||Lord, Teach Us To Pray
If we took a poll regarding our prayer life, we would find people at both ends of the spectrum. Some would say that their prayer life is weak and in need of help while others would find their prayer life to be satisfactory. However, if we are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must learn to pray as Jesus prayed. Mark 1:35 gives us a glimpse of our Lord's prayer life. In Luke 11:1, the disciples asked the Lord to teach them how to pray. They didn't ask Him to teach them a prayer, but to teach them how to pray. The Lord's prayer that we find in Matthew 6:9-15 is just that: a model prayer; a guide to a more effective prayer life.
There are seven essentials that the Lord taught that will transform our prayer life. We will look at the first three.
1. An expectant attitude. In Matthew 6:8, there is an eternal principle. God knows your needs before you are aware of the need. This is an invitation to come into God's presence and let your requests be made known unto God. Because He knows your need, He is welcoming you, inviting you into His presence. God wants us to come before Him in earnest expectation that He has the answer to our prayer. He has the supply for your need. Are you coming into His presence with an attitude of expectation?
2. A heart full of worship. We are speaking to "Our Father which is in heaven..." Even though God is known as Jehovah in the Old Testament which is His primary name and a proper name that is synonymous with holiness, Our Father is His most personal name. Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't say, "My Father," but "Our Father"? He is a personal God and we are speaking to Him directly. When we come into God's presence, we are to do so with reverence and awe. His name is holy and we are to honor His name (see Malachi 1:11; Psalm 100:4; Psalm 34:3). His name is more than who He is, it represents all that He is. No wonder God warns against taking His name in vain. Beginning your prayer with praise prepares your heart for effective praying.
3. Agreement with God. The reason people argue is because they disagree, they are not on the same page. Matthew 5:25 and Amos 3:3 admonish us to be in agreement with each other. In the same way, we are to be in agreement with God. Not that God needs to agree with us, but that we might be in agreement with God. Be in agreement with God concerning His plan -- thy kingdom come. One day God will be glorified when His Son sits on a literal throne. Until that day, God's kingdom is to rule in our hearts (Luke 17:20-21). Is Christ ruling in your heart right now?
The second area in which we must be in agreement with God is concerning His purpose -- thy will be done... Sometimes things don't work out according to plan, but if it is out of our control and not the result of our own decisions, we must trust God and accept His will for our life. You see, prayer is not about accomplishing our will in heaven, but rather, God accomplishing His will on the earth.
We will come back and examine the next section of the Lord's Prayer. The first part of this prayer is vertical. The second part is horizontal. Before we even begin to pray for personal needs, provisions, and problems, we are to begin with praise! Think about that.