So here goes a great journey into the meaning of the Lord’s prayer. This could possible start sounding like blah, blah, blah… only because everyone has taught on this prayer. Confession… I will probably not say anything revolutionary or new but hopefully this will be a reminder of the depth of Jesus’ teaching concerning prayer.
These articles are written with a particular person in mind. For those of you out there who struggles in a big way to engage in a steady and profitable prayer life… this goes out to you. I salute all those who fall short, as I often do myself, in having a successful prayer life. Do you describe your prayer life with uplifting terms such as: shallow, empty, quick, boring, struggling, rare, or confusing? Maybe you have said, “I’m going to get around to it soon”, “sometimes I pray and sometimes I don’t”, “but when I do it’s always, ‘God, help! ‘” Well then, welcome to the club! Most of us out there struggle with prayer. Andrew Murray wrote in With Christ in the School of Prayer,
“At first there is no work that appears
so simple; later on, none
that is more difficult.”
And why do we find it so difficult? Well the simple answer is the Satan tinkles in his little underoos (hopefully you know what those are, just in case you don’t chick HERE … I prefer to think of him wearing the Wonder Woman ones) when the people of God engage in meaningful prayer. So, needless to say he does everything in his power to distract and discourage from us doing so. But, if you can press through and find a way to pray like never before you will find that God’s promises will begin to unfold before you in a beautiful array of blessings.
We often run from prayer simply because we don’t know what in the world were doing. Not that it is rocket science, but remember the enemy distracting you thing? Bingo! Do you actually know what prayer is? It’s nothing more than having an intimate conversation with God, like you would your spouse. I always like to imagine I am sitting across from Him at a bistro table sharing a cup of coffee and having conversation. Yeah, some of you uptight ppl out there are having a conniption fit because somehow you think I’m diminishing the holiness of God. Well, I believe God is close. Close to me!
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… (James 4:8)
He is a God that can be approached and drawn close to. He is my father, best friend and lover of my soul. So you just go ahead and shout at Him from a distance as I enjoy my Cafe Mocha rubbing elbows with the God of this universe!
Which finally brings me to the Lord’s Prayer…
Jesus had just finished up praying and after doing so one of the disciples strolls up to Him and asks him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Whichever disciple this was he must have drawn the short straw. Notice he didn’t ask for Jesus to teach “me” to pray, but rather “us” to pray. He was asking in behalf of all the disciples. You can almost see the timidity in his face. These disciples had grown up in the Jewish traditions which would have required them to pray three times a day and now after all these years they are essentially telling Jesus they don’t know how to pray.
Is it that they didn’t know how to pray or that they saw something remarkably different in how He prayed? It’s fair to say that what they witnessed in the private prayer life of Jesus and the resulting public display of power that pressed this ever important plea to learn how to pray.
Jesus responds by giving these men what we refer to the Lord’s Prayer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind reciting this prayer, but that is not what He had in mind. Mattew records Jesus as saying,
” Pray then like this:” -Matthew 6:9
He was giving them a guide or blueprint, if you will, to guide our prayer lives. If you disect it you will find seven petitions, three of which is towards God and the last for our dealings with man.
I can’t wait to dig into these specific blueprints for your prayer life. Starting in my next post we will deal with prayer that is directed at God Himself. In doing so we direct the focus where it should be… on Him.