I attended a conference a couple of weeks ago and the question was asked, "Who taught you how to pray?" Some of you can easily answer that question and some of you may not be as certain. Some of you may not even be sure that you know how to pray now. This started me thinking about prayer. In Matthew 6:9-13 we are given a model prayer by Jesus himself:
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
What strikes me about this prayer is the simplicity of it. It was not a lengthy prayer, but in these few words Jesus spoke everything that is important in life.
Vs 9-10 shows us how to give God honor first when we pray. Too many times we start out our prayers by asking for everything we need and we forget the part about saying Hey God, I honor you and am just thankful for all you have done for me. Jesus showed us that we start out by thanking God before bringing our requests to Him.
Vs 11 shows how to ask for our needs. Give us this day our daily bread. We should be asking God for the things we need and expecting Him to answer.
Vs 12 shows us to ask for forgiveness and help us forgive others. Sin will keep us from having a relationship with Christ. It puts a wall in between us and God. Unforgiveness will also keep us from having that close relationship with God. One of the best things you can do for someone you are angry with is start praying for them. You may be angry with them when you first start, but it is amazing how God will begin to change your heart so you can experience forgiveness. This doesn't mean that they didn't wrong you in some way, but it means that you no longer have to let that anger stay in your life.
Vs. 13 shows us to pray against being tempted. We are all tempted everyday. Jesus himself was tempted before starting His earthly ministry (Matthew 4). If Jesus said pray against temptation, how much more should we be praying against temptation?
Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Speak to Him as you would a close friend. He wants to have that conversation with you. Don't get caught up in thinking that it requires big words and hours and hours of speaking. Just simply speak from your heart and most importantly spend a few moments listening to see what He has to speak back to you.