By Rev. Ralph Graves | Cornerstone Community Church, Vineland
Prayer is personal. It’s a personal expression of your relationship with the Lord. David says he cried out to God morning, noon and night. Why? Because he knew in his heart of hearts that the Lord heard him. His petitions were personal. His needs were unique. And he knew that the Lord would hear him.
No one but the Lord knows what you stand in need of when you pray. Your needs are not the same as those of your neighbors, your friends, or even your own family members. You are uniquely dependent upon the Lord for what He knows you stand in need of.
Notice that I said what He knows you stand in need of…not what you think you need. That’s probably the biggest error we commit when we pray. We don’t turn ourselves over to the Lord, wholly and completely.
Jesus taught us how to pray. And the disciples affirmed his teachings. So let’s take a close look at God’s expectations of us when we pray.
“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. (Matthew 6:9-13)
For many of us, we’ve been saying this prayer since childhood. This is the prayer Jesus gave to His disciples, and it’s a good place to start because it’s the perfect formula for how we are to approach the Lord…and for so many reasons. Let’s take it apart to see why.
1. It teaches us the importance of WORSHIP. Jesus says we must first acknowledge God’s place in our lives. OUR FATHER!
2. It teaches us reverence for God. “Hallowed be thy name!” Hallowed means sacred, revered, Deified, Holy and blessed!
3. It acknowledges that we trust in God to fulfill His promises. “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done!” Maybe we should slow down a bit right here, because this is where we mess us. Tell the truth now. We see prayer as a conduit to ask God for what WE WANT. Seldom do we stop to reflect on what HE wants for our lives.
4. It requests that His will be done in our lives, in the same manner in which it is accomplished in heaven. “On earth, as it is in heaven”. In other words, our heart’s desire should be that earth will reflect God’s heavenly realm, and we should be willing to let God use us to make that happen. I like this part of the Lord’s Prayer because it affirms our need for complete submission to His will.
5. It teaches us to rely on Him for our personal needs. “Give us this day our daily bread.” The word ‘daily’ means sufficient…enough for this day. It reinforces our relationship with God as our Provider; the One on whom we rely for our very daily existence. When we trust God for our daily needs we learn to live by faith!
6. It teaches us to be forgiving. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” While it’s true that our own forgiveness is based on repentance of our own sins and not based on forgiving others, the truth is that you cannot walk in fellowship with God if you refuse to forgive others. Forgiveness and finding fault are like oil and water…they don’t mix.
7. It teaches us to be aware of our spiritual weakness, and our need for the Lord. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” When we try to handle life’s temptations without the Lord, we end up slip-sliding away. Jesus reminds us to trust the path God has laid out for us, and follow Him.
8. It teaches us to acknowledge the Omnipotence of God. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. AMEN.” We must continually affirm that the world does not belong to us, but to the Lord. The Lord’s Prayer begins and ends with affirmation of worship, and that is the path from which we must never stray in our prayer life.
Yes…the Lord’s Prayer is a good place to start your prayer life. But your prayer life should evolve into a more personal dialogue with the Lord.
BIO: Rev. Ralph Graves is a nationally owned keynote speaker, author, podcast host and pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Vineland.
Cornerstone Community Church in Vineland: Visit today, Services Sunday at 10:30 a.m. EST. Click HERE for more information
Become “Unstoppable.” Check out the latest books and podcasts from Rev. Ralph Graves. Click HERE for more information.
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