Yesterday I talked about the things that Prayer isn’t so now I want to share some thoughts on what prayer IS from Matthew 6.
Intimate and personal. “Go into your private room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret.” I shut out the world and create space for God to come and meet with me one on one. NO distractions, no mess, just him and me. Better than date night.
Direct. “Don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” No need to beat around the bush, there’s no need to play games or hit the formula just right or just so, God is there and already knows our needs and desires so anything extra comes out of our love for Him not out of a need to placate Him.
Identification and praise. A recognition of who God is and his Glory. “Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy.” This is when we recognize how incredibly awesome and praiseworthy our God is and we fall to our knees because of it.
Agreement and alignment. Recognizing that God’s plans are sovereign and submitting ourselves to His vision. “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Or in the words of a Christ Tomlin song “You’re the God of this City…Greater things are yet to come.”
Petition/supplication. A request to take care of us, not just physically but spiritually, materially, and inter-personally. “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Also, ambiguity of language means that just as the divine name suggests past, present and future tenses, so too does this passage suggest a remembering of yesterday’s promise to live in tomorrow’s provision today)
Forgiveness. The Next line in the Lord’s prayer “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” assumes that we don’t hold any ungforgiveness. It assumes that we have let go of any grudges or hurts we have received and reminds us that even though we are forgiven our sins by His grace, that we still must pass it forward and forgive others as well.
Confession, repentance. “And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” This one takes me ages. I mean if I actually sat down and named out every single sin I was guilty of I’d probably never get off my knees but there are days when that’s exactly what I do. I confess my sins to my lord and repent of them so that I can more fully walk in His presence.
Future protection and deliverance from current circumstances. “And do not lead us into temptation but delivers us from evil.”
Worship (Doxology). “For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” Worship is different from praise and might be better referred to as “adoration.” In this final place of prayer, I adore God. I love God and demonstrate my love for him in any way I can manage.