“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’
Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: ‘Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.’ ” 11:1-2
Lord, teach us to pray. Often in Christian circles and church settings, it’s assumed that everyone is comfortable praying aloud and willing to do so. But more often than not, I come across someone who’s terrified to pray in front of other people, or think it’s too intimate of a thing to do in public.
Here, we read that the even the members of Jesus’ close inner circle weren’t sure what was expected and needed to be taught. Prayer is taught. And lucky for us, Jesus is the perfect teacher.
May your name be kept holy. Recognize who you’re talking to. I tend to keep prayer more casual, often running a fluid conversation with God throughout the day. But sometimes, we need to stop and remember who we’re speaking to. I am humbled whenever I read in the Old Testament everything that people went through just to be in God’s presence. So many rituals and rules and curtains! I am thankful for the intimacy of my relationship with God, but also need to revere and respect him the way he deserves.
May your Kingdom come soon. Petition for God to fulfill his promise and return for us! And in the meanwhile, ask for his kingdom to show up in your neighborhood, your family, your marriage, your attitude, your work place and your thought life. Moments of reconciliation, forgiveness and healing are all kingdom-like!
Give us each day the food we need. Whether it’s figuratively or literally, we should be recognizing that it is God who is the provider of meeting our needs each day. Short on patience? Ask for grace. Short on rent? Ask for financial help. God is the perfect provider, ask.
Forgive. Jesus shows us here that repentance and forgiveness should be a natural rhythm in our relationship with God and others.
Protect us from temptation. Recognize that you are being faced with a daily choice to obey God. Being in relationship with God is a daily decision and choice, and we have a lot around us that distracts and takes away from it.
Don’t be embarrassed if prayer is weird or hard for you. But don’t let that stop you from doing it, either. Do we have to pray out loud? No. Most of the time when the Bible records Jesus praying, he’s off doing it somewhere alone. But there is something beautiful and unifying about praying with other believers. I have been personally blessed, taught and changed by people praying over me, however casual the situation. A great way to start is by prayer journaling. Another way to get comfortable is praying out loud in your car by yourself. Pray with your spouse, or your kids. Pray with a close friend. If nothing else, recite the prayer above once a day out loud.
If you’re interested in growing stronger in prayer, here’s a helpful workbook written by my friend Jenn.