Some of the best gifts that children receive for Christmas are those that parents are required to assemble on Christmas Eve. With the directions spread wide open and tools laying everywhere, many gifts have been assembled more in frustration than in Christmas cheer. I have even been guilty of forsaking those instructions in favor of my technical intuition which is terrible at best. And by the way, I am fully convinced that as some evil joke, toy companies allow the kids that test market the toys to create the instructions. I digress. For whatever reason, disregarding the assembly instructions is common among frustrated Christmas Eve assemblers. Likewise, many of us have also forsaken the simple instructions that Jesus has given us to assemble a profitable prayer life. Our prayer life feels like a project with leftover screws, nuts, and bolts. Our prayer life can best be described by frustration rather than cheer.
This week we studied Luke 11:1-4. It is the first of a three week series on prayer. The passage is one of the most famous in the Bible; it is the Lord’s Prayer. In his introduction to this week’s sermon Jeff confessed that he feels sorely inadequate in his prayer life, as do many Christians. Do you feel inadequacy in your prayer life? Do you wonder how to pray? Do you feel disconnected from God? The Lord’s Prayer gives us five things to pray for that will strengthen our relationship with God. The Lord’s Prayer is not the ONLY instructions or examples on prayer in the Bible, but it gives those of us that struggle a good starting point. The first two of the five are related to God’s purposes and the last three are related to our needs. Here is a list of the five things:
Pray for God’s purposes.
1) Hallowed be your name.
2) Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Pray for our needs.
3) Give us day by day our daily bread.
4) And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
5) And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
This week, using the Lord’s Prayer as a model, pray to God that His name will be set apart and glorified in all the earth. Pray and ask God to clearly show you how you can help to spread His name. Pray that He would come quickly to begin His reign of righteousness in the earth. Pray for His help to be faithful and steadfast until His kingdom comes. Pray for your needs and the needs of those in community around you, and ask him how you can help meet those needs. Pray for discernment to recognize the difference between needs and wants. Pray and confess your sins to God and thank Him for His forgiveness, and plea with God for the courage and will to forgive those people that have wronged you. Pray that God would keep you from temptation and deliver you from evil. It is that simple. May this model be a great launching point for you into a healthy prayer life!