Prayer is communication with God. If we call ourselves as disciples of Christ then we should also have a daily communication with God. In a family, if a child has less/no communication with the parents, then it is not a healthy sign. They do not know each other as they ought to. There will be lot of misunderstandings and assumptions as a result, there will be lack of unity and the family will be disintegrated. Similarly, if we do not have a healthy communication with God, then we cannot claim to know God. So prayer is talking to God – expressing our desires and also to know His will, plan and purpose in our life. If we are using prayer as a means only to get our wish list from God, then it’s a selfish act.
The word of God is the food by which prayer is nourished and made strong.E. M. Bounds
A true disciple or a follower of Christ will long to spend time in prayer for he/she knows that it is impossible to live without talking to God. Two lovers cannot live without talking with each other. We read in the scriptures that Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. This is well-known across the world and the most neglected one when it comes to practicing what Jesus said in the prayer. In Matthew 6:9 Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore pray: (This is a model prayer)
- Our Father in heaven – It means you shall address your prayer to God, the Father and not to anyone else. According to the Word of God, we do not pray to Mary the mother of Jesus or the saints who are dead. In John Chpt.17 we read about Jesus praying to the Father. He never prayed to/through anyone else. He always prayed directly to the Father. In John 14:13 and 15:16 Jesus has promised us that He will answer our prayers if we ask the Father in Jesus name.
- Hallowed be Your name – Secondly, we express the fact with realization that God alone is holy and holy be His name in our life. Jesus wants His disciples to understand that God’s priority in our life is to reflect His holiness in and through our lives. Ephesians 1:4 reminds us that God has chosen us before the foundations of the world to be holy and blameless. That should be our goal.
- Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven – For a moment just imagine how heaven would be. The holy God seated on the throne, His glory fills the heaven, whatever He wills is done in heaven, the heavenly hosts (the angels) in perfect submission to Him – a perfect place to live in and enjoy His peace, joy and happiness. While we pray, Jesus wants us to self introspect if we are in total submission to the Almighty God, if we are doing our own desires or do we wait upon knowing His will in our lives. Do we really allow His kingdom i.e. His Kingship in our lives? His rule, His will and His holiness – is it in our lives as is it in heaven.
- Give us this day our daily bread – This is the only mention in the Lord’s prayer about our physical need. All the rest of the things in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples is to focus on spiritual needs. How do we pray? Usually, in our prayer we focus more on our physical and material needs and seldom do we remember about His kingdom, His holiness, etc. Further in Mathew 6:25-34, Jesus commanded us not to worry about our life, clothing, what you will eat or what you will drink, etc. Does that mean that we do not need all these. Yes we definitely need all these but don’t let that be your prime agenda of prayer. Jesus said, “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” That is God’s responsibility. Our responsibility is to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to our lives. It doesn’t come naturally, but we need to train ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. He further said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” So let us not be caught up and worry so much in expressing in detail about our physical and material needs in our prayers.
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.John Bunyan
5. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors – In this model prayer that Jesus taught us, the ownership lies on us to forgive others first before we ask God to forgive us. In other words, we do not have the right to ask God to forgive us when we sin, if we do not forgive others when they sin against us. Its an important principle Jesus has taught us to follow. Let us not assume that our sins are forgiven. If we do not forgive others and make peace, then God doesn’t fulfill our prayer of forgiveness. In Mathew 5:23,24 Jesus commands us not just to forgive those who have done wrong to us, but also to stop worshiping, praying or whatever you are doing for the Lord and first go and reconcile. If we do not follow this principle, then lets not live in a fantasy world of assumption that God has accepted our worship or heard our prayer
6. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one – We often expect God to deliver us from the evil one and to protect us from temptations; but we do not spend time in prayer and we have no regrets about it. Jesus said in Mathew 26:41, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation..” So as much as it is God’s job to deliver us from the evil one, it is our responsibility to spend time with the Lord daily in prayer. The secret for overcoming temptation is to pray; because when you pray, you come closer to God and you grow stronger in relation with Him. Spending time with God in prayer is a sign of a strong relationship with God. Failure to pray often leads to failure in the hour of temptation.
7. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen – As we end our prayer, we acknowledge the fact that no matter how difficult our situations are, God is still in control of everything. Since we have surrendered our lives to Christ, we also allow His kingship and rule over us in every area of our life.
Let us renew our commitment and relationship with God by spending time with Him in prayer so that we don’t fall into temptation. We don’t need to live a defeated Christian life. Being a true disciple of God is costly. Let us set apart time and give God the first place in our life. Let nothing take away your time of prayer with God for that is one of the mark of a true disciple of Christ.
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