As shared in my previous blog post, when you want to grow in your relationship with God, you must spend time in prayer. Prayer is spontaneous, and it is personal. Often times, people believe that it is just talking to God, thanking Him or saying our requests.
But actually, the Bible is clear when it said in Matthew 6:9, “In this manner, therefore, pray…” (NKJV). Does this mean that we ought not to say anything personal when we pray and just recite the Lord’s Prayer? Well, nothing is wrong reciting the Lord’s Prayer though. But what I have come to know is that it (The Lord’s Prayer) is not actually the prayer, but it is a biblical pattern when praying.
The word manner is defined as a mode of procedure or way of acting (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Therefore, when Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to the disciples, he implies a deeper meaning in every word.
Matthew 6:9-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
As I read through David Sumrall’s New Life Course book, here are some insights I have gained about “How To Pray”.
1.Address our prayer to the Father
In verse 1 it says, “Our Father in heaven..”. What does this mean? It means we only have to address our prayer to God our Father in heaven and no one else. And basically, it means a relationship.
Have you ever talked to someone whom you don’t know? Or maybe someone who is powerful but you only knew him by his title (e.g President, Mayor, Boss, Sir, etc.) and say “Dear Mayor, you are so great. Can you please help us with this and that?”. What’s the percentage of him listening to you? Well, how about just talking to your dad, and say “Hey Dad. Thanks for fetching me up today”, or “Dad, can you please buy me this and that?”. Most likely talking to your dad has the 100% response rate – it can either be yes, wait or no. Regardless, one thing I’m sure of is that he answers.
Most of the time, we see God as our Creator, most powerful, able to do all things, etc. And so, when we pray we think that he would answer our prayers because He is able to do it. But let me tell you this, what God really wants from us is to see Him as our Father. And the difference is that when we see Him as a Father, we are confident that He will only give what is best for us and not just the things we are asking from Him. A father, no matter how his child desires something, if he sees it won’t do good to his child, he will not allow it. Also, a child’s “thank you” brings more joy to a father than a king with a loyal follower.
2. Worship Him
The term Hallowed means revered or a deep act of worship (Meriam-Webster Dictionary). This means that when we pray, we must acknowledge God for who He is, what He has done and what He is going to do. Sometimes, we only praise God when something good happens. But actually, as patterned in the Lord’s prayer, before we ask God for anything, we actually must have to thank Him.
They say the best worship comes out from deep distress or anguish. Therefore, never let worship be missed out in your prayers even during these times.
3. Pray for God’s will
Verse 10 is clear when it said “Your kingdom come. Your will be done..”. Therefore, before diving into our list of prayer requests, it is essential to really pray for God’s will. When we pray for God’s will, God works in a way wherein His purpose becomes our desire. It is actually molding our desires to be fit into his Kingdom. We must understand what the Bible says about God’s will in Jeremiah 29:11:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)
People commonly see the word prosper in this wonderful promise. But if you look closely, the phrase goes like “prosper you and not to harm you”. Therefore, God will only give the prosperity that would never harm you. We often pray for success and prosperity and think that it would make us happy. But actually, God has better plans for us and He then gives us His ‘no’. However, we must learn to be more grateful for that because God’s series of No’s will lead us to a greater Yes. And that is far more beautiful and exciting.
4. Say Your Prayer Requests
Verses 11-13 implies three important things we should always be praying for:
a. Daily Needs
The term daily bread in Jesus’ time refers to the provision being given to soldiers the night before they needed it. Meaning, we pray for God’s provision always in advance and believe that God meets them before we need it. Human tendency is, when we are abundant with something, we no longer pray for it. We only pray for it when our hands and pockets are empty. And then, we question God about not sustaining us, etc. All the while, what we really lack is asking for God’s provision in advance. Just to be clear, these “needs” refer to the provisions we need in order to live and not our wants.
b. Daily Forgiveness
As we are not perfect day by day, what we really need to include in our prayers is forgiveness. Jesus has washed away our sins, yes. But as long as we are still in the world, we are not exempted to committing mistakes. And what if today is your last and you haven’t said sorry to God and to the people you have wronged?
We know that everyone dies and no one knows the time. I know it and I am really aware of it. But honestly, it only struck me hard when one of my closest Tito/uncle died. He just passed away like a wind. Death is inevitable and unexpected. Therefore, it is important to treat every day like it is your final day – who knows if you will still be alive tomorrow. It might sound scary, but actually death has no more power over us when Jesus Christ said that “It is done.” What we should act upon is to release forgiveness everyday as well as to ask for God’s forgiveness daily. Let us not die with regrets.
And one important thing is, if we won’t recognize our mistakes and won’t ask for daily forgiveness, that sin will only hinder us in our relationship with God. And that sin will grow hard everyday until we no longer realized that we are moving away from God.
c. God’s Help
Our common mistake would be asking for God’s help when we are tempted. Why? Seeking help from God against temptation is done in advance and not late. Just as a soldier gets ready for battle, he never arms himself with gears in the battleground but he prepares for it before he faces the enemy. Verse 13 says “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one”. One thing is for sure, God will never allow us in a situation where we will lose to temptation. However, what we lack is asking the advance help from God. We only ask for his help when sin is already knocking on the door and when we are ready to open it, or when temptation is already on our side whispering to our ears. And then we say, “Oh God, I was tempted. Sorry, you should have helped me sooner.” How can God help us when we’ve asked for his help the time that we’ve already opened the door for sin or when we’ve already inclined our ears to temptation? We are in a battle everyday. Therefore, we must be prepared. We need to ask for God’s help every time. We can’t do it alone without God.
I have actually shared these points and insights with our church the previous Sunday. Hope this inspires you too. Thank you for reading my post. Feel free to leave inspirational thoughts!