“Pastor, I can’t really say I know how to pray. Please can you teach me how to pray?”
The disciples of Jesus had this problem. In fact, they used a similar line when they approached Jesus to teach them how to pray. Clearly, they must have observed Jesus’ prayer life and concluded that there was something missing about their own personal prayer life.
Sometimes they saw him agonizing in prayer with sweat pouring down, and some other time he’d just seperate himself from them to pray. Believe me, there’s nothing more frustrating than watching someone do something that shatters your ideologies about that thing. To them maybe they spent few minutes reciting a few things and called it prayer, so what Jesus was doing was not anything near what they knew to be prayer. And so they concluded that what they knew couldn’t have been called prayer, they had to ask Jesus to teach them how to pray.
And while you’d think that Jesus would give a humorous response – that we can pray anyhow, he actually taught them how to pray. And this tells me that believers can be taught how to pray.
So Jesus began the teaching…
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
For a child who doesn’t respect or have any regard for his biological or earthly parents, praying may be a difficult task, because according to Jesus’s lesson, prayer is a communication between a heavenly father and his earthly children. Just as you can sit with your earthly father and make requests, you can engage your faith in making requests to your heavenly father. The difference is just the location and visibility. While your earthly father can be met physically, your heavenly father can only be met through faith.
Yesterday I taught you about regular and spontaneous prayers. A spontaneous prayer usually would not follow a particular order, neither would it follow Jesus’s teaching about prayer, and that’s because it’s often sponsored by an inner witness, the Spirit of God. A burden just comes upon you and you’d just find yourself praying, no time for protocols at all. Also, if you hit an emergency during the day, all these protocols wouldn’t be required, raise a quick prayer of petition and move on. I’m not saying it’s a bad practice to follow these protocols no matter the circumstance, but rather spontaneous prayers do not require protocols.
I also mentioned that spontaneous prayers cannot be relied upon to grow your spiritual life, and that’s because it’s not every time that you’d have an emergency or that the Holy Spirit will put a burden within you. The prayer pattern that will grow your spiritual life must be regular. And so what Jesus is teaching is for those who want to maintain a regular prayer life.
Now that we’ve cleared that, begin your regular prayer by hallowing the name of your heavenly Father. Which literally means you should shout His various names with joy in your heart. Think of all the names of God you can remember and hallow those names as you commence your prayer.
“My heavenly father, I come to you this morning in the name of Jesus. You are the Ageless God, Reliable God, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Shikenu, Alpha Omega, Bishem Adonai, Elshadia, Elohim, The Lion of the tribe of Judah, The Almighty, The Ancient of Days, my Dependable Father, Olowogbogboro (That’s right, you can hallow His names in your dialect)”
At this point, even you who is hallowing His name has already caught fire in your heart. Hallowing His name alone can take you over an hour, because His names are innumerable. If you don’t know His names, you’d be amazed what a Google search for the names of God will bring.
Hallowing His name also involves thanking Him for what He has done both for you and for the world you live in, and then praising Him for the details He put into doing everything He has done. I talked about this yesterday, I recommend you read it up. Hallowing His name in thanksgiving and praise is the surest way to secure His presence during prayer. That’s actually what Psalms 100:4 tells us. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His court with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless his name”
Once you’re done hallowing His name, the next thing is to pray about His agenda on the earth. For example, God desires that the world will come to repentance, so you can pray about that. Pray about that your colleague or neighbour that is not saved yet. Pray about your uncle or aunty that is involved in malicious activities. Pray about the advancement of His church. Just pray about anything that advances His kingdom.
And then you can pray about your desires for that day. Everything Jesus mentioned from verses 11 to 13 are personal prayer points and there’s no particular order, neither is there a compulsion in praying them. If you feel you don’t need forgiveness, then that’s not something to pray about. If you feel you don’t need daily bread, then it doesn’t need to be prayed. Of course, every body should always pray that God will not lead us into temptation.
My point is, once you’re done hallowing His name and praying about His kingdom, you’re free to do anything else from that point till you close. You can pray for your spiritual growth, that the fire of the Spirit of God will continue to burn in your heart. You can pray to be used by Him.
Personally, presently my personal requests don’t take time at all except I’m praying for my spiritual life, I spend most of the time hallowing His name and praying about His kingdom. That’s how it should be. If we’re to go by what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, we really don’t need to pray about our personal needs after we’ve prayed for the kingdom, because all our personal needs would be added to us as a reward for praying for the Kingdom. Isn’t that powerful?
I hope this has brought enlightenment to someone.
Remain ever blessed!