Summary: The first words of the Lord's prayer emphasize our need for a relationship with God and how special that relationship is.
A 4-year-old boy was asked to give the meal blessing before dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one.
Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip.
Then he paused, and everyone waited-- and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the broccoli, won't he know that I'm lying?"
Prayer at meal time with children can be interesting. Sarah has learned to grab hands, bow her head, close her eyes and say, “Thank-you God, our food, amen.” Been trying to add some other things in there but that’s what we’ve got so far. It’s just hard to teach a three year old much more than that about anything especially somethings are important and meaningful as prayer.
We’re going to be spending the next few weeks talking about prayer. Not just what prayer is, but what it should be. Prayer is a lot of things to a lot of people, but there are things that it should be. We’re going to see that the Jewish people in Jesus time considered prayer to be literally like spiritual life’s blood. I think that one of the most important questions asked in scripture was “Lord teach us to pray.” So as we look at prayer we’re going to look at Jesus answer. We’re going to look at the Lords prayer as Matthew recorded it.
Matthew 6:9-13, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
1. Some Thoughts on Prayer
As we begin our series I want us to start with looking at some general thoughts on prayer. Maybe these don’t apply to you, but I believe that they apply to most people so we will find them useful. The first thought is this, prayer doesn’t come naturally it is a learned skill. I mean think about it, how many people do you know who could honestly say that they have a healthy prayer life all the time? Most people will admit that even though there are times when their prayer life is healthy, that they run through dry spells. For a lot of people their prayer life is never healthier than when there is a problem.
When times are tough, when there are challenges that we know are beyond anything we can do, those are the times that most people turn to God in prayer. Think about it, those people who say that they are Christians but we never see them in church, yep, problem comes and they’re talking to “the man upstairs.” The problem is that isn’t His name, He is God and we’re going to see that His name is very important.
That attitude show how great a misunderstand of prayer that most people have. They tend to treat God like a waiter, here to take our order when we call. Or they act like God should be honored that they take the time to talk to Him at all. Some people pray, but it’s almost like a Christmas list, Lord let me tell you all of the things that I want and what you can do for me. Then when we either get what we want or the crisis passes we go back to forgetting about God. Talking to a God that we can’t see, who doesn’t tend to talk to us audibly isn’t natural. That’s why so many people don’t do it, because it’s not natural If you think it comes naturally then let me ask you this question, why do so many people pray during a crisis and stop praying with the crisis is past. Prayer is not supposed to just be a crutch.
When we do take the time to pray, we don’t really understand it, we haven’t studied it, so we don’t do it well. Even most Christians don’t really have a proper understanding of prayer. Yes, we get that most basic ingredient, that when we pray we get the amazing opportunity to speak to the creator of the universe. We understand what an awesome privilege that is.
But prayer is more than just a privilege. It is a time when we build our relationships with God. It is a time when we grow in faith. Yes, it is also a time when we bring our requests to God. But those requests are for more then just provision, more than just our earthly desires. It is a time when we can come and ask for understanding, a time when we can ask for peace in the midst of the storm, for the strength to endure when deliverance doesn’t come.