One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: ’Father, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:1-4, NIV)
Many Christians feel inadequate in their prayer life. If you asked numerous folks what they could do to enhance their spirituality, most would say, “Pray more.” But how much prayer do you need? How much is required?
Some think that God wants us to pray for at least an hour. If we were devout, we would pray all night like Jesus often did. Elijah withdrew to a desolate cave to pray where the earth shook, whirlwinds roared and God’s audible voice spoke to him. We think that if we were worth our salt, we would pray and kick the devil a few times, heal the sick and raise the dead. We feel defeated before we even start because we don’t pray like that.
The disciples shared our feelings and asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Similarly, we need to ask God to show us how to pray. His answer may surprise you. The Lord gave us a 34-word model prayer, four brief sentences to live by. A kick start prayer to ignite your day with power, purity, and grace. It’s really not difficult.
Our model prayer begins as Jesus points us toward the Father. To “hallow” His name means to set it apart as holy, to humble yourself and revere our Father, the most-high God. The Lord is truly omnipotent in power and loving as a father with a newborn baby. Oh, how many would run to prayer if we grasped the love of our Father!
Second, Jesus invites us to demand that His kingdom come now. Jesus is telling us to establish God’s kingship and authority over our lives each day. We can invoke the power of God to rule over the events of our lives. Pray that God’s power and authority reign over your family, home, and job. Yield everything to your King.
Third, Jesus calls us to pray, “Give us each day our daily bread.” I wish I could have back all the moments I wasted worrying over bills and finances. I would probably live to be 100. Too many people worry about what might happen instead of trusting God’s promise of provision. Believe that God will provide for you. Pray this one simple petition to the Lord, give your finances to God and live in peace.
I remember reading one evening about a poor missionary. He would sit at the dinner table with his family and pray for a blessing over their supper – even when there was none. During his prayer, someone would knock at the door to give them food. I told this story to my wife and as I was speaking, someone knocked. I opened the door and there stood a couple, each carrying two bags of groceries. I stood overwhelmed by the goodness of God. The Lord will provide if you ask.
Fourth, forgive. How we need forgiveness and how we hate to give it. Without forgiveness, no person will see God. It is the crux of Christianity. Everyone must come to the Lord through God’s forgiveness. The ultimate test of your faith becomes your ability to forgive others as God forgave you.
Finally, pray that God will lead you away from evil. We will walk thousands of steps today, each with a variety of choices. Ask the Father to guide you to his best and expect his subtle answers. God watches over you – look in his direction.
Jesus made prayer simple. Start with these four statements of 34 words that require less than a minute. Then step back and marvel at what God can do with you.
“Holy Spirit, help me pray according to God’s pattern. Empower me to trust God will meet my needs. I confess my doubt and ask you to deliver me from my weakness. Deliver me from temptation as I confess and renounce its hold on me. Enable me to forgive, as God has forgiven me. You are my source of strength and I receive it now. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”
Dave Holland pastored churches for 38 years before retiring in Destin. He recently released his new devotional-Bible study based on the Gospel of Luke titled “Prodigal Jesus, Journey Back to the Father” You can get a copy of this book from his website, DaveHolland.org, or at Amazon.com. Pastor Dave is available to preach and teach in churches and conferences. Contact him at DavidvHolland54@gmail.com.
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