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Summary: Jesus teaches us five distinct ways of formulating our prayers to our Heavenly Father.

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PRAYER IS A PART OF EVERY CHRISTIANS LIFE IN SOME WAY. HOWEVER, HOW WE USE PRAYER AND WHAT WE UNDERSTAND THE DEFINITION OF PRAYER TO BE CAN BE VERY DIFFERENT!

WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF WHAT PRAYER IS TO BE USED FOR AND WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT. WE ALSO HAVE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF APPROACHING HOW WE PRAY, WHAT WE PRAY FOR AND THE OVERALL CONTENT AND LANGUAGE USED IN PRAYER.

PRAYER FOR SOME IS SIMPLY MAKING REQUESTS TO GOD MUCH LIKE THEY WOULD ORDER MERCHANDISE OFF THE INTERNET, WHILE FOR OTHERS IT IS A WAY TO HAVE INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD THROUGH LISTENING, TALKING, AND BEING STILL.

I LIKE WHAT E. STANLY JONES’S WROTE ON PRAYER IN HIS BOOK “A SONG OF ASCENTS” HE SAID, “PRAYER IS SURRENDER – SURRENDER TO THE WILL OF GOD AND COOPERATION WITH THAT WILL. IF I THROW OUT A BOAT HOOK FROM A BOAT AND CATCH HOLD OF THE SHORE AND PULL, DO I PULL THE SHORE TO ME, OR DO I PULL MYSELF TO THE SHORE? PRAYER IS NOT PULLING GOD TO MY WILL, BUT THE ALIGNING OF MY WILL TO THE WILL OF GOD.”

PRAYER IS NOT JUST A WAY TO GIVE GOD A “TO DO” LIST OF THINGS WE NEED. PRAYER IS NOT A ONE-SIDED CONVERSATION WHERE WE DO ALL THE TALKING. PRAYER IS NOT JUST FOR ASKING GOD TO MEET OUR NEEDS. PRAYER IS NOT SOMETHING WE DO ONLY WHEN FACING A CRISIS, SICK, OR OUT OF ALL OTHER OPTIONS.

JESUS GAVE SPECIFIC DETAILS ON HOW WE ARE TO PRAY. NOT ONLY DID HE GIVE US THE DETAILS, BUT LAID OUT A PARTICULAR PATTERN TO FOLLOW IN PRAYING. THE DETAILS AND PATTERN TO FOLLOW HAVE MEANING AND ARE STEPPING STONES TO A MORE FULFILLING, LOVING AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

INTERESTING ENOUGH, WHAT PROMTED THE DISCIPLES TO ASK JESUS TO TEACH THEM HOW TO PRAY WAS BASED ON THEIR OBSERVANCE OF HIM PRAYING. THEY WERE WITNESSES TO THE MANY TIMES JESUS SOUGHT HIS HEAVENLY FATHER IN PRAYER.

FOR EXAMPLE, JESUS PRAYED AT THE TIME OF HIS BAPTISM (3:21), AND AT THE TIME OF CHOOSING HIS DISCIPLES (6:12). HE PRAYED WHILE BEING TRANSFIGURED (9:28-29) AND IN THE GARDEN JUST BEFORE HIS BETRAYAL (22:40-44). IT DIDN’T STOP THERE AS HE GAVE AN UNBELIEVALBE EXAMPLE TO LIFT PRAYERS TO HIS FATHER WHILE NAILED AND DYING ON THE CROSS (23:46).

EVERY IMAGINABLE SITUATION, JESUS GAVE AN EXAMPLE TO INCLUDE IN PRAYER. NO SITUATION WAS EVER CONSIDERED TOO MINOR OR INSIGNIFICANT TO BE BROUGHT TO HIS FATHER’S ATTENTION. EVERYTHING WAS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO GOD THAT JESUS COULD BRING ALL THINGS TO HIM BATHED IN PRAYER.

THE CONCLUSION IS OBVIOUS: IF JESUS CHRIST, THE PERFECT SON OF GOD, HAD TO DEPEND ON PRAYER DURING HIS EARTHLY JOURNEY, THEN HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU AND I NEED TO PRAY? EFFECTIVE PRAYER IS THE PROVISION FOR EVERY NEED AND THE SOLUTION FOR EVERY ONE OF OUR PROBLEMS.

LET’S LOOK AT THE MODEL OF PRAYER TAUGHT TO US BY JESUS CHRIST. JESUS PRAYED IN FIVE DISTINCT PETITIONS: ONE AND TWO FOR GOD’S KINGDOM-INTERESTS, THREE FOR OUR PERSONAL NEEDS, FOUR FOR OUR RELTIONSHIP WITH GOD THE FATHER, AND FIVE FOR OUR SPIRITUAL BATTLES.

THE FIRST PETITION: “HALLOWED BE THY NAME” SIGNIFIES A SACRED REVERANCE FOR GOD. THE GREEK WORD “HALLOWED” USED HERE MEANS “TO TREAT AS HOLY.” IT IS OUR PRAYER THAT WE WOULD ALLOW GOD’S NAME TO BE SANCTIFIED BY THE WAY WE LIVE OUR DAILY LIVES. IT MEANS THAT, WHEN WE PRAY, WE BEGIN WITH THE RECOGNITION OF WHO GOD “IS” AS A HOLY AND SACRED.


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