I woke up this morning with a few needs pressing on my heart. Maybe you did as well. In paying attention to my words, my prayer was not a laundry list asking God to give something.
We pray not so much to get God to do things our way, but to bend our wills to His. We pray to admit our great, and often, desperate need of Him. We pray for guidance, for protection, and for our lives to align with His purposes.
I opened my Bible in the early morning light to read the familiar words. Comfort and peace fill my anxious heart and mind as my eyes take in the words:
“Jesus said, “This is how you should pray; Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4, NLT).
It has now been a few hours that I have sat taking in these verses over and over as I pray and pause. Here’s what I am learning this morning:
- Keep God’s name holy. “Hallow it be Thy name”. God must receive the glory and praise He alone deserves. We pray for His will and purposes to be achieved both in this life and in the coming Kingdom, which He will establish.
- Come before Him daily. We need Him each day and each day He will be suffice for the needs present. We must ask Him for the provisions for that day’s journey.
- Lighten the load. As we confess our sin, the load we carry is less heavy for we leave it behind. We receive forgiveness and we forgive those who have wronged us. The wonder of it all is that we can forgive others without them having to ask us to forgive. It is our own load which become lightened.
- Prayer keeps us from yielding to temptation. Temptation is anything, anything at all, that would lead me awry.
Jesus knew hardship, disappointment, frustration, and hurt. He also knew that it was only as He remained intimate with His Father through prayer that He would remain in His Father’s will. It was only through prayer that He would live a life that trusted and depended on His Father. And it is the only way we will as well.
From the book “90 days in John 14-17, Romans, James”, I read this about prayer:
“Our prayers are to be shaped and constrained by what we know of Jesus. We are to pray with the grain of his name, and not against it – for the sake of the glory of his name, and not ours.” (page 38)
There are things I cannot change, fix, or make happen. But there is one thing I can do.
And so this morning, I find myself asking Jesus the same thing as one of his disciples also asked, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).