Some people find prayer frustrating. They don’t know if their prayers are effective. They don’t know if God hears them. People wonder if they are saying the right things in the right way.
At one point in Jesus’s teaching, the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. They had observed Him as He often withdrew from their presence to have a time and a moment to pray to God the Father. They wanted to be able to pray effectively like Jesus prayed.
In Matthew 11: 1-4, one of Jesus’ disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So, Jesus responded to them by saying, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
I suppose many of us have repeated this prayer many times because we believe this is what Jesus wanted us to say. It is. But these are more than just words. Notice these things about prayer that you may not have seen yet.
- Our Father in heaven. It does not say my father in heaven. If you want to pray effectively, and if you want to be heard, pray for everyone more than for yourself.
- Hallowed be Your name. Acknowledge that His name alone is too awesome to be spoken of lightly. You will get His attention.
- Your will be done. Whatever may be your requests or desires, let the Lord know that you seek His will more than your own. God’s best in your life is better than your requests for your life.
- Give us this day our daily bread. Ask for provisions or heavenly manna for the people of the world and your provision will be included. Don’t put your needs ahead of the needs of others. Even if it is healing you seek, learn to seek that for the benefit of the people you know and love more than just for yourself.
- And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Acknowledge that we are imperfect people coming before a Perfect God. Seek forgiveness for your sins just as much as you have forgiven people who may be indebted to you in any way.
- And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. Ask that the Lord does not leave us alone to our own ways because this is what satan wants. Our ways will lead us to satan’s ways.
- For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. End your prayer by letting Him know He can do all and more than we can ever ask because all power and glory and kingdoms belong to Him. Let Him know we want to be His more than we want Him to be ours.
Jesus withdrew and prayed because He wanted to have a conversation with His Father as a part of communicating with God. Effective prayers are first conversations with the Lord more than they are simply communication with the Lord.
Communicating is typically one way. We say what we want to say, and we hope you hear. Communicating is impersonal. We speak, and we decide when the communication is complete.
Conversations allow for a two-way exchange of thoughts. Conversations are personal; you speak to someone who wants to hear you speak, and you listen to someone whom you want to hear from.
Learn to make your prayers more conversations than communications with the Lord. Jesus is teaching us learn to have conversations with Him. He wants to listen to what you have to say, and He wants you to hear what He says in response.
Psalm 55:17 says, “Evening, morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”
I encourage you to have conversations with the Lord often each day. If you do, He will hear your voice and He will respond. Likewise, you must be ready to hear His voice when He withdraws, and He tries to have a conversation with you during the day.
Live a Delivered Life. Love you.