For some, spending thirty minutes in prayer and the Bible sounds like a lot! For others who have already developed a prayer life it is not. However, short or long isn’t what’s important, consistency is.
I want to share with you one of the ways I have been able to have a consistent prayer and Word life for many years.
I will talk about being in the Bible tomorrow; today let’s talk about prayer.
How have I stayed consistent in prayer for almost forty years? I use the Lord’s Prayer.
One day Jesus’ first followers actually asked Him how to pray. Isn’t that fantastic? More specifically, they asked Him to teach them how to pray the way He prayed. They clearly noticed a difference in the way He prayed, and probably the results He was getting!
Not only should we be thankful that they asked that question, and that Jesus answered it, but also that it was recorded for us!
How did Jesus answer their question? Let’s read it.
“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
(Matthew adds) “For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen.”
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard this prayer before. But maybe you were taught to use it the way I was, which is exactly how Jesus said not to use it – to repeat it over and over again.
In Matthew’s account Jesus literally said,
“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore, do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray…”
And then He gave them what we call, “The Lord’s Prayer”.
So, what was Jesus’ intent in giving us this prayer? It is an outline to help expand your prayers.
He listed the seven basic needs of every person, which we are to pray over.
What are they? I’ve made them all start with the letter, “P” to make it memorable.
“Our Father”. The most basic need of every child is that they hvae a healthy relationship with their father. This is the entire reason Jesus came to earth, to make a way for us to get back to the Father.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Thank you, Jesus.
I begin each day by simply saying, “Father”. It is a great way to begin your prayer.
“Holy is Your name.” Taking a few minutes to worship God for Who He is, as revealed through His names, elevates your faith, strengthens your soul, and gives you tremendous confidence for the rest of the prayer.
“Your kingdom come…” Putting God’s kingdom first is key. We are to be about the Father’s business. This is when you pray for your family, friends, church, workplace, school, etc.…
“Give us this day…” Do you want what only your hand can provide, or what God’s hand can provide? This is when you ask. And don’t be afraid of the big ask. Small prayers insult a big God.
“You have not because you ask not…” James 4:2.
“Forgive us our debts…” Forgiving everyone is crucial to have a healthy heart. You cannot have a robust spiritual life while harboring unforgiveness. It also opens the door to the enemy. This prayer is a daily prayer, and it is to be prayed at the beginning of each day. (We know that because you don’t pray for daily bread at the end of the day). It is a prayer committing to forgiving those who will offend you that day. It is a proactive prayer because you will be sinned against.
“Lead us not…” This passage confused me for years, as maybe it has you. Why would God lead us into temptation, especially when James says that God would not lead anyone into temptation? (James 1:13). I believe a much better translation would be, “Lead us away from temptation…” Doesn’t that make more sense? And, of course, keep Satan at bay, Lord!
“For yours is the kingdom…” This reminds us that everything He does in our lives is from Him, and ultimately for His glory. This keeps us humble.
I hope this helps.
THINK ABOUT IT
- Do you struggle knowing how and what to pray each day? Try using the Lord’s Prayer and see how quickly fifteen minutes go by.
- What things can you pray about in the Priority part of the prayer? Begin making a prayer list of people you will commit to pray for every day.
- Will you pray for me every day?
“Also pray for me that when I speak, God will give me words so that I can tell the secret of the Good News without fear.” Ephesians 6:19 NCV