Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Praying: Jesus Style

The purpose of prayer has become so distorted. Too many times have I heard people go to the Lord with a shopping list of "blessings," expecting God to give them all they desire. God is not a genie in a bottle, and to come at Him selfishly is an effective way to "grieve the Spirit" (Ephesians 4:30). But, what is the purpose of prayer? If we're not supposed to ask the Lord to bless us with boundless riches and a long life, then what's the point? To answer that question, we can turn to the most famous prayer of all: The Lord's Prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13: "Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

It's by examining this prayer that we can determine the correct way of praying. The disciples came to Jesus and literally said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray..." (Luke 11). Jesus then responded with this prayer. Since Jesus Christ was God, one-third of the Holy Trinity, then there is nobody more qualified to teach a person how to pray.

First, Jesus started out by giving adoration to God:

"Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name."

Whatever we do, we should do for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). That also applies to prayer. Beginning our prayers with a statement of adoration and awe serves as a way to remind us of just how amazing God is; it serves as a way to humble us. For "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Giving proper acknowledgment to the Lord first, allows us to realize our place and will, thus, affect the rest of our prayer by preventing us from asking for selfish desires to fuel our own pride.

Second, Jesus expresses His desire for the will of God to be fulfilled, not His own:

"thy kingdom come; thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven."

One of the most important things that any Christian can learn is that God's will is "good, acceptable, and perfect" (Romans 12:2). Why then would we want to ask for our will, which is capable of being deluded and affected by sin, to supersede the will of God? Referring to the end times, Jesus says "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive" (Matthew 24:22). God exists outside of time, and as a result, He knows, what we call, the future. With that kind of knowledge, He alone is able to put into motion the exact circumstances that need to happen to ensure the progress of the advancement of the Kingdom.

Next, Jesus asks the Father for necessities:

"Give us this day our daily bread."

Jesus, as you can tell, then encouraged the disciples to ask the Lord for things that they needed. Jesus was very quaint in his request, only asking that God give Him His daily bread, not a fancy camel to ride around on or any of the latest, expensive robes to wear. He asked only that God provide Him with the basic necessities needed to continue His work. This plea was one that was shaped by Jesus' previous two notions. Personally, after giving God the adoration He deserves and then realizing and reiterating my understanding of His perfect will, I would feel ashamed to ask for anything more than the air that I breathe.

Then, Jesus instructs the disciples to seek forgiveness for their sins:

"And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us."

This portion is so very crucial to an effective prayer. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Because of this, any lingering sin that hasn't been confessed is still causing that separation. When we are separated from God, our prayers are disrupted (Isaiah 59:2; Micah 3:4; Isaiah 1:15; Psalm 66:1). Of course, Jesus was sinless and perfect, so He had no sins to confess, but the same cannot be said for us.

The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer:

“And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil

This is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil. God's strength and power far surpasses that of our own (2 Samuel 22:33; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Job 36:22; Matthew 24:30; honestly, I could go on and on...). As soon as we start to try and fight sin on our own, we're saying that we are more powerful than God, that our own strength is sufficient. We become prideful, and what does God do to the proud?

Although the Lord's prayer is perfect and useful to memorize, it shouldn't be the only prayer we pray. It should, instead, act as an outline of the kinds of prayers we should pray. No matter what, we should pray with sincere and genuine faith (Mark 9:23) and we should not let our prayers "fuel our own desires for pleasure" (James 4:3).

For those of you who may have a hard time trying to discern the Lord's will or just don't know what to pray for, turn and place your faith in the Holy Spirit that resides in you:

"In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit's mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:27)

Father God, I come before you in complete awe and amazement of Your name, power, grace, and mercy. You, the same God who's power is great enough to allow You to speak creation itself into existence, are the same God who is hearing my prayer now. God, with that same power, I ask that You speak Your will over this world and also my life. I ask that You graciously equip me with everything needed so that I may walk the path You have set before me. Father, I fall on my knees and beg for forgiveness, for I know how broken I am, but I also rest assured in the fact that through Jesus Christ, I am a new creation and I am a saint. In the same way that You are able to forgive me, I ask that you impart such ability to me, so that I may make my attitude that of Christ and forgive those who have sinned against me. As I continue throughout the day, Lord, protect me with Your divine discernment and mold my heart to that of Your liking, so that I may not be tempted to sin against You. But above everything that I have prayed, God, I ask that You glorify Yourself through my life by whatever means are necessary, for this is Your Kingdom that I have the undeserved privilege of being a part of. All of this I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Article Written by: Rebelutionary Kris Sinclair


  1. That was really helpful thank you!

  2. I'm glad to hear that it helped you!! Praise God!