Let’s start this post with a confession.
In my Christian faith one of my greatest struggles is prayer. Now, prayer is communicating with God. And when you put it like that it doesn’t seem as complicated as it feels sometimes. However, when you fall into the trap of comparing yourself to quote on quote “professional prayer warriors” it’s easy to get intimidated and question whether or not you know how to pray. Now going back to my point about prayer, I find it easy to talk to God like I’m talking to any other friend. Like “yo, my g”. Ok, I don’t really talk to any of my friends like that, but you get my point. Talking to God should be effortless therefore not forceful, authentic therefore not so rigid and pleasurable therefore a choice not a prison sentence. It should be effortless, authentic and pleasurable because at the end of the day God is essentially and ultimately our best friend.
I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me – John 15: 15
Understandably, some of you may say that it’s not that black and white. Yes, God is our best friend (wild and beautiful reality). Nevertheless, he is still God. As a result, our human insecurities are likely to kick in and make us overthink whether or not we are approaching such a natural and common act – communication, in the right manner. Well this post aims to help you out in moments like this. Rather than allowing these insecurities to cripple you and prevent you from praying all together, there is a tool that can be used to save you from this moment. And that is the guideline presented in Matthew 6:9-13 which we all know as the fathers prayer.
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one”
Hallowed be your name
To hallow the name of the Lord means to value, regard and honour him as holy. This is an act that is carried out within the core and depths of our hearts. Therefore, when we come to God in prayer, we are not to lose sight of his righteous and sovereign nature. But we are expected to recall, recognise and praise him for this.
Your Kingdom come, your will be done. As it is in heaven.
There are so many things that can be said about this. However, the key thing that jumps out to me is obedience. Asking God to allow his will to be done even though you don’t know what his will is. Meaning you don’t know if it may contrast or compliment your plans and dreams. This aspect of the prayer is blind obedience birthed from true faith. Faith in the promises of God, one of them being “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11
Give us today our daily bread.
Daily bread is a representation of our daily needs. So yes, food, money, shelter etc. Whatever is necessary for you to survive, we turn to God to provide it for us. No prayer and no need is too small and minor for him. He wants you to confide in him before you turn to anyone else. It may not even necessarily be a physical need, maybe a mental need. Such as peace of mind, anxiety or depression. Let God know your deepest needs. Yes he is omniscient therefore he already knows it, but he wants you to call on him anyway. “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God” – Philippians 4:6
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Debts are a representation of our sin, therefore acts we committed that were contrary to the will of God. As a result, created a painful distance between us and God. Nonetheless, don’t misinterpret “debts” for God expecting us to pay him back for our wrongdoing because that’s impossible. This aspect reminds us of the need to ask God for forgives when we sin against him. This does not mean that we should take advantage and intentionally sin and ask for forgiveness later (don’t mock God). But it does mean that God is merciful and he is willing and ready to forgive us.
BUT! BUTTY! BUT! BUT! We are expected, commanded and required to forgive others that do things against us. Whether it be your best friend or your favourite enemy. We have to forgive, it doesn’t matter what they did, how long they did it for and how long its been since they did it. We have no choice but to truly forgive. Because, how can you expect God to forgive you when you don’t forgive others? So yeah, that grudge with cobwebs that you’ve hidden in the depths of your heart, you need to fetch for it and truly forgive.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Who knew that we could ask God to save us from the act of sin before we even sin?! Meaning that God can prevent us from wasting time sinning and wasting more time wallowing in guilt. If you think about it, sin is truly a waste of our time! And it’s actually kind of boring, it lacks any sense of creativity because its always the same cycle. However, the strange thing is that for a species that has such a short attention span and low tolerance for excessive repetition we keep falling back into the same cycles!
Well we can take this to the Lord in prayer. Because if there is any prayer that God is bound to answer it is definitely the one that consists of the avoidance of carrying out acts that crucify him to the cross. Again and again and again. And if that doesn’t tug at your heart just a little bit. I am very concerned!
So when I was studying this prayer and listened to a teaching by uncle John Piper. He said something that flawed me and I’m going to end this article with it. Where he states that “give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation” these are requests. This is because people get destroyed by dying from lack of food, despairing for lack of forgiveness or by being destroyed by sin and temptation. As a result, these are crucial for enabling us to hallow the Lord in ourselves (personal) and in the world (global).
If you feel like you don’t know how to pray, use this manual as a guideline.
Stay blessed and stay tuned,