The Privilege of Prayer
Our fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ is principally expressed through our prayers. They give evidence of our relationship with Him. He not only speaks with us through His word but has also entrusted us with the amazing privilege of communicating with Him in prayer.
Scripture provides us with multiple accounts of Jesus’ own prayer life. The better acquainted we are with these records, the more we realize that Jesus treated prayer as a holy habit. He regularly prayed in the early-morning hours to lay the day’s plans before His Father. Praying in a quiet and solitary place enabled Jesus to then follow His Father’s voice over the noise of the crowds and even the requests of His disciples. Prayer formed the context or framework of all the decisions He made.
Jesus’ prayer routine prompted His disciples to plead, “Lord, teach us to pray.” They were apparently struck by His intensity and focus, which created a hunger in their hearts for similar intimacy with the Father.
In response to their request, Jesus instructed His disciples not to “heap up empty phrases” or to “think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7). In other words, in praying we are not to babble or drone on. Instead, in the example that Jesus then gave—namely, the Lord’s Prayer—we discover that God’s spiritual children are free to address God simply and directly as their heavenly Father.
And what are we to pray for? To begin with, we are to ask for God’s name to be rightly honored, for Him to bring His kingdom in us and around us, and for Him to supply our daily needs. We are to admit our need for daily repentance, the necessity of extending forgiveness to others, and our dependence on God for dealing with temptation. In our prayers, Jesus explained, we are to seek and ask to see God’s glory and grace in the midst of everyday life.
In our Christian pilgrimage, there is arguably nothing more important—or more difficult to maintain—than a meaningful prayer life. But here is help. If Jesus, the divine Son of God, needed to pray, then so do you and I. That humbling thought should drive us to our knees. And once there, we can freely employ the Lord’s Prayer as an aid in our own prayer. God has given you the great privilege of approaching Him in prayer and addressing Him as Father. He stands ready to listen and to help. Be sure to treat prayer as a holy habit and never as an optional extra.
The Lord's Prayer
1Now Jesus1 was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread,2
4and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence3 he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for4 a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
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