Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done
On earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
A couple of years ago, at the beginning of the year, I asked the Lord for a “word” for the coming year. I’d never done that before. As I prayed, I felt the Lord say “Prayer.”
This was an area of my life that definitely needed improvement … then and now. I pray, but I wanted to pray better. I wanted to feel like I really was doing it right … and effectively … really connecting with God. I still feel that way. At the time, I decided it would help to do a bible study on The Lord’s Prayer. What did Jesus teach His disciples when they asked for help in their prayer life? As I did some research, I felt the Lord’s nudge to write one myself. I objected, “Lord, I’m not a writer!” (This was pre-blog … and has actually led to me writing more.) But the nudge wouldn’t go away, so I started to write down my thoughts. So, here goes!
When I was a little girl, I was taught the “Our Father.” This was the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray… and if it was good enough for them, it was good enough for me. Occasionally, I’d really think about the meaning, but back then, it was just a memorized prayer.
Later, after choosing to follow Jesus as my Savior, I started paying more attention to the words – especially the “forgive me as I forgive others” part. But there is so much more here. Let’s dig a little deeper.
In the gospels we see that Jesus began His public ministry and called twelve men to follow him. These were not the cream of society, but ordinary people, just like you and I. Follow Jesus they did, listening to His teachings and watching Him do miracles… and being sent out to DO the same things! But Jesus had this way of getting away by Himself… no matter who needed what… no matter how tired He was … no matter where they were. They must have seen how this affected Jesus because they wanted what He had. And they wanted to know how to pray … like He did.
What is prayer?
Thefreedictionary.com defines prayer as:
- A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship
- An act of communion with God, …such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving
- A specially worded form used to address God…
So basically, prayer is talking to God… in worship, confession, praise, thanksgiving, or petition. Talking to God? That seems pretty simple, but…
When is the best time of day to pray?
According to Mark 1:35, “Jesus went out to pray early in the morning.” But, in Luke 6:12, we see “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” So, Jesus also prayed at night.
I’ve spent a lot of years beating myself up because I am NOT a morning person and don’t get up really early to spend time in prayer. I’m not sure it matters when we pray. What matters is that we DO pray.
I Thessalonians 5: 16-18 says to “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
So, there is never a time not to pray.
Where should we pray?
According to Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Mark 1:35 says, “… Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Getting alone time with God has been a challenge for me. As soon as I’d “pull away,” it seems like everyone was looking for me. Or… I’d fall asleep! In the gospel of Matthew it says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Sometimes this is easier said than done. In the movie War Room, the characters actually converted a closet into a prayer room. That works if you have an extra closet. But you can possibly go to your bedroom and close the door, take a walk alone, sit in your car during lunch, turn off the TV and sit in your favorite chair… find what works for you. If you have little ones, you may need to be more creative. Susanna Wesley (mother of 10 children, including Charles and John) had no place to be by herself, but she had promised to give God two hours a day. She told her children that when her apron was over her head, she was not to be bothered. That was her God-time. I personally cannot imagine my kids being quiet enough for that… or not bothering me! But she made it work for her.
So, we’ve touched upon what is prayer, plus when and where should we pray. Tomorrow we’ll look at Why should I pray, What should we say in prayer, and How should I pray?
Please guide us
On this journey
As we learn
To draw closer