In prayer

In prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples. And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed by your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation (Lk. 11:1-4). 

“A Dad took his small son with him to town one day to run some errands. When lunch time had arrived, they went to their usual diner for a sandwich. The father sat down on one of the stools at the counter and picked up the boy and placed him to the seat beside him. They ordered lunch, and when the waiter brought the food, the father said, “Son, we’ll just have a silent prayer.” Dad got through praying first and waited for the boy to finish his prayer, but he just sat with his head bowed for an unusually long time. When he finally looked up, his father asked him, “What in the world were you praying about all that time?” With the innocence and honesty of a child, he replied, “How do I know? It was a silent prayer.” – Our Daily Bread The disciple of Luke was just like this child in the story. He had an elementary understanding of prayer and needed guidance from the Lord, so he simply asked: “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus, with eagerness, told him and the other disciples how to pray effectively. First, communicate with God as your Heavenly Father and reverence His holy name. Second, pray that the Kingdom of God would reign on the Earth and bring sinners to repentance and faith. Third, remember in prayer your dependence upon God since He is the Bread from Heaven from which we obtain spiritual nourishment. Fourth, confess sins to God and do not hold a grudge against those who mistreat you. Lastly, ask the all-powerful Father to protect you from the temptations of the devil, the flesh, and the world. Application 1. Pray through the Psalms. It’s like a GPS that helps you get to your final destination. Oftentimes in prayer we get side-tracked, but when you read through the Psalter, it helps guide you. For example, in Psalm 1 it says: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.” Make this statement personal to your own life by saying something like this: God, thank you for blessing me with your Holy Spirit. Thanks for delivering me from the ungodly influence in my life. Give me wisdom on how to pray and share the gospel with the ungodly so they can turn from their path of destruction and find life in Christ.”

The way of Truth

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo.

“Teach me, O Lord, your way of truth, and from it I will not depart; that I may steadfastly obey, give me an understanding heart. In your commandments make me walk, for in your law my joy shall be; give me a heart that loves your will, from discontent and envy free. Turn now my eyes from vanity, and cause me in your ways to tread; O let your servant prove your Word and thus to godly fear be led. Turn away my reproach and fear; your righteous judgments I confess; To know your precepts I desire; revive me in your righteousness.” The Psalter, (Ps. 119:33-40)

This hymn captures the sovereignty of God. It is He who teaches the way of truth (John 14:6). When we submit to Him, we will not depart from the way of righteousness. By following His commandments (Ex. 23:25; Lev.26:3; Deut. 11:13), we will have true peace and a joy that surpasses all understanding. As we turn our eyes from the vanity of the world, let’s look to the cross where the incarnate Son of God bled and died for us (Jn. 3:16).

While reading the Psalms, I want to encourage you to make it personal. For example, If you don’t know what to pray about in your personal time with God, the best thing to do is open the Psalms. During my prayers, I often get side-tracked and forget what I was originally praying for. If you have a psalm there to guide your prayers, its easier not to forget. I hope this helps.