Lord; Teach us to Pray?

What is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer” is well known, often recited, but how often do we really actually look at the words and work out what it is actually saying, and do you really mean what the words are saying, how simple it is to fall into a rut and run through it like an advertising jingle, or a simple song.  Now the two commonest renditions are Matt 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4, and most people recite the Matthew version, but it is good to read Luke and to understand the angle he is coming from.

Please go and get you Bible out, and read the two versions, take time, read it slowly word by word, phrase by phrase and sentence by sentence and understand what each word and phrase is actually saying.  If you have a collection of different translations, it sometimes helps to read it through with them as well to gather the points that that translator has seen as special and to contemplate it that way as well.  Now it is time to jump in and pray your own unique and personal prayers, and here is a wee prayer pattern to help you; this is from Dr William E Sangster.

Start with a minimum of 15 minutes as early in the day as possible, before the flood of tasks take your mind away from God, and start with;

Praise;Just simply Praise God. Yes actually Praise him, as simple as that seems; it is sometimes hard to get started.  Praise him that you woke up alive, warm, for cloths, food, pets, family, and friends, and yes praise him for troubles for that should always send you straight back to God for help and solutions.  Now you are started, just jump in and Praise him.

Adoration; Grow close to God, slip into Heaven’s embrace, rest your head upon his shoulder, listen to God, so be silent now.  Say, “Father, if you have anything special to say to me, will you say it now.”  Let God have a chance to speak, just like any good and proper conversation.  Do not rudely burst in, blurt out your bucket load of wants, needs and requests, then spin on your heels and disappear leaving God wondering who that was and what it was all about.

Thanksgiving; Thank him for everything, for the benefits of the good as well as the character strengthening of the bad, which usually sends us right back into the outstretched and ever open loving arms of the Almighty.

Guidance; It is in the Bible, so seek it there, His Voice, his Providential care.  Just ask him now to guide you, but you might have to surrender your will to him first so that you will obediently follow his leadings, listen, stay tuned in, this again is God’s time to direct.

Intercession; Go to God for others, pray for others, for their needs and for their Salvation.  For this you will need a Diary and lists, and then you can record the answers beside the request, God always answers by either a Yes, a No or a wait a while.

Petition; Go to God for yourself.  Do not get selfish and pray, “Give me, Give me, Give me.”  Petition for a Christ like Character, a place to witness, a Gospel work to do, at work, at home, in business, while playing Sport, wherever you are, just plead that you can always live a life that fully reflects Jesus.

Dedication; Now, re-dedicate yourself to God, re-commit your life, your assets, your talents, skills, time, your all, and then go out and do what he asks, and go where he leads and directs as an obedient servant of God.  Is God not talking?  It was once said that if God goes silent, then you had better go back and do the last task he requested that is still undone, that completed, you will get the next instalment.  If you cannot remember, then confess your sin, ask for it to be repeated, and then quickly carry out the request or action, it is called obedience.

Now at the end of the day, go over your day backwards, review your day, praise him for the good times, and then confession. Confess your failings and short comings one by one, do not get lazy and dump them into a great big tub and say, “and forgive all my sins.”  You sinned them one by one, so then confess them one by one.  Blush with shame as you consider that you a Christian actually did that, shame.  Confession is good for the soul.  Now you can go to bed clean, so now rededicate yourself once more to God, commit your life to God in service.

Here is another way to “Have this mind in you also that was in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5).  In those unused moments during the day, while waiting for a meeting, at a traffic light to change, having a hot drink, on the bus or train, in a lift, or if you are being driven, use these moments to contemplate God’s pouring these blessings upon you, and then how well you dispense these out to those around you.

Sunday; Affection, Monday; Benevolence, Tuesday; Calmness, Wednesday; Discipline, Thursday; Endurance, Friday; Faithfulness, and Saturday; Guidance.  Dr Sangster took the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and shrunk them into seven, one for each day of the week, and then made them alphabetical (a,b,c,d, etc) to make it easier to remember.  Just try it, for it is lots of fun to focus on each one of these facets of God on the specific day of the week allocated, how it fits in God’s life, and then to see how well you have this facet in your own life, if you come up short, well then just pray and intercede for more of that facet and gift in your own life, you will become a better witness and representative of Jesus.

Here is a great quote; “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.—{SC 93}  “Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things.  {DA 70}

“O let me commend my saviour to you.” Dr William E Sangster