When I ponder the topic of prayer, I’m most intrigued by the differences in how people pray and their beliefs about prayer. To some, it is a tradition that comes before a meal or at a formal gathering or ceremony. To others prayer is like rubbing a magic lamp and making your requests known. Sadly, to some, it’s a last desperate plea.
In my own walk with Christ, I’ve had seasons of hours on my knees with pleas for help. I’ve also had seasons of despair where pride prevented the much needed time with my Savior.
I’m a bit older now, and I hope wiser, but today, whether life is happy, calm, and for the most part stress free, or if I’m wrestling with fear and hopelessness, I have found that prayer is much more than a place to un-shoulder my burdens.
My Prayers - Jesus' Example
I love how Jesus teaches us to pray in the Gospels. Sometime ago, while studying the topic, I began to see several areas I was missing out on in my communion with Christ. To begin my prayers, as does the Lord’s prayer, not with a list of what I need, but with a praise of who God is.
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name
Think about it for a moment. The God of the universe chooses to be our God and to love us. He is not obligated to be good or to love us, yet He chooses to. That’s simply amazing, and it reminds me to begin prayer with acknowledgement and gratitude.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Next, I spend time considering the purpose of life and the bigger picture of God’s glory. This always helps me balance my thinking a bit as I understand the significance of my own situations and needs, as well as remembering others. This definitely prevents a pity party prayer time.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
At this point, I pray for myself. But if you notice, the prayer is not about my laundry list of needs and hurts. It’s about becoming holy as God is holy. It is a time to plead for provision for physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs that result in doing my small part of the bigger picture of bringing God glory.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord’s prayer is much like a beautiful piece of music with a crescendo ending as my thoughts return to the majesty and the glory of an all powerful, benevolent, and loving God in whom my faith rests.
I find that, when I take the time to focus on praying the way Jesus taught, there is an abundance of grace in my day. Prayer is a means of grace that I have the privilege of tapping into anytime and anywhere. My prayers are much more than unloading or creating a wish list; they are the very life and breathe to our purpose on earth.