Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Praying the Lord's Prayer

I have always been a prayer, one of my requests to God has always been "make me a prayer warrior". I love praying but don't always feel I "say" or "pray" with the best choice of words. Now having said that, I also know, God doesn't care the way you say things, He just wants you to come. This was just a desire I have. I picked up a book Lord Teach Me To Pray in 28 Days by Kay Arthur. Now when I got this book I kept telling myself, (and so did others), I was crazy that a book, (other than the Bible),can't teach you to pray and that is true, however, I will say it's a good study book and it did teach me some things I hadn't thought of. Did it teach me to pray? No, it did however help me to enhance my prayers, it broadened my horizons so to speak. Now having said all that, I would like to share my condensed version of some of what I learned while studying and I hope this helps you as much as it did me.
The main thing I learned is our prayers are more effective when we pray God's will. The only way to truly pray God's way is by studying His word. When you know God and know His word, you know what things you should pray for. Jesus says in John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
We know from studying God's word that sickness does not come from God, therefore, if we pray for healing, we are praying God's word.
Jesus gave us an outline for prayer in Matthew 6:6-13. We are not to pray this prayer repititously, it is an outline. He said, "pray in this manner". Now, let's break it down:
Our Father which art in Heaven - Acknowledge He is God, the Father, the One and Only true God.
Hallowed be Thy name - All praise, honor and glory go to God. Hallowing His name and giving Him reverence at the beginning of our prayer brings us immediately into His presence.
Thy Kingdom Come - this is not only His literal/physical kingdom, but we are also inviting Him to establish His Kingdom in our heart. This is where the very beginning of God's Kingdom is. We are also to pray that His literal Kingdom come.
Thy will be done - (this is sometimes the hard part). NOT our will but God's will. If we pray His will be done over our own, we can be assured that what He has for us is so much more and so much better than we could hope for-even if His will doesn't line up with something we are wanting. Remember He knows what you need even before you do. (Matthew 6:8)
in earth as it is in Heaven -
whatever the Lord God establishes on earth is also established in Heaven with Him
give us this day our daily bread - many think this is asking for food and it is - spiritual food. John 6:33-34
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. Again God knows what we have need of, He has already promised us in His word that He would provide our needs, we need not worry about physical bread we do need spiritual feeding every day.
and forgive us our debts - Literally asking god to forgive our sins daily. We were born in sin, therefore, we must ask forgiveness daily for those things we know we did as well as anything we might have done that isn't known to us immediately.
as we forgive our debtors - It is every bit as important for us to forgive those who have wronged us as it is for God to forgive us. Holding back forgiveness puts us in a position of trying to play God! Holding back forgiveness allows bitterness to settle in our hearts. It hurts us. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 6:37-38
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: and Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. This must be very important for Jesus to mention it so often and what does He finally say about forgiving others, remember what He told Peter in Matthew 6:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Wow, I would say it is important.
Lead us not into temptation - This one is a bit tricky, God hates sin, He will NOT lead you into temptation but let's think of it this way: If the Lord abides in us, where we go, He goes. He goes before us in ALL things. He is not leading us there, and will not lead us there, but we may attempt to take Him with us! He gives us free will and God gives us clear instruction in His word. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
but deliver us from evil - God gives us a way out and protection before the problem ever arises. Praying in this manner helps us to make the right choice, God will deliver us, IF we ask. . God's word makes provision for this also. He gives us the whole armor listed in Ephesians 6:11-17 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Prayer my friends, that is our armor and faith in an unchanging God.
for thine art the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever - Ending our prayers the same way we began - praising and worshipping God. Acknowledging again that it is through His Kingdom, His power and His glory that we are His children. Through Him ALL things are possible.
Amen - true
Because Jesus said to pray in this manner, does that mean that is all we can pray? Of course not, the gospels, actually the entire Bible is full of prayers and Jesus words on what to pray for and how to pray.
Our prayers are our communication with God, they are a reflection of our personal relationship with Him, remember what He said in John 15:7 and again in 1 John 5:13-14 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
A word of caution - something my mom always taught me - be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. Pray for God's perfect will, not His permissible will. The difference is "God". In His perfect will, all the pieces fit together, in His permissible will it will be struggle, hardship, possibly heartbreak because He has lifted His hand and let you have what you want, even if it's not the best for you. Therefore you will suffer any consequences that occur. Ask Him His will on everything FIRST. Seek your answers in His word, ask Him to show you. Does it line up with His will? He will never let you down. His word says to cast ALL your cares upon Him. Nothing is to big or small for God, He wants you to come to Him.