be more likely to pray in God's will, not ours.
5. Finally, pray for God to meet our spiritual needs: (1) forgive our sins as we forgive others; (2) strengthen us to resist temptations from Satan, etc.
Summary, In the name of Jesus, we should first praise and honor God, then pray for (1) His kingdom's work in our world; (2) our daily needs; (3) forgiveness of our sins as we forgive others; and (4) help in our daily spiritual struggles. Our intimate conversation with God helps us know Him more fully.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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