I have just recently completed a short biblestudy from Kay Arthur on prayer called: “Lord teach me to pray”. It is really worthwhile and have taught me to understand what I am saying and asking when I pray the Lord’s prayer (Matt 6:9-13). I now understand that the prayer Jesus provided in actual fact is a list of topics that gives me guidance in my communication with God.
The section that meant the most to me and have started to alter my communication with the Lord in a dramatic way is the first part in the Lord’s prayer:
Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name
Let me explain. I try and pray as regular as I can, but I also need to confess that it isn’t always smooth sailings. One of my problems is that my prayers mostly would focus on the forgiveness of my sins and then rapidly jump to all the current needs my family and those close to me have. In short, it really was a one sided communication.
What I didn’t realise was that I can ask God for as many things as I think I need, but if I don’t know God for who He is and I cannot praise Him for that, it will affect my faith, my belief in His abilities and my relationship with God.
When I know God, not knowledge about Him, but know Him in the way that He reveals Himself in Scripture and in Creation, I start having an intimacy with Him so that my prayer is not one-sided, but really a two-way communication between Father and child. In the ancient days this was not a problem for people, because God was at the heart of their lives, but in our case we so easily separate our daily lives with our religion that we forget God is present and part of us throughout.
In my prayer time I now first start by praising God for who He is and focussing on the names of God in Scripture, because names in ancient times were given to explain the nature of a person, and so also with God.
God is the Creator (Gen 1:1)
- He is the Most High (Gen 14:18-20)
- The God of Righteousness (Jer 23:6)
- My Provider (Gen 22:14)
- My Shepherd (Ps 23:1)
- God of Peace (Judges 6:24)
- Healer (Ex 15:26)
- God of Presence (Ex 48:35)
- Lord of Hosts (1 Sam 1:3-11)
The result is an amazing change in the rest of my prayer. When I get to my many requests the way I communicate it to the Lord has changed. When I ask, it is not so much a case of asking and hoping that God hears me and will maybe listen to my request, but rather a case of asking with a voice of faith built into it.
I still have a long way to go, but knowing God in prayer allows me to remind myself and God of His promises (Protector, Provider, Healer etc.) which gives me a hope and joy that God hears me and that His will is done.
“Pray then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen'” (Matt. 6:9-13)