God created us and saved us so we could be in a relationship with Him. You probably know from experience that communication is an important part of every relationship. Communication is also important for our relationship with God. But have you ever thought about how we communicate with God? Through prayer! Prayer is one of the most important ways to commune with God and grow in our relationship with him.
I don’t know about you, but oftentimes, when I think about prayer, I get overwhelmed and think my prayers are not good enough, wordy enough, long enough… and the list goes on and on. For some reason, I have an idea in my head that prayer is something that is complicated and hard to do.
But prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, in the Bible, Jesus tells us exactly how we should pray! When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray Jesus answered them with what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s a common prayer and I’m pretty sure you are familiar with it. When we think about prayer we think that prayer to God should be long and full of all kinds of holy words. But if you take a closer look at the prayer Jesus used to teach His disciples, it is a pretty short prayer that doesn’t use many words. Prayer can be that simple!
Let’s take a closer look at the lord’s prayer and see how it can help us in our prayer life.
Our Father, Who art in heaven.
We begin our prayer by giving praise to God. We don’t have to look far to find things to praise God for. We can praise Him for the beautiful world He made, for the amazing people he has put in our lives, and for His great love in sending His son to die for us.
Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
We recognize that God’s name is above all, and that He sovereign over all things. When we say “Your Kingdom come” we are surrendering our plans to God and saying that we want everything in our lives to be used for God’s kingdom in whatever way God chooses.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
We lay down all of our desires and submit them to God. We ask God to help us seek His will and His ways in everything we do. As we do this we begin to delight more in following God’s will and our desires change. Even when the path God takes us down is different than the path we may have hoped for, we trust that God’s will is best.
Give us this day our daily bread.
We come to God and ask Him to provide for us. All we have is from God and we rejoice that God has already given us more than we could ever need. We understand that everything God gives us is a gift and we humbly ask him for the needs we may have while resting in the promise that He will take care of us.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We humbly admit to God any of the ways we have wronged Him and others. As we recognize our sins we also ask God to help us to turn from them and walk in His ways. We can be confident that when we ask for God’s forgiveness he will give us his forgiveness freely.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We are sinners living in a broken world so we cry out to God to help us remain faithful to Him. Whether we are in times of testing or about to be in a time of testing, we ask that God will protect us from the devil and keep us true.
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all.”
-1 Chronicles 29:11
As you can see, the prayer that Jesus gave us isn’t that complicated. It’s a prayer that begins by bringing our heart to a place of awe as we praise God for who He is. Then it brings us to a place of humility as we surrender our plans to Him and trust in His sovereignty. Thirdly it brings us to a place where we can ask, with a thankful heart, for Him to be faithful in providing for us. And lastly, it brings us to a place of recognizing our great need of a Savior as we fight the sin in our life.
So the next time you pray, keep the Lord’s prayer in mind. Don’t worry about not having enough words in your prayer, or even using the right words. “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) God simply desires to hear from you. Focus on reveling in who God is as you prayer, and be honest with Him about where you are at in your walk with Him.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
It is through prayer that God will begin to change you and shape your heart.