Lord, Teach Us To Pray (part two)
Any Christian who truly loves God will desire to be more effective in their prayer life. In the last blog, we identified the first part of the Lord's Prayer. We begin with praise. We determine in our hearts to submit ourselves to God's plan and purpose. Prayer, as the Lord declared, is not about mumbling vain repetitions; it is not about praying in places to be seen of men. It is about going to that "secret place" where you spend time with your heavenly Father in earnest prayer.
From the Lord's Prayer, there are seven essentials to prayer. We identified the first three and now, let's identify the remaining prayer essentials.
4. Petitioning God For Our Needs (Mt. 6:11). If God already knows our needs, prayer is an opportunity to petition God to meet the need. When we petition God, we are pleading, begging, and imploring God to grant your request. This suggests passionate praying. Looking to God as your source for all that you need is exactly what God wants you to do. Philippians 4:6 urges us to let your requests (petitions) be known unto God.
5. Confession Of Our Sin (Mt. 6:12). In the parallel passage of Luke 11:4, the word "sins" is used to replace the word "debts." Our offenses to God are to be considered a debt that is owed. The trouble is we have no way to pay our sin debt. That is why we are totally dependent on the forgiveness of God. In this matter of forgiveness, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that God deals with us as we deal with others. In the parable of the unforgiving servant (Mt. 18:21-35), the man who was forgiven such a great debt should have easily been forgiving of others. Forgiven people should be the best forgivers!
6. Deliverance From Satan's Influence (Mt. 6:13a). God does not tempt us, but He does allow us to be led into temptation. God will test us, but Satan will tempt us. If we know that our enemy is a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) that seeks to destroy us, Jesus includes in this model prayer to be delivered from temptation and from the evil one. Ask God to give you victory over the temptations that you will face. Ask God to give you strength for the tests that you will encounter. David prayed similarly in Psalm 19:13.
7. Give God The Praise (Mt. 6:13b). The very last part of this model prayer is a shout of praise. Prayer time must be praise time! Even though this doxology is not included in many of the modern translations, it is thoroughly scriptural and a beautiful way to end this prayer. It is an echo of 1 Chronicles 29:11. As we make our petitions known unto God, we are reminded of a command in Philippians 4:6. That is, as we make our requests known unto God, we do so with "thanksgiving." Before God even answers your prayer, you are thanking Him in advance for how He will deliver. This honors God.
If the disciples asked the Lord to teach them how to pray and this was the instructional prayer that Jesus offered, can we do any better on our own? Let's start praying "after this manner" (Matthew 6:9) in our daily prayers.