This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” [Matthew 6:9-13]
A couple of days ago Hannah mentioned that a practical way to start this New Year off partnering with God is through prayer, so let’s talk more about that!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes (most of the time lol) I forget about what prayer actually is and it becomes a habitual, ritualistic part of my life. It becomes something that I only do when I am around other people who are praying, or I only pray when something really bad has happened, and I need God to come through like a genie in a lamp.
I’m sure that you have probably heard The Lord’s Prayer at least once. I remember playing baseball in high school, and we would pray it before games. I think at our peak we could complete the whole prayer in about 17 seconds...impressive...I know. But what if in the words of that prayer that we have heard so much are actually a structure for us to follow so that we never get bored of prayer. What if “the Lord’s Prayer” is actually meant to help us connect with God and not be a religious act?
The second word in this passage gives us the best place to start when praying: “Father”. What if before every time you prayed you reminded yourself of who you are talking to. You are talking to your Father who CREATED you, who KNOWS you more than your best friends or even your parents do. You are talking to your Father who wants GOOD things for you and who has your best interests at heart even if your life’s circumstances don’t seem to reflect it. I think if we remembered who we were talking to before we started praying, it would be so much more joyful and fulfilling.
The second sentence asks to “give us today our daily bread.” Guess what? God knows what you need, and He knows what you want. He wants you to tell him those things. Just because He knows all doesn’t mean he doesn’t want true, genuine relationship with you. He wants to hear your heart. He wants to know what you need, what you want, and what you think about. It’s very obvious the disciples needed to eat. I can guarantee you God knew that. But God wanted them to vocalize to Him what those things were. He wants you to do the same with Him!
The third sentence starts talking about forgiveness and in the fourth we see they ask for God’s help in the future.
Really simply, I think if you follow the structure of this famous prayer and remind yourself that it’s not some ancient saying that makes all your dreams come true, you will begin to see so much new fruit in your life this coming year.
To close, let's practice praying. And we aren’t gonna practice in some weird, religious way. We are gonna practice being vulnerable with God. We are gonna practice reminding ourselves of who He is.
Think about who you know God to be. Remind yourself that He is your Father. Think about what a perfect and good Father is and let that sink in.
Think about the things you need right now. It can be something personal. It can be something in your family or for your friends. Whatever it is, ask God to give you those things. Ask Him to move in your life.
Is there something you know you need forgiveness for? Repentance sounds so intense, but it's really not. It’s actually super powerful and one of the more powerful things you can consistently do in your life. Ask God to forgive you for any way you have sinned, whether you can think of specifics or not.
Ask for God to give you His strength and power. Ask for Him to help you live the life He has for you.
One of the best things that you can resolve to do this year is to pray more. The more you pray, the more you get to know God. The more you get to know God, the more powerful and confident you will be every day.