How to Pray: Part 3
What makes prayer effective aren’t the words we use or the wish list we give, but our desire to connect with our Heavenly Father. Being confident in our relationship with God will help us understand what to pray for and how to pray.
When Jesus taught on prayer He gave to His disciples a model prayer. This prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, helps us understand the form of prayer. The model prayer Jesus gave us contains three elements that will help us keep our focus when it comes to prayer. I believe that when our prayers are comprised of these three elements, rather than a to do list, our prayer lives will be revolutionized.
9 “Therefore, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. 13 And never bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Matthew 6:9-13; ISV)
The first element we discover is the element of praise. "Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy" (verse 9). Jesus begins His model prayer with recognizing and honoring God.
Our prayers should begin by praising God for who He is. Jesus does this by saying; “Our Father in heaven.” For us as Christians this is a very appropriate way to recognize the God who loves us as children. Father is a term of both respect and affection and we honor God when we address Him at such.
There are also other ways we can recognize and honor God. One of my favorite ways to start my prayers is to recognize God as Creator. I do this because the world around me speaks of God’s power and creativity. It is awesome to think that the God who created the universe loves me. That is definitely something to ponder.
For you it might be something different. If you have experienced God’s healing you might want to take a moment to recognize Him as the Great Physician. If you have experienced His provision you might want to recognize Him as your Provider. In whatever way you have experienced God in your life it is appropriate to recognize and honor Him for that blessing. The important thing is not the words but the love, thanksgiving, and respect that you want to convey to God.
When we pray we are not praying to some other man or an element of nature, but the Creator of the universe. We are not praying to some cold-hearted deity somewhere up there, but the God who did whatever it took to have an eternal relationship with you. This is amazing, and it is where we need to start with our prayers.
By don’t stopping and taking time to praise God we run the risk of treating Him as a genie or Santa Claus. We come to Him so He will grant our wish rather than to connect with our Heavenly Father and the Creator of the Universe. Having a proper focus during prayer requires that respect and honor God first and foremost.
- Point to Ponder: Our prayers should begin by praising God for who He is.
- Passage to Remember: Matthew 6:9
- Question to Consider: How can you make praise a part of your prayers?