Talking To God -
How To Pray
William M. Verch
One of the disciples came to Jesus and said "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." - Luke 11:1
Jesus had a very specific answer for him. We know it as "The Lordís Prayer." If you really look at it line-by-line, though, youíll be able to see that not only is it a beautiful prayer, but it is also a model of how to pray.
1. Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
|2. Thy kingdom come,||READINESS|
|3. Thy will be done on earth, as it is
|4. Give us this day our daily bread.||NEEDS|
|5. And forgive us our debts, as we
forgive our debtors.
|6. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
|7. For Thine is the kingdom, and the
power, and the glory, for ever.
Here's a detailed look at each element:
"Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
It is important to know Who God is. God is neither a policeman, nor alien, nor Santa Claus, nor an impersonal mist. He is your Father and all which that implies. He is loving and strong, your protector and provider. He gives discipline and guidance. He is deeply personal and He is awe-inspiring.
If you are a Christian, then God not only likes you, He not only loves you - but He has actually chosen you and adopted you into His family as His sweetly loved child.
This is a profound truth, which will send your self-worth soaring if you take the time to really think about it. If your earthly father has been a poor example, hopefully you can still imagine what a great father would be like. That is who our God is.
In past times, a personís name was what they were. If youíre name was "Miller", for instance, it was because you ran a mill of some sort. Another example would be "Taylor" (a maker of clothes) or "Johnson" (Johnís son).
For this verse to say "Hallowed be Thy name" means that God IS Holy. Now "Holy" means perfect or without error. So in praying this, you are saying "God, You are perfect." That is praising God and He very much desires and deserves your praise.
Being thankful fits right into here. Think about it. What if you had a friend who only came to you when they wanted something? Many people treat God the same way - only praying what they want God to do for them.
It is significant that the Lordís Prayer starts with PRAISE. God wants you to come to Him thinking about HIM first, not YOU first. In fact, hereís a little something that will help with this. Always ask God how HE is doing, first.
We know that God can be grieved and we know that God can be greatly concerned. Ask if there is anything grieving Him about you or about what is going on in the world. Focus on God first, who He is and what His desires are.
"Thy kingdom come"
Here you are asking for the Kingdom of God to come. This can actually mean three things. 1.) That the kingdom of the Lord is spread here on earth. 2.) That Jesus comes back and establishes His full reign. 3.) That you die and go to be with the Lord.
The key to this part of the prayer is that you are READY. You are ready to do what God wants you to do. You are ready for Jesus to come back. You are ready to die and be with the Lord.
Jesus taught the parable of the wise virgins waiting for the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-9) and the parable about the Lord coming like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:42) to let us know to have an attitude of readiness.
"Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven"
When you first read this part of the prayer, youíre probably inclined to think, "Of course I want Godís Will to be done." Itís when you personalize it, though, that you really see the teeth in this verse. Itís "Thy" will and not "MY" will. This verse is about SUBMISSION of your desires to Godís desires.
Hereís a free little bonus, though. Have you ever struggled with being motivated to do what God wants instead of what you want? Philippians 2:13 says, "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
What this means is that it is GOD who will motivate you to do what He wants you to do. It is very freeing, because it puts the burden of motivation on God. You just have to be honestly open to His motivation. So when you pray for Godís will to be done, pray that the Lord would motivate you to do the right things.
"Give us this day our daily bread."
There are three basic things that we need. 1.) Comfort 2.) Security & 3.) Self-worth. Essentially everything that you need or desire will fall under these categories.
There are two major false gods that have the appearance of being able to fulfill these needs. The first is Money and the second is Relationships.
There is certainly a place for money and a place for relationships, but they are NOT to take the place of God in providing for us. The Lord wants us to understand that EVERYTHING comes from Him and that He is our provider. If you truly grasp this, it will mark a major distinction between you as a Christian and non-believers.
It is important to understand the priority of things in your life. Here is the order of what your priorities should be, determined from many sources from within the Bible.
#1.Your Relationship with God - Your one-on-one time with God is the MOST important thing you will do all day. Church
is part of your relationship with God, but it is a sub-category of YOU & GOD. Connect with the Lord every day.
#2.Your Spouse - (when/if you have one) Your boyfriend/girlfriend does NOT go in this slot.
#3.Your Children -(when/if you have them) Many people get confused and think that their children are to be more important
than their spouse. We learn from the Bible that this is not to be. The best thing you will ever do for your children is to love your spouse.
#4. Your Family - Do you think youíre a strong Christian, but youíre ready to ditch your family? Check out 1 Timothy 5:8:
"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and
is worse than an unbeliever."
#5. Your God-given Occupation - Right now, this may be school, as that is where God has placed you for this time in your
life. The Lord knows exactly what you are to do for a living. Pursue Him and He will show you.
#6. Other People & Your Ministry - Friends, strangers, & enemies - we are to love them all. Every believer has been
created to serve the Lord. Seek to discover your gifts and find out where the Lord wishes to use you to love other people. Jesus said, "And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27. Your "cross" is the ministry that God has given you to do in this life.
#7. You - It is important that YOU are on the list. You must take time for yourself - to have fun, to enjoy life, to get enough
sleep. God does NOT want you to be a workaholic. "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:30
#8. Maintenance - Diet, Exercise, Finances, Cleaning Your room, taking care of your car, etc.
It can be helpful to pray through this list and to think of each priority as a subject in school. Give yourself a mental grade for each "subject" and God will use it to motivate you where you need to be motivated. It will help you live a balanced life.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Cleanse yourself before God. There are three main areas of sin: 1.) Cravings/Greed 2.) Lust & 3.) Pride. These are not the only areas, but much of your sin will fall under one of these three categories. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you your sin which you do not see.
Confess your sin to God and make a decision to turn from it. (Thatís what "repent" means.) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
When you have honestly confessed your sin and you honestly try to turn from it, then put all guilt thoughts out of your mind. They are NOT from God, but are from the evil one. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" - Romans 8:1
This part of the Lordís prayer is conditional. You must forgive others to be forgiven.
How long is your "hate list?" Pray hard through it, until it is down to zero. It does not matter if they donít "deserve" to be forgiven. We donít "deserve" to be forgiven by God, yet He has, and He expects us to do the same.
"And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil"
Evil comes from three places - 1.) Satan 2.) Others 3.) Our Own Evil Desires.
Do not be misled, Satan is just as real as God is. Satan desires to destroy you and cause you great pain & grief. He is allowed to cause evil during this life, but God has promised you protection. "But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one". 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Satan loves to accuse you and, though powerful, he can be tied up by Jesus. Ask Jesus to bind Satan from specific situations.
Satan also comes and goes. Heís not in all places at all times like God is. You can call upon the Lord to rebuke Satan.
Pray this Prayer: Lord Jesus, in Your name I ask for your
protection from Satan. Please hush him up, tie him up
and make him leave.
Unfortunately in the life, God still allows attacks from the evil one. This prayer, though, is effective. You need not fear
the evil one. Even if an attack is allowed, God promises to help you and to work good from it.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28
A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all - Psalm 34:19
Hereís another real secret in dealing with evil in your life. You know how you can know the right thing to do "in your head" but you still want to do wrong anyway?
Ask God to protect you from your own evil desires - even if you donít really want His protection!
He will amaze you with what He does. When He offers a way out of temptation - which He promises to do (1Corinthians10:13) - TAKE IT.
Understand that all sin is foolishness. Even if you get away with it, it changes who you are. "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." Galatians 6:7.
"For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory, for ever."
More PRAISE. This is a statement of the overwhelming authority and majesty of God. Start prayer and end prayer thinking about God and how wonderful He truly is.
I hope this helps you with prayer. I want you to feel confident and conncected when speaking with the Lord. Please feel free to contact me at anytime with any questions you may have.
Have a blessed week.
In His Love,
P.S. The most important thing you will do all day is to spend
time with God.
William M. Verch
Bible quotations are from the New International Version (NIV)
and the New American Standard Version (NASB)
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