2012-05-26 - Prayer
The Bible frequently encourages us to pray. We are told to pray in good times and bad. We are to give thanks for our blessings. And, we are told to pray when we encounter troubles. James 5:13 says, "Is any of you in trouble? He should pray." (NIV) In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to "pray continually." Why is is so hard for us to pray? Why do we have so much trouble? Sometimes, in our hectic lives, it is hard to find a quiet time and place to pray.
What advice does Jesus give us? First, He says that we are to find a quiet place to pray. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen." Second, Jesus tells us that our prayers don't have to be fancy. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:7, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of the many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." So we are told that short prayers are effective.
Jesus' disciples observed Him praying. They wanted to learn from Him, they and asked Him to teach them how to pray. (Luke 11:1) Jesus then taught them the model prayer which we now call "The Lord's Prayer." (Luke 11:2-4)
"Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation."
In these 34 words, Jesus gives us a guide on how we are to pray. We are to acknowledge our Father in Heaven. We are to pray that His kingdom would come to Earth. We are to simply ask for what we need each day. We are to ask for forgiveness for our sins, and for help when tempted. This short prayer is an example of how we are to pray each day. Our prayers don't have to be long or wordy. We are to open our hearts to God and acknowledge Him.