Prayer can be a very daunting task if you have not done it before or perhaps only pray in times of trouble. But prayer is simply talking with God like you would do with your friend, family or spouse.
E.M. Bounds once wrote that:
“Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.”
And that’s where Jesus calls us to – the ‘Secret Place’ [Matthew 6:6]. The place where God can pour into us as we pour out onto Him our worries, concerns; and even share with Him our joys!
In Matthew 6, we are encouraged us to talk with God as we would do with anyone else – the difference is God can handle it!! He doesn’t want us to put on an act – He just wants us to be ourselves and simply come to Him. The way He encourages us to pray reminds me of the requests children have to their parents – when they want something, they say what is on their minds and believe that they will receive it! And how much more does our Father in Heaven want to bless us with His gifts!
In Verse 7, Jesus says that “WHEN you pray…”, a reminder that prayer comes from a natural inbred desire within us.
There is no right or wrong method on how to pray, but if you ever find yourself stuck, then take heart as God gives us a template on how to pray in verses 9-13 of Matthew 6:
Our Father in Heaven,
may Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come soon.
May Your will be done on earth,
as it is in Heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.
Let’s try and break it down line by line:
– Our Father in Heaven
Note the “our” – we are all His children.
– may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon.
The prayer starts with giving Him honour.
– May Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Heaven is perfect; earth not yet, and so our prayer is that God would rain down blessings from Heaven so that Earth will one day reflect the perfection of Heaven.
– Give us today the food we need
The everyday needs of you [and others] so that none of us may be in lack.
– and forgive us our sins
Repentance for you and others so that we can continue living in right relationship with God.
– as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
We forgive so He can forgive us – echoing Mark 11:23.
– And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
God knows the enemy is on the prowl, but wants us to choose to pray to Him for help so that we do not fall into the traps that the enemy lays on our path.
Prayer only costs us our time but has a lifetime effect of changing our lives! It lifts our mood, magnifies Jesus rather than the problem and brings us a peace that makes no logical sense!
Through prayer, we are brought closer to God through the access Jesus has given each and every one of us. There are however some occasions where we can’t pray and that’s okay because God has sent the Holy Spirit to ‘pray on our behalf’ [Romans 8:26].
I want to leave with you Philippians 4:6-7, a favourite for so many Christians. I believe that this is one of the many reasons why God wants us to talk with Him.
Do not be anxious about ANYTHING,
but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends ALL understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.