Devotions How Do I Pray?

How Do I Pray?

There are no 5 Easy Steps to get the answer you want. The Creator of the universe responds in brilliant strokes of vibrant colors and bedazzling patterns designed to reflect his glory and omnipotence. He is the God of the Impossible. It’s against this vivid and dynamic background that I would like you to consider your prayers and to recognize the way he has answered and answers them—in your favorite colors, tailor-made to help you understand that you are unique, his beloved child whom he created for the good purposes he has mapped out for your life (excerpt from How Do I Know God Hears My Prayers?)

As Christians, we are called to pray by the authority of the Old and New Testaments. By experience, each of us has discovered this painful, heartbreaking truth—we’ll fail without prayer and dependence on our Father and Jesus. Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Without Jesus, we cannot get through this life or accomplish anything for him.

So, how do we pray?

The answer is found in what we know as “The Lord’s Prayer,” found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. It is not the actual Lord’s Prayer since Jesus never needed to say things like “forgive us our sins” because he didn’t have any to forgive. Commentators refer to the prayer he taught us as The Disciples’ Prayer.

We could say that the real Lord’s Prayer, the one Jesus prayed, was recorded in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his arrest and was made up of three parts:

“Your will be done.”
“Your will be done.”
“Your will be done.”

We should also pray this way every time we take our requests to God and wait for his answers.

The Disciples’ Prayer

As followers of Christ, the basic outline of how Jesus taught us to pray is this:

Our Father in heaven…
We come to God the Father with complete trust and dependency, just as a small child approaches their father. We are encouraged to see God as “Abba” (the Aramaic word for “Papa” or “Daddy”). It is important to note that Jesus didn’t just say “My Father” because we are called to corporate worship and to be in church together as God’s family—worshipping him and thanking him for his generous gifts, forgiveness, rescues, and salvation through the death of his beloved Son on the cross.

Forgive us our debts…
With this sense of intimacy and total reliance, we come with confession (openness regarding our sins and failures with no attempt to hide or make excuses for them). We present our praise and thanks for who God is and what he has done for us.

I’m often asked, “How many times should I forgive someone?” The simple, quick answer is, “How many times do you want to be forgiven?” We’re human. We are anxious and ready to receive grace but not so quick to give it to someone else. Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35)? We can’t readily call ourselves Christ followers if we can’t readily forgive offenses against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
Finally, we present to God everything we want him to do. We can ask him anything we want to, anything at all. If he thinks what we ask for is good for us and according to his perfect will, he grants it to us (1 John 5:14). We can ask for health, healing, rescue, a mate, a career, or even a castle! So, let’s pray boldly. The worst that can happen is God can say no. If it’s a no, it means it’s not the best thing for us. How bad could that be? In his no, we find abundant and blessed life.

As we present our requests before our Maker, let us remember that we’re not coming to a vindictive, peevish employer but to the Creator of the universe, our heavenly Father, who loves us and has our best interests at heart.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

-Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

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