We will begin this discussion with a question. The question is what is prayer? Prayer is an essential component in a healthy Christian life. Also, prayer is a whole-life response to God. It is our communication with God. Prayer must reflect our pure motives, humble actions, and unhypocritical affections. We can come before God in prayer with a respectful, honest attitude. If our attitude is less than honest, then our prayers are in vain. We should not be hypocritical in our prayers by vain repetitions, or always praying in public places for others to hear how well we can pray. We should be sincere, honest and just simply talk to God, because he knows our every thought and need before we utter a word or a thought is formulated in our minds and hearts.
For this reason Jesus gave His disciples and us a model prayer to follow and how we should pray. Our prayers should express reverence and adoration for God, and our prayer should express requests for our personal needs, and needs of others. Also, our prayers should express repentance for our sins so we can maintain a right relationship with God. Finally, when we ask God for forgiveness, we must be willing to forgive others.
Since we have set the tone for how we should pray from a motive and attitude point of view. Now let us examine our model prayer. Let us pay attention to the plural pronouns of “our” and “us” used in the Lord’s Prayer. This indicates that this prayer can be used publicly and in private equally. The Lord’s Prayer begins with adoration of the Lord “Our Father” is a term that speaks of an intimate relationship with God, and at the same time He is recognized as the awesome and transcendent God who is in heaven. He is intimate to the Christian and infinite over all creation. It should be our sole desire to honor not only God’s name but the person as well, and He should be “hallowed” or treated as holy. Why?
Because when we come into God’s presence we are standing on Holy ground (Isaish 6:1-5). We must recognized as we pray that God is worthy of our most profound honor and respect.
We pray “Thy Kingdom Come. Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We must recognize that God the Father is King over all Creation in a sin scarred world; and we as Christians long for God’s visible rule on earth. This will be done when Jesus returns as King, but for now we must pray for righteousness to prevail in the lives of individuals and the causes of our society. In praying that God’s will be done, we must remember that God’s will is unchallenged, and we should want our will to align with God’s will. Also, we should not pray trying to persuade God to submit to our will. I say this because God knows the future. He knows what the future holds for us. His ways are not our ways. This why I say we should know and do God’s will, not our own.
When we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. God already know what we need even before we ask, but he still wants his children to make their requests known to him through prayer. Through our constant prayer we stay in close fellowship with God. If we read Psalms 23, it tells us what a good shepherd God is, how He supplies or every need; He leads, guides, and protects us from all hurt harm and danger. However, when we pray for daily bread we are asking for our practical as well as our spiritual needs to be met. We can be assured that our God will and does supply our every need. Matthew 6:12 talks about another need we have.
That need is for forgiveness. “We forgive our debtors.” We are in fact asking God to purge our sins we have committed. By the same principal we ask and expect God to forgive us, and then we should be willing do the same for people that commit immoral acts against us.
When we ask God to lead us not into temptation, we are realizing that only God can deliver us from evil. Also, we are asking God to help us shun evil, and not let us fall prey to Satan or any wrong doing. If we fall into temptation or mistreated someone, and ask for forgiveness, our heavenly Father will forgive us, but if we fail to forgive our evil doers then our heavenly Father cannot forgive us. It takes a humble spirit to forgive those who have sinned against us. Our natural response is to strike back, or get even. To forgive means to swallow pride, refuse retaliation, and accept the apology of the person who has mistreated us. This is the same kind of humility God requires when we ask for His forgiveness.
We must first forgive other before God will forgive us of our transgressions. Sin forms a barrier in our fellowship with God. Therefore, an unforgiving spirit means that God will not respond to our prayers. A forgiving spirit is the kind of spirit that God is willing to forgive. Unless we have a forgiving spirit we pray in vain. The man-to-God relationship in interrelated to the man-to-man relationship when it comes to forgiveness. If we cannot forgive then God cannot forgive.
God will judge and punish as necessary. We do not want to be punish because we lack a forgiving spirit.
Our sins have been forgiven once and for all through faith in Christ (Roman 8:1). Forgiving others and confessing our sins (1 John 1:9) makes it possible for us to maintain a good communication with God. Prayer is our communication tool with God.
In our communication with God through prayer is comprised of three elements: they are a) confession, b) worship, and c) petition. When we confess our sins we are admitting to God that we are sinners saved by Grace. Also, we are asking God to forgive us for our sins, and blot them out forever. Then help us not to sin ever again. We worship God for who He is and His holiness for He is worthy of our worship and praise. We worship Him in adoration because He is the creator of all creations. Finally, we petition God asking him to supply all of our needs. Our needs He so willingly supplies. We make our petition to God in honest, and in reverence. God expects us to ask him for what we really need (Philippians 4:6and James 4:2-3). God will supply and always answers prayer.
In closing, our prayer is a sincere communication with God, and we must not try to be so eloquent with our prayers, just simply state our needs because God knows what we need before we ask. Then we must always be willing for God’s will to be done. Also, we must remember that sins are forgiven, but we must try not to sin, and we must have a forgiving spirit if we want God to forgive us.
Read more articles by Willie B White or search for articles on the same topic or others.