Do You Know How To Pray?
Good morning brothers and sisters!
It is such a joy to come together as a body of Christ. Today, I would share with you about a very familiar topic from a very familiar passage. The topic for today is prayer and the text is Matthew 6:9-13.
Let us pray before we begin, shall we?
There may be no more familiar prayer in the entire world than the Lord's Prayer. Wherever you go in the world; if you were to invite people to repeat those words with you the vast majority of people could say them. The Lord's Prayer has become like the Pledge of Allegiance or the words of the national anthem; words that we speak without really listening to or considering what we are saying?
I believe that the words of the Lord's Prayer are among the most revolutionary words ever spoken. If you should decided to live out your life in accordance with what those words actually say, your whole life would begin to move in an entirely different direction.
According to the prayer taught by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13, we should include four elements in our prayer. I’ve put them in an acronym – A.C.T.S.
A – Adoration
C – Confession
T – Thanksgiving
S – Supplication
Let us look at these four elements and learn how to pray according to how the Lord Himself has taught us in His word.
1. Adoration: Who God is For Us.
V.9 Our father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name
In this first line we are reminded that no matter what we may face in this world, we have someone to turn to who is big enough, and wise enough and strong enough to help us face and conquer anything. We have a father in heaven that is watching over us and guiding and directing our steps. We have a father in heaven who reminds us that there is a power and a purpose at work in the world and in our lives. This prayer automatically causes us to lift up our eyes and lift up our heads and lift up our hearts beyond the problems we face in this world.
Hallowed be thy name. We need to understand the holiness of God, which includes his majesty, his power, his wisdom, his timelessness and his unchanging nature and character all at the same time. God is holy, meaning that God is unlike us in every way possible.
2. C – Confession: Who We Are Before God.
v.12-13a forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.
We are sinners and we have so much to pay back to God for what we have done, which we cannot afford to pay. So the only way of getting rid of those debts is to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. Realizing our sins and confessing it to God brings forgiveness.
When we really listen to the Lord's Prayer we discover that forgiveness is a two-way transaction. God is willing to forgive us of our sins, but only when he sees that we are willing to forgive the sins - debts - trespasses that others have done against us. All of us want God to forgive us, and let there be no doubt that God is able and willing to do so. However, that forgiveness is conditional and not automatic; it comes to those who are willing to hold no grudges, harbor no resentments, cling to no hatreds and withhold no love from others because of what they may have done to us in the past. Confession should be the key aspect of our prayers where we can cry out to God for forgiveness for our sins. And at the same time, it is the time to forgive others who have sinned against us. Now listen to what Jesus said as soon as the cross had been raised into position; "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
3. Thanksgiving: What God Has Done For Us.
v.13b. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever.
Why do we have give thanks to God in our prayers? There are millions are reasons in our lives to praise God and give thanks to Him for what He has done. We can never count the works of God in our lives and pay Him back anything for it. The only thing we can give back to God and the only thing He wants from us is: Praise (Thanksgiving). Firstly, God is our king who holds the key of the kingdom. We praise God for His protection and providence as our King. We thank God for bringing into the kingdom of God from the kingdom of evil. He has the power over anything and everything in heaven and on earth, which He has given us as well. He has freed us from the power of evil and this world by His mighty power. We worship God for all the glory belongs to Him. He does not let us down but always lifts up high to reflect His glory in our lives in this world.
As we hear the news of kingdoms and countries are fighting with each other but we thank God because it all belong to God and He has made us the ambassadors in this kingdom. What a privilege we have in Christ. Let us always include our heart full praise and worship giving thanks to God for what He has done in us and thru us.
4. Supplication: What We Need From God.
Vs. 10-11 your kingdom come. Give us daily bread.
There are unlimited things that we want but supplication is to ask for what we need. The first thing we need ask in our prayer is to have the kingdom of God in our hearts that may God reign in our hearts. When God is in us who can be against us? His will be done in our lives not our will. His kingdom comes to this earth thru each and every one of us as we let Him reign in our hearts as a king.
There are two kinds of need that Jesus has taught us to pray for: spiritual needs and physical needs. Since we are children of God, we have spiritual needs and at the same time, since we are in the world, we have physical needs too. Many times, we just pray only for our wants and needs without including earlier 3 major aspects of prayer. We have to ask for God's providence in our physical and spiritual lives. That we will not be tempted by evil to destroy our spiritual live. And also pray for our physical needs that God will pour out His riches for our physical needs. But we should always pray in such a way that our needs come later at the last when we have adored God, confessed our sins and given thanks to God. This should be the series of things that we should include in our prayers.
Let us pray according to how the Lord Himself has taught us in His word.
Let us pray!