How to Pray: Part 4
Jesus taught His disciples to pray. He taught them that prayer wasn’t about giving God a wish list, but it was about connect with Him. In order to do that we have to be in a place removed from distractions and temptations (Matthew 5:5, 6). We also have to remember that it isn’t about the words we say, but about being honest with God and trusting Him as our Father (Matthew 5:7, 8).
After giving His disciples those two teachings on prayer, Jesus provides them with a model pray, so they can have an idea of what prayer sounds like. We call this prayer the Lord’s Prayer and it we discover three elements that make up effective prayer.
The first element concerns our praise. We need to remember who God is and treat Him with the respect and honor He deserves rather than treating Him like Santa Claus or our own personal genie. Jesus honors God by recognizing Him as “Our Father who is in heaven...” If our prayers are going to be effective we need to spend time praising God.
The second element Jesus gives us concerns our priorities.
“May your kingdom come. May your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10; ISV)
This is the difficult part of the prayer. While we will say that we want God’s will to be done, and will often add this sentence to the end of our prayers, what we really mean is; “Your will be done as long as it lines up with my will.” In order to have a relationship with God we have to lay aside our wills.
This is not easy to do. One of the reason I know this isn’t easy is because of the struggle Jesus went through. Remember Jesus spent hours praying the night of His arrest, and it focused at this point. Jesus wanted another way to save mankind; it was the constant temptation that He faced. Part of the reason Jesus spent so long in prayer was to align His will with His Father’s will.
We all have areas in our lives where our wills do not align with God’s will. Prayer is a time to ask God to reveal His will to us and to ask for help in surrendering our will to His. That means we need to be honest with God about our feelings and what we are struggling with. We can’t hide anything from God, He knows our struggles, and it is through this process of laying everything at God’s feet that changes begin to occur in our hearts.
Not only we do we have to focus on aligning our wills with God, but we also have to ask for God’s will to be done. We need to ask for God’s will to be done in the different areas of our lives such as our church, school, and government. We need to ask for God’s will to be done in areas where God is openly mocked like breaking the hold pornography, abortion, and alcohol have on this country. We need to ask for God’s will to be done as we seek to carry out the Great Commission, that more workers will be raised up, that people’s hearts will receptive to the Good News, and that previous impassable barriers be broken down.
The scope of God’s will is huge and it reminds us that life is ultimately not about us and our dreams and desires, but it is about God’s will. What matters is that God is glorified and His Kingdom comes because only then will we really discover life the way God created it to be.
- Point to Ponder: In order to have a relationship with God we have to lay aside our wills.
- Passage to Remember: Matthew 6:10
- Question to Consider: Do you really want God’s will to be done in your life?