photo credit: downloadyouthministry.com
I have a knack for getting distracted. I don’t even remember now what I was looking for… but I ended up coming across something I wrote a few years ago based on what is often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer isn’t a magic formula, but rather how Jesus instructed His followers to pray back in the first century. They often saw examples of religious leaders who loved to pray so that they would be seen and heard by others. Other “pray-ers” felt like the more words they used the better. But Jesus simplified all this. He made prayer something personal, intimate — between the individual and God. Something not dependent on how much is said or what is said, but rather what is truly on one’s heart. Something that is a conversation with Someone who knows and loves you. Who accepts you as you are — however your words may be expressed, either verbally or internally (in your thoughts/mind).
- Forgive us when we seek the honor and approval of others…
- Forgive us when we take for granted how much it cost You for us to be able to address you as our Abba, Father.
- Forgive us when we trivialize Your very name, using it as an exclamation or worse — instead of addressing a person.
- Help us develop habit patterns of acknowledging Your presence in every aspect of our lives.
- Sometimes we get overwhelmed when we see our world spiraling out of control. Forgive us, Father, for focusing on our circumstances… and not on You.
- Help us to encourage one another to keep our perspective on You, to not lose heart.
- Help us to not hinder what YOU want to accomplish/to get out of the way when necessary. Create within us a sensitivity to Your Spirit, Your ways.
- Forgive us when we get anxious, when we forget that You know our needs… and how to fultill them.
- Forgive us when we compare ourselves to others, when we grumble and complain, when we act like spoiled children because we haven’t gotten our way.
- Help us, dear Father, to learn to be content… and to realize that contentment has nothing to do with our circumstances but everything to do with who You are.
- Lord, we want to be strong. We want to be people who show mercy… but too often we are weak. We allow prejudice, gossip, dislike to creep into our lives. We hold onto grudges and petty issues that cause division and destroy unity.
- Forgive us, Father. Help us to admit our sin… to You and to one another. Help us to grow in our ability to show grace to others.
- Forgive us when we blow it, Lord. You know our weaknesses, our vulnerable spots… and so does our enemy. Sometimes — by not listening to You — we play into his hand. Help us to remember that You will always provide a way out when we’re tempted. Help us to be on the lookout for that.
- Forgive us when we cringe and squirm, trying to avoid Your discipline. Help us to remember that You discipline us… because You love us.
Talking with God. Sharing with Him what’s going on within our hearts, our minds. Being honest… because He’s a friend.
May we encourage one another to regularly be in honest and open communication with God and with one another… and together we’ll have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life!”
Note: you can find this teaching on prayer in two places in the New Testament: Matthew 6: 5-14 and Luke 11: 1-4.