“Pray like this…” (Matthew 6:9a NLT)
Yesterday we looked at what I think of as the “heartbeat of prayer.” Today I’d like us to look at more of the “mechanics of prayer.”
In Matthew 6:5-8 Jesus outlines some things we shouldn’t do when we pray. When prayer becomes an end in itself, it isn’t conversation with God, it’s merely babble for the sake of man. In verses 9-13 Jesus offers us what we might term a “model prayer.” A model is a replica or example of the real thing. His intention wasn’t for us to simply repeat His words and call it a day. He was offering this “model” as a guide to help us in learning to pray with purpose. So, what might that look like?
The outline I’m using today is not original with me. I’m actually using a guide which was distributed at Hope Church (Las Vegas) and is based on the Lord’s Prayer. For an excellent message specifically on the Lord’s Prayer, click the link and listen to Pastor Edward Paz, Lead Pastor of Prayer & Teaching Ministries at Hope Church lv: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqOeeLOJXdk
What grew out of that message is 5 R’s for praying in line with the Lord’s model prayer in Matthew 6.
- RELATIONSHIP – “Our Father in heaven…”
“PERCEIVE yourself as a loved and cherished child of God.” Once you are born again into the family of God, God is your Father in ways you’ve never imagined possible. Regardless of what you’ve done or been, the blood of Jesus erases that from God’s memory. Our sin is cast into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered against us again.
If you’re a parent, think of the first time your eyes beheld the glory of your first born. My “Widdy-Bit” will be 49 next month, but my first sight of her is burned indelibly into my memory. She was precious to me then, but even more precious to me now. How much greater is your Heavenly Father’s inexhaustible and immeasurable love for you.
- REVERENCE – “Hallowed be Your Name…”
“PRAISE God for His character and attributes and thank Him for the blessings that flow from His character.” God is Holy in ways we can never be. He is Omnipresent (ever-present – in the sense He can see the day of our death as clearly as the day of our birth and every day in between); Omnipotent (All-powerful – NOTHING is impossible for God); Omniscient (All-Knowing) There is nothing that can be known that He doesn’t already know. These are just a few of His attributes for which we can offer Him praise, adoration and thanksgiving.
- RESPONSE – “…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“POSTURE yourself in humility before God by surrendering your will and your ways to Him.” This has reference to far more than the literal posturing of your body. Many people kneel when praying, closing their eyes and bowing their head. But a “posture of humility before God” has more to do with our surrendered will that desires God’s will to be accomplished here on earth in and through our individual lives, as well as the lives of others in the Body of Christ worldwide.
- REQUESTS – “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
“PETITION God for both your physical needs and your relational (with God and others) needs.” Pastor Rick Warren wrote in a recent devotional: “There’s nothing you need that God can’t provide.” “Our daily bread” includes far more than food. God includes the grace He knows we’ll need to forgive and to be forgiven. Receive with gratitude the bountiful gifts God gives you, for most of which we don’t even think to ask Him.
- READINESS – “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
“PREPARE yourself for the spiritual warfare that awaits you!” Yes, you can be assured you will be tempted; however, the source of that temptation will NEVER come from God (see James 1:13). Additionally, remember that, while God will never tempt you, neither will He ever leave you when you are being tempted. He will ALWAYS show you a way out (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), but it’s up to you to take it. One last note – temptation is not sin. Remember Jesus was tempted beyond anything we can imagine, yet never yielded and was without sin.
That’s a lot to chew on today. We’ll look at an acrostic tomorrow that has been a helpful tool for me when I pray.
Blessings, Ed 😊