The Need for Prayer, Part 2 (November)

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One morning during devotions, I felt the Spirit prompting me to study the Lord’s Prayer and seek its rich meaning. Mentally, I countered with the excuses that I had many tasks which “needed” to be done that morning. Then I realized what a fool I was to turn down time with my Lord and Savior, meditating on Him. I knelt in prayer, Bible in hand. I knew that if I was going to pray, I needed to do so in a way that pleased the Lord. Thus, I set out to find out how He wanted me to pray. It is such a blessing that Christ gave us a model prayer, so that we might learn this very thing. I opened my Bible to that passage in Matthew, and began a journey of discovery.

Let’s look at Matthew 6:9-16.

“After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in 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:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
Amen.”

One of the things that impressed me the most was the acknowledgement of God as Most High Being, as King over His Kingdom. I realized that often in my prayers I jump right into the prayer requests, forgetting to worship the Lord for Who He is and approaching Him in awe and reverence for His office as Creator.

Let me share some of the things that the Lord taught me as I went through this Scripture. Christ’s prayer, which was given as a model for us in bringing our petitions before a Holy King, opens like this:

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

Think about that opening phrase. First, the title of Father. I am praying to One who is precious to us, yet He also is One in authority and rulership. I am approaching Him as His redeemed child. Second, notice Christ’s act in sanctifying, glorifying, and consecrating the Father’s name. What a recognition of who God is and of His power and His glory. In my prayers, I want to bring this fact to light, both to remind me Who I am coming to in prayer, and also to uplift and glorify Him for what He has done. I have found that when I pray in this manner, my prayers take deeper meaning as I humble myself before Him.

“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.”

This further acknowledges God’s will and His sovereignty to bring His perfect will to pass, and it conveys our support and work for His will.

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Here we bring our requests to the feet of our Lord. I tend to believe that a natural (and selfish) motivation for prayer is often to ask God to do something for us. Of course, we do need to ask Him for our needs, but we need to do so in accordance with His will and in submission to His answer, which may be “no.”

Hence, as in the previous portion, when we acknowledge His Kingdom’s work and His will, the requests which we bring before Him are put into perspective. We realize that we need to pray that His will be done, and if it is His will, that He grant us ____ [our request].”

So when we pray for God’s provision, what do we bring to the table? Our personal wants or goals? In Christ’s example, He asks God to provide for His needs. When I read this Scripture, I stopped and thought about my “needs.” The first thing that came to mind was something like, “God, I need to have ___ done by ___ date.” But I stopped and thought, God would probably like it more if I listed the things I trulyneeded to bring Him more glory. My list looked something like,

~Humility
~Submission
~Love
~Compassion
~Disciple
~Purity

You see, when we take our eyes off ourselves and realize God’s greatness and His overarching plan, our needs become God’s will.

I ask these things for God’s glory, for His Kingdom, for His will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” This should be the purpose of our requests. To ask God to fulfill these things for Christ’s glory to be made through our life, sanctified into His image, that we might 1) bring glory to Him, and 2) be a light to the world around us of His image. These are my needs.

Of course the Lord also cares about our “minor” requests and desires and we need to bring every request before Him, but the key is desiring His will and His glory. This should be the moving motivation in our hearts and prayers.

When we pray with submission, we need to be prepared for God to answer these requests for spiritual growth. In other words, I need to be ready for pruning, for pain, for tests, all of which He may use to transform me and grow me in these areas. These things hurt; if I am not careful to remember that they are God’s answer to my requests, I will resist them. So I also need to pray that I will heed His rebukes and lessons.

“And forgive us or debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

When I pray this portion, I do so with trepidation. I know God is merciful and forgiving and Christ’s blood has redeemed me from sin, but I also realize that if I am (knowingly) harboring ill-will against another and am refusing to show compassion and forgiveness, how can I ask God to forgive my transgressions? I must evaluate my life and make sure I have forgiven. I do not usually have a direct “grudge” against someone, but what about that attitude of prideful scorn I had in my heart toward someone this week? Isn’t that still sin? Should I not show mercy compassion, treating them as I would like Jesus to give to me? Jesus, please forgive my sin! Give me a loving spirit toward this person!

“And lead us not into temptations,
but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

In this closing portion, Christ again glorifies the Father for Who He is, and acknowledge His power. There is a battle between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of earth. We need to request protection from the evil One, and grace for temptations as we encounter them, so that we may work toward the end victory of the Lord’s Kingdom.

As I reached to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, I realized how finite and incomprehensive my view of prayer was. How I need to learn and apply it! It is such a powerful tool that I need to use.

A Challenge for Prayer

Take the challenge. Set an amount of time that you will pray for a certain number of minutes. Include the key elements of glorifying God, recognizing His will, bringing your requests before Him, and asking forgiveness and purification of heart.

In your prayers, bring glory to the Lord and praise Him. Go to Psalms for many praises and worshipful prayers. Thank God for …

~His traits
~His power
~His sovereign plan and control
~His love and mercy
~His blessings on our country
~His salvation

Expand your requests beyond your own needs. Pray for other…

~Families
~Pastors
~Missionaries
~Suffering Christians

Sister, please go to your knees right now and come to the Father in prayer. Take to heart the principles which Christ taught. If we daughters take seriously the gift ofdiligentprayer for our lives and those around us, I wonder how our families and churches would be changed? If we took our eyes off worldly fads, and focused on the Lord’s Kingdom and making it known to all, what would happen? We will never know unless we do it!

Blessings to you, as you seek His face~

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4 c o m m e n t s »

MAGGIE » Thank you so much, Sarah! As I was reading, I began to realize that I think this is exactly what I needed to hear right this moment…especially the point you made about glorifying our Lord in our prayers. So many times, as you said, I go right to the requests and forget to magnify and be truly thankful for what He has done for us. To be able to speak directly to the One who created us is truly awesome and a privilege that I so often take for granted. Your point about putting our requests into perspective also really blessed me. It is such a struggle to try to grow by your self and an impossible one, but when you hand these requests, along with pleas for healing and material problems, over to Him the load is so much easier to bear. I have found that my heart is at so much more peace when I have cast my worries at His throne. Thank you again for your sharing your wonderful thoughts…

CAMILLE » Thank you so much for posting that Sarah! I really needed to hear that! So many times I also go to the requests, and forget to truely thank God for who He is and what He has done for me. :) I really would love to get your book {The Family Daughter}. :) I’m sure it is amazing.

JENNA »Miss Sarah, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your insightful words, and I learned much from this post! You are such a sweet young maiden in the Lord, and I always love reading your magazine! It is such a blessing! Your Sister In Christ, Jenna

MARTHA JOY » Hello Sarah, This is such a powerful article! I was touched by it, and I thank you for posting it!!! I really needed to read this! I love y’all! Blessings, Martha Joy