Teach us how to pray

Teach us how to pray

This, then, is how you should pray:

‘ “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give use today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Matthew 6: 9-13

Prayer is an incredible privilege that we all too often take for granted. This ministry does not function without prayer, and none of our lives as Christians can function without prayer. Someone once said that a Christian who lives without prayer is like someone trying to live without breathing. It cannot be done if we are serious in wanting a relationship with God. There are many passages in the bible about prayer, and many things we could say about prayer. Each element of what Jesus taught in the prayer above is a jewel meriting closer investigation and consideration which are beyond the limitations of this short article. However, the model Jesus gave his disciples, and us, is one which is so important to us all, and this ministry in particular.

There are two basic components to this model of prayer – there is praise and there is petition or provision (or requests). Both however link to one component – Our Father, Lord God Almighty. Each component can then be broken down further depending on the element of praise or petition. But for our purposes we can only cover the key parts and how these relate to our prayer needs as a ministry.

As we establish our prayers and requests as a ministry we recognise the importance of who we are praying to, how we have been given that privilege of praying, acknowledging in praise who we are praying to, and acknowledging our utter dependence in our prayers of petition and provision. We also recognise that whilst prayer as Jesus taught should not be about public display but quiet and private connection with God, it is also important to acknowledge the collective terms he used – our, us etc. which shows an expectation of connecting in prayer as a collective or community.


So, who are we praying to?

We should never forget who we are praying to. It is the Lord God Almighty, the creator of all things, the ruler of all. It is his name which is hallowed, worshiped, glorified. He dwells in heaven and is King of all. His will, will be done no matter what anyone else thinks or tries to achieve otherwise. This is an incredible thing to realise that when we pray we have access to the Sovereign God. There is no higher authority. No one can do anything that he does not allow. We can have confidence when we pray that not only are we praying to the Almighty, but we can call him Father, because he loves us as his children, and as his children we have access that no others have.


So, how do we have access to call God, Father?

Well, not everyone gets to call God, Father. Only those who have been saved by Jesus Christ and who trust in him as their Lord and Saviour. That is an incredible truth. Jesus told us that no one comes to the Father except through him. So, we come, saved and secure in Jesus, knowing that our prayers will be heard.

So, how do we pray?

As we have already said above there are two main elements to how Jesus taught us to pray. We must always bring our praise to God. He is worthy of all praise, honour and glory and we were created to worship him. In our prayers for the ministry we have to always give God praise and thanks for his wonderful, gracious mercy in our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters. He is the one changing lives through his Holy Spirit, and we must always acknowledge that. And our prayers must seek the Kingdom rule of God in more and more lives until that day when all earthly kingdoms are swept away and the Kingdom of Almighty God reigns forever. That must be our first priority and the order of things.

But Jesus also reminds us to pray for our needs, our petitions and provision. This includes the collective needs, and we are reminded that our needs are daily. Whether it is our physical provisions in terms of food, shelter, health, or it is our spiritual needs in our brokenness where we need forgiveness and empowerment from the Holy Spirit to continue against trials and temptations. This reminds us that we have nothing without the loving blessing that comes from God. We are nothing without his work in our lives.

As we have already shared we cannot cover every aspect of prayer in this short article, but it is important to share this model Jesus taught to help focus on the importance it has to our ministry and lives as Christians. Our whole dependence is on the Sovereign will, authority and power of Almighty God. He is our provider and protector. Our Father. Our prayers for ourselves and others must always focus on this. To Him be the Glory for ever and ever. Amen.