Have you ever wondered how to pray? Do you find yourself saying the same prayer over and over again? Or maybe you only pray before a meal or when you need something?
Reading through the Bible, you’ll see many times when people call out to God for a variety of reasons. One verse in particular, Ephesians 6:18, lets us know that we can come to God about anything,
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Not only can we pray about anything any time, but we even have a Helper for those times when we don’t know what words to say. From Romans 8:26,
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
So is there a right or wrong way to pray? Thankfully the Son of God Himself gave us an example that we can follow.
In the Book of Luke, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The longer response is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 so we can learn how to pray like Jesus.
Some people say this word-for-word. I mean, if it’s good enough for Jesus, then why not? But if you take a second to break it down, you can see the spirit of His example.
How to Pray Like Jesus
Our Father in Heaven
This is addressing who you pray to and shows your relationship. As Christians, you are adopted into God’s family so that he calls you His son or daughter. Addressing Him as Father not only shows a greeting, like “Hi Sarah,” but always calls to Him lovingly as your Dad. He is Lord of all, but also very personal.
Hallowed be your name
Instead of throwing up a peace sign and saying, “Yo, Dadio!,” this recognizes His holiness and that you acknowledge his reverence out of respect. You are giving Him the supreme place. Commit to using His name respectfully; not with disrespect or in vain.
Your kingdom come
Jesus has been talking with the crowds of people following Him around about the Kingdom. John the Baptist talked about the Kingdom. Verses like “Seek first the Kingdom” (Matt. 6:33) and “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand” (Matt. 4:17) have been said around this time. The person’s hearing The Lord’s Prayer already know what the kingdom is. Sometimes we lose sight that God is the King of Kings; He is the sovereign Ruler of all. This acknowledgement refers to Him ruling in your heart, but also Heaven.
Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven
This part goes hand in hand with another verse found in 1 Peter 4:2: “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” This has been a challenge in my life multiple times. As my daughter died in my arms, it was a struggle for me to accept it as God’s will. Life is full of scenarios that don’t make sense, but desiring God’s will is an incredible act of faith. There are many things that I may never know the “why’s” or “how’s” to on earth, but in Heaven we will see the big picture. Asking for God’s will to be done is yielding to Him.
Addressing Man’s Needs:
Give us this day our daily bread
You’d be wrong to assume that you can fully provide for yourself. It is because of God that you have all that you need. He sustains you and ensures that you have food. In America, we don’t even realize how much we have and too often take it for granted. This has never been more evident than when my family started sponsoring a child in Kenya through Compassion International. Receiving letters asking for prayers that her crops do well or that she has a diet solely of rice and beans opened my eyes to all that God gives me. Rely on Him for your needs.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
How many times have you held grudges when someone has wronged you? You feel entitled to because you didn’t deserve it and put up walls to protect yourself from being hurt again. Can you imagine what it would be like if God operated that way? You would have no hope in this world, nor for eternity. Instead you are to show grace to others like God does to you.
And lead us not into temptation
It’s a given that there are things in the world that are enticing, but are really destructive in disguise. Praying this not only asks for God’s direction away from temptation, but also for help in recognizing what is harmful. Should an alcoholic go to a bar, saying they’re just there for the food? No way. To avoid temptation, they would choose another place to dine. It isn’t always that obvious. Hanging out with friends is great, but often it can lead to gossip. Does that mean you should never hang out with those friends? Maybe, if you can’t control your tongue. But maybe God wants you to use your words to steer the conversation into a positive light or draw attention to the issue of gossip. Leaning on God to guide you means that He will empower you as you trust Him.
Deliver us from evil
Some translations have this as “Deliver us from the evil one.” Satan is the father of lies, seeking to destroy while he is still able. He knows that his time is limited, so he wants to sow discord in relationships, especially your relationship with Christ. The Bible also describes him as “crafty,” using everything in his power to get ours eyes off God. He did that in Eden, and does it still today. Pray that God would deliver you from it.
Takeaway from How to Pray Like Jesus
You can see from above that Jesus showed us the example of addressing God before addressing our physical and spiritual needs. While you have the Holy Spirit to interpret on your behalf, follow this outline to keep your focus aligned with Him.
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