During my usual routine of visiting blogs and reading posts I came across this post on a site I visit regularly. The author is doing a study of 1 John and this post address 1 John 5:15:
“And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (NAS).
The author raises some interesting points about prayer and if we know that God hears us then why don’t we ‘get’ what we ask for in prayer? I don’t want to rewrite the post’s points here I’ll let you read it for yourself but I do want to share what it made me think about my own prayer life.
The author suggests that too often we pray selfishly, asking God to do this and that for us rather than praying for God’s will to be done in our lives and the world around us. It’s an interesting shift in thinking isn’t it? If I’m honest when examining my prayer life I’d have to say that I too am guilty of asking God for what I think I need or what I think God wants for me, rather than praying for God’s will to be done in my life.
This led me to reflect on Jesus’ teaching on prayer. When asked how should we pray, Jesus gave us what we call The Lord’s Prayer. This is (I think) the only time that Jesus shows us how to pray so it stands to reason that this is how we should be praying right? Yet when I looked at my own prayer life, how far my prayers are from this example. Let’s look at The Lord’s Prayer:
“Our Father who art in heaven”
This acknowledges God as God, in heaven omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. Our Father, provider, protector
“Hallowed be Your Name”
Worthy of all praise. We choose here to lift high His name in praise. Notice where praise comes in the sequence, right up front.
“You Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as in Heaven”
Recognising God’s will is supreme and that we want to see it come to pass. We need to choose to see God’s will done over our own
“Give us today our daily bread”
Asking the Lord to provide for our needs AFTER we’ve acknowledged who He is, praised Him and submitted to His will and to seeing it come. God’s will is for us to have what we need so this is praying within His will
“Forgive us our sins”
God’s will is to forgive, we’re acknowledging our place before Him and publicly stating that we need Him to forgive us
“As we forgive those that sin against us”
Here we see the other side of forgiveness. God will forgive us ‘as we’ forgive others… its a two way street. Do we dare to say he wont forgive us if we don’t forgive others…?
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
God’s will is not to harm us. Note its not to ‘keep us safe’ God never promises a ‘safe’ life but His will is that we don’t fall into temptation and He will deliver us if we submit to his will. We have free choice and we need to submit in order for Him to deliver us. It’s not a ‘get out of jail free’ card we cant do whatever we feel like and expect God to ‘rescue us’ when we get into strife
“For the Kingdom, Power and Glory are Yours now and forever”
Reminding ourselves of the way we started, God is all powerful and His will is perfect. He was forever and will be forever. Our lives need to be lived for His Kingdom, by His Power and for His Glory…
I know that’s a fairly rough deconstruction but can you see my point? How often do we pray the way Jesus taught us to pray? How often are our prayers selfish and self seeking rather than praying within God’s will and seeking His will be done in our lives? Imagine what life would be like if we truly surrendered to God’s will?
This topic is too big for one post, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how we should pray. How do you pray? Do you agree/disagree? Comment below!