The Lord’s Prayer

when you don’t know what to pray

Prayer is an unbelievably important part of life.  It is the primary means by which we communicate with God.  There are other means of communication, but prayer directly connects us with our Father.  We are able to express things to Him that we feel we can not tell anyone else.  He is always listening, even when we are not kneeling with our eyes closed and hands clasped.

Sometimes, we avoid praying because we do not know what to say.  This is an easy trap to fall into, but God knows why we do this, and He is not upset.  Because there are other ways of connecting with God besides prayer, we are still able to have a fulfilling relationship with God without being in a state of constant, traditional prayer.

Why should we pray to God?  Well, Jesus prayed to God, so we should, as well.  That’s the simple answer, but in order to have the best relationship possible, prayer is essential.  We must make time to sit down with God, free from distractions, and talk with Him.  This is a very special time to a child of God, because it gives us the full opportunity to clearly hear what God has to say and to appropriately respond to Him.  Setting aside quiet time to pray creates an environment where God’s still, small voice can be loud and booming.  It is impossible to have a full connection with God if the activities of the world around you hustle and bustle your focus away.

What should we say?  Whatever comes to your mind.  Whatever is in your heart.  Therapists encourage their patients to talk about their problems, because it helps to get things off our chests.  If you express your concerns to God, He will help you to come to a conclusion about your problems.  He loves you, and there is nothing you can’t tell Him.  Your Father is comforting and nonjudgmental. besides, Jesus tells us that God already knows what our needs are, and, in God’s own time and in strict accordance with His Plan, He will provide for us.  God does not let even the sparrows starve, and we are worth much more to God than a sparrow.

God loves us and understands us so fully that He knows we may be at a loss for words from time to time.  God Gave Jesus the perfect words to pray when we have no words.  He told us in Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB):

“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

*For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

 

There is also a version in the Gospel of Luke (11:2-4 NASB)

 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:

[b]Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
‘Give us each day our [c]daily bread.
‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

 

Jesus gave us a great starting point.  Just the bare essentials are necessary to connect with God.  Looking at Jesus’s words, above, we see the necessary elements of our prayers to God:

  • Praise – We should celebrate the fact that we serve a loving God!  We should be beaming with pride that God sent His Son to show that a personal relationship with God is not only possible, but that is is a life-changing experience that leads God’s children to eternal life.
  • Love – The prayer begins by addressing God as our Father, because we have a personal relationship with Him that is based on noting other than love for one another.  He is not just the Creator of the Universe, he is also our loving Father, and when we approach God as our Father, we will experience a deeper relationship with Him.
  • Humility – We are coming to the King of the Universe for a request.   If we are arrogant, God will not hear us.  Instead, we should ask for our daily bread.  “Our daily bread” refers to the most basic necessities needed to live.  We should not treat God like a genie, who will grant our wishes to be rich, powerful, or famous.  Those wishes do not come from the heart, but from the cares of the world.  God provides us with the bare essentials, and it is up to us to create from there.
  • Forgiveness – Our main goal in speaking to God is to understand what He wants from us.  Because God is holy, in order to be in a complete relationship with Him, we must not have any impediments.  Unforgiven sins against God or against your brothers or sisters create tension in our relationship with God.  We must ask for forgiveness from God and freely forgive those who have sinned against us.  If we can not, then we can not expect to have a good relationship with God.  Grudges against those who have sinned against us distance ourselves from them and from God.  God loves all of His children, even the chief among sinners.  If we can not get along with each other, we can not get along with God.

God is good, and there is no reason we can not be in communion with Him all throughout our day.  Keep in mind that there is a place and time for silent, meditative prayer, and it has its certain benefits.  But, we should make our relationship with God our primary focus.  Therefore, we should talk to Him as much as possible.  We should listen even more intently.  God has all the answers, even if there seems to be no solutions to the problems we bring to God, at the very least, God will give us the strength to face what lies ahead, the faith the do the right thing, and a peace that overwhelms the cares and anxieties of our daily lives.

 

*Some versions of the Lord’s prayer do not include this last line (referred to as a doxology).  More info on the Lord’s Prayer doxology

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