It is one of our great privileges to come to our Father in prayer. I cannot express how much its meant to me to understand that He wants to hear from me and build a relationship. Throughout the Bible we see all kinds of examples of how people prayed, in faith, in desperation, in pain, in joy. One of the verses that keeps coming back to me over and over is to pray without ceasing, so I have been on a bit of a journey about how to pray.
Jesus on Prayer
Dig into this subject at all and much starts to come out about the teaching of Jesus himself on the matter of prayer. I, and probably you, was taught the Lord’s prayer when I was too young to understand the words. We repeated it verbatim on a daily basis in school and at church. This kind of repetition can become exactly what Jesus talks about in the verse before the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:7, warning us not to use vain repetitions.
The Lord’s Prayer as a Model
Since Jesus did not want vain repetitions, he clearly wasn’t looking for us to keep saying the Lord’s prayer over and over, but rather to use it for a model, a basis for building our prayer that would be pleasing to the Lord. Like a good teacher, he gave us a structure to use that would place us in the right mind frame to form worshipful prayer.
Start with Reverence
The start of the Lord’s prayer is addressing our Father, ascribing him power, greatness and holiness. This is a good place to start in prayer. What I have been doing lately is to select a psalm and read it carefully for what it tells me about the nature of God. I let the psalm – God’s word to me – inform my heart about the character of God where I should focus my praise and adoration as I start my prayer.
This post is the first of a five part series on the Lord’s prayer. Please enter your email address over the the right to get the next part of the series. Tell me about your experiences with prayer in the comments!