When a parent is teaching their children different life skills such as riding a bicycle, playing the piano, learning to skate, how to eat properly, etc., they normally bring encouragement, motivation, and show the basic way for the child as they learn how to develop correct habits to be successful.
One of the greatest sermons of all time took place on the Mount of Beatitudes that overlooks Capernaum, with the Sea of Galilee shining in the sunlight. This is where Jesus, in teaching His disciples, covers a range of different subjects including prayer.
He clearly didn’t need the “how-to” because He goes right to our hearts and behavior of what not to do. He instructs His disciples that prayer has nothing to do with public performance, our volume, our pious repetition, or telling our Lord what He should do. Instead, we are to be in our prayer closet, intimate with the Lord, and as much as it is talking, it is learning to listen as communication is a two-way process.
We need to remind ourselves that He knows what we need before we even ask. It is our personal prayer life that He is dealing with that is far different from our corporate church prayer life, which is to be encouraged, including praying for one another. That is where the power of prayer comes from as we do so with humility and humbleness.
What Jesus was teaching was based on the Lord’s Prayer, which most of us are familiar with but have not fully digested its full value and meaning. For example, “Our Father,” although that is what I call Him, does not refer to I or me, but we and ours as in family. “In Heaven” is a place of perfection free from our sorrow and sickness, that I trust we would we all desire to go to. “Hallowed" is a place of honour and perfection as He has the keys to life and death.
“Your name” refers to His holiness, reverence, and presence as His name is everything. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,” gives us a clear understanding of why He was sent and why He came in total submission to His, our, Father. The Kingdom is everything and where God’s will is done contrary to our desire of our will. “Our daily bread,” which is basic to our daily life, and which we are to learn to deal with daily as we are not to be anxious for tomorrow.
“Forgive our debts” are a sin of omission where trespass is a sin of commission. “Temptation and the evil one,” God never entices us into evil, but we have an adversary where we need Divine protection and we are encouraged to pray for it. “Forgive” we have a problem forgetting sins against us, but we can forgive as sin is an act of the will. He forgives out of His grace, holiness, mercy, and love.
While the Lord’s Prayer was the initial start of Jesus teaching on prayer, He exhibited while on earth that He was always in communication with His Father, and we are encouraged to do likewise. Our Lord loves to hear from us what is in our heart and mind in the simplest honest manner.
As a rule, I do not highlight a particular church but, in writing about prayer, I would be remiss in not encouraging the prayers of all for the Upper Pine Gospel Chapel congregation in Rose Prairie, whose building was destroyed by fire on January 13. They are searching for a Pastor, a temporary building for their services, and their successful Awana weekly meetings. Please pray for them.
John Grady lives and writes in Fort St. John