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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

“One day Jesus was praying
in a certain place.
When he finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
Lord, teach us to pray,”
Luke 11:1 NIV

Have you ever been baffled by prayer? I have. Evidently the disciples were as well. One day they asked Jesus to teach them to pray and he did. In the familiar Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught the disciples and us some very basic components of prayer.

Jesus indicates that we should enter the presence of the Father with respect. “Hallowed be your name.” I know there have been times when my children have entered my presence and began spouting out requests and demands without even so much as a hello. Were they clueless to the fact that I might like a friendly smile, a compliment, or a thank you for what had already been done for them? I’m sure that often that is exactly how I approach God. My own self centeredness allows me to completely rush into God's presence often skipping the offering of respect that is due the Almighty God when I enter his presence.

Jesus also seemed to think that His kingdom and His will were important and that we should acknowledge that as well. “Your kingdom, come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When I pray those words I am in fact asking God to handle my affairs here on earth in the same manner that he would use in heaven. I have come to realize that there is a very good chance that my all knowing God will handle my request in a different way than I would and his ways are always better than my way.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus also invites us to ask God for what we need. “Give us this day our daily bread.” After thinking about this I began to notice that Jesus doesn’t say anything about weekly bread, monthly bread, or yearly bread. No, Jesus is specific, indicating that we should ask for our bread one day at a time. God uses this method as a tool to teach us to trust him for our daily needs. In all of the years that God has provided for his children, that approach of asking for God’s provision has not changed. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. …’” Exodus 16:4

Jesus then says something I don’t much like. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” We are to be forgiven by Jesus in the same manner that we have forgiven others. This part is bothersome because it leaves me without option. The fact is if I want Jesus’ forgiveness in my life I must forgive others.

Jesus encourages us to ask something very necessary, it is protection from Satan. “Deliver us from the evil one.” Jesus knows that Satan is no one to fool around with and that we will absolutely need God’s protection when Satan is around.

Jesus tells us that we are also to end our prayer with respect. “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever,” a phrase that puts our prayer in perspective. We are a part of God’s kingdom but he is the one with the power, therefore all that he does in our behalf is to bring glory to him not us.

Lastly, a word that finalizes our spirit of humility before God, a word that means “so be it,” thy perfect will be done. "Amen."


Have you discovered something new in Jesus’ teaching on prayer?

How will this change the way you pray?

What part of the Lord’s Prayer is frequently overlooked when you pray?

On whom does this prayer focus, God or you?


Dear Heavenly Father,

I just want to tell you that I love you and thank you for being in my life. I am dependent upon you for my daily needs. Thank you for all of the many ways that you provide for me every day. God, you are holy and I humbly admit my need for you to help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Father, I know that I need to be submissive to your will because you alone are God and know what is best for me. I pray that your perfect will to be done in my life this day and every day. Father, please protect me from Satan and his deception in my life. God I pray that through my obedience, my life will bring glory to you.

In your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.