Praying As Jesus Said To Pray

Last week, I spoke to the Sunday evening gathering about prayer, and specifically how we are to pray as instructed by Jesus in Luke 11.  There, in answer to his disciples’ request to teach them how to pray, he replied “Whenever you pray, say this…” and gave them a version of what is often called “the Lord’s Prayer.”  One point we considered was that the words of instruction are in a form that indicate that we would regularly use this model, and that it would often even be these very words.  As averse as we Baptists are to recitation, it has been the practice of the church for centuries to do so, and to do it together.  So, one aspect of our praying that may need to change is a more frequent use of both public recitation and use of this form itself.

Second, the five basic elements of the prayer provide us with a comprehensive approach to our praying.

Father… this tells us we are addressing ourselves to God in relationship with us.  It is an invitation into familial intimacy.

…hallowed be your name.  We are to offer praise, and seek that God’s name would be praised and lifted up in the eyes and hearts of all people everywhere, and especially among us as believers.

Your kingdom come.  We acknowledge that God is the sovereign of our lives and of this universe, and our greatest desire is that his control and rule and authority be both recognized and revealed.  That is something that will happen in its fullness at the end of the age, but it certainly is underway now, ever since the incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus in Heaven now.  We are citizens of that kingdom, and whenever the Spirit’s power is at work in and through the Church, the kingdom is at work and advancing.

Give us each day our daily bread.  We are asking God for what we need daily.  Note that it is a plural command (in fact, the whole prayer is collective, indicating that we pray not just for ourselves and by ourselves, but for each other and with each other).  All of our intercession for others rests under our faith in and seeking of God’s daily provisions.

And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.  Ah, here is the heart that is so crucial to right living–the heart of forgiveness.  We continually acknowledge that we need God’s forgiveness, and we also confess that as we realize how much we need it, we are ready to release any bitterness or grudge or debt we have or hold against anyone else.

And lead us not into temptation.  This is our prayer for protective guidance.  We know how easily we can be swayed and led astray from the will of our good God, and we ask that he would protect us from that deception of the flesh and trickery of the world and Satan. 

It is such a short, succinct prayer/outline.  May I challenge you to join me in praying through it every day?

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Published in: on March 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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