Abiding Treasure- How Should We Pray by Bryan Craig
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:7-15 ESV
If Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, shouldn’t I apply this to my prayer life, as well? First, He says it’s not about how many words we say or how eloquent or holy we sound. It’s also not about listing out our requests, because He already know what we need.
He says our prayers should include these elements:
“Father”- Jesus tells us to call God Father. I think we need reminded all the time that we have been adopted and God is not unapproachable, but He is our Daddy.
“Hallowed be Your Name”- hallowed means holy, consecrated, revered, honored. We praise God our Father above all. Think of the many names of God He gives Himself in Scripture like “Jehovah Shalom” which means Peace, “Jehovah- Raah” which means Caring Shepherd, “Jehovah Jireh” which means Provider, “Jehovah Rophe” which means The Lord Heals or “Jehovah Nissi”, which means My Banner. He is worthy to be praised.
“Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”- this is a daily struggle, but we must constantly yield our will to His will. If we ask Him, He will bring His heavenly perspective into our earthly situations.
“Give us this day our daily bread”- He is telling us it’s okay to ask for what we need today. I believe this applies to earthly needs like food, shelter, clothing. But it is a reminder that we need Jesus, Who is the Bread of Life. We also need His Word, which is like fresh Manna every day, if we will open our hearts to it.
"Forgive us our debts"- We need to ask for forgiveness for our sins, for it is important to acknowledge our sins. Sins are called “debts” in certain translations, which helps us see that when we sin, we draw on the credit of Jesus’ blood on the cross. This should grieve us.
"Forgive our debtors"- Others have sinned against us or taken advantage of us or offended us, and we often withhold our forgiveness, even though we’ve been forgiven so much. Jesus says we must forgive.
Lead us not into temptation- Every day, there are trials and temptations, which God allows to bring us back into alignment with His Will. If we could stay in God’s Will, the tests would not be necessary.
"Deliver us from evil"- The Devil is real and he is relentless. Jesus knows how we need to pray against him. We can ask the Lord to rebuke the devil and to help us resist him. We can also ask His angels to be commanded to help us fight evil.
"Forgive others so God can forgive you"- Jesus reiterates the part of the prayer about forgiving others, so this must be SO important. Unforgiveness is a sin and will prevent God from forgiving us. It’s serious business.
I’m challenged to modify my prayer life. I think I often give God my list of requests and use many words. If Jesus is telling us what is important to pray, why wouldn’t I listen and put it into practice? “The Lord’s Prayer” is not a rote prayer to be uttered without contemplation, but rather, a blueprint for abiding. God does not want us being so concerned about all our perceived needs.
He wants us to be concerned about coming to our Father, praising Him, yielding to His Will no matter what, asking Him to feed us (physically, emotionally and spiritually), asking for forgiveness, forgiving others, and asking for protection against the enemy’s strategy’s against us. These are the most important aspects of life that a disciple should concern himself with.
Father, I love you and I praise Your Name. Thank you for adopting me. I say “Your Will be done” in my life, no matter what it looks like. I trust you. Feed my body and my spirit today, Lord, for you are the Bread of Life. Show me any sins that I’m allowing to cling to me that are getting in the way of the abundant life you want to give me. Show me anyone I’m withholding forgiveness from and let me be quick to rectify that. Lord, you know where I’m vulnerable to temptation or evil. Please keep me far from it. I need Your spiritual armor, Your angels’ protection, Your battle plan. Lord, thank you that you are with me through all of this life and into eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.