What feelings surface when someone mentions prayer?
- Guilt? “Ugh. That ritual they made me do when I broke the rules.”
- Desire? “I wish I knew how.”
- Fear? “I’m embarrassed to pray out loud. I don’t sound as sophisticated as others.”
When the eternal God put on human flesh, He gave us a deeply encouraging model for how we can talk to Him.
Read more for the first post in a series on how we can gain encouragement and instruction on how to pray through the model Christ gave us.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them,for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
We’re not alone as we pray.
We can get our focus off ourselves and pray with and for others.
We can approach God together.
God did not have to allow us to approach Him at all.
He could have only allowed us to approach Him as His creatures.
He could have only allowed us to approach Him as subjects in His kingdom.
But, for everyone who discards their own goodness and places their trust in Christ, God adopts them.
The mistakes our earthly fathers made… He never makes them.
Even the best of our fathers is only a faint echo of the love, wisdom, and power that God the Father has.
He’s not the chief official in our company.
He’s not an elected official.
He’s not a human general.
He’s not one god among many, always struggling for supremacy over others.
He is the maker of time and space… supreme over and living outside of it. Wow. More on who He is next week, as we look at my favorite part of the Lord’s prayer (and the most frequently misunderstood)…. “…hallowed be Your name.”
What does this mean for me?
- Don’t try to come to God and impress Him or others. He’s already impressed by Christ’s righteousness (and the opinions of other people don’t matter).
- Prayer is next just talking to God. A child doesn’t worry about what to say… he or she just says what they are thinking and wanting and needing. In fact, the only kinds of prayers God does not like are those that try to impress or manipulate Him.
- Worship is a great way to start. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like it. Just tell God who He is and why that matters to you. If even that is hard, sometimes beginning with thanksgiving is a helpful way to start.
For more of our worldview on this part of the Lord’s prayer, including a bunch more scriptures you can look at, you can read:
- the Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 100
- the Westminster Larger Catechism, question 189.