Ways to Pray – Only One Way
There are endless resources offering techniques, rituals, and even objects illustrating the ways to pray. Judging from the extensive array of books, radio programs, and websites that address praying, one desire continues to endure through the centuries, “Lord, teach us to pray...” (Luke 11:1). In our relationship with the Creator, we long to keep our communication with the Lord personal and true. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) provides Jesus’ response as the way to achieve that communication with the Father. Since individuals are most familiar with the King James Version, or its musical counterpart, let’s consider each verse of Jesus’ prayer:
“Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” When adoration is expressed, a prayer of worship is offered. God receives our highest esteem (1 Chronicles 16:29; Isaiah 6:3). As an adoring child, we center our attention on our Father’s holiness and magnificence.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven.” As we familiarize ourselves once again with WHO we are speaking to, we acknowledge God’s authority in a prayer of submission. This way of praying is crucial if we desire answered prayer (1 John 5:14). Submission to God’s authority requires that we humble ourselves, knowing that His will may differ from our personal desires (2 Chronicles 7:14-15). Yet we choose to be obedient to His will (Luke 22:41-42). The greatest prayer of submission was modeled through Jesus Christ.
Ways to Pray – What to Say
“Give us this day, our daily bread.” Of all the ways of praying, the prayer of supplication (earnest request), is the most utilized. Critical illness, financial distress, or any dire circumstance requires assurance that God is able to rescue us (1 John 3:21-22). The prayer of supplication may be agonizing as we attempt to convey our suffering (Luke 22:44). There will also be times when we desire God’s protection, wisdom, and peace, assured that we rest securely in His care (1 Peter 5:7).
“And forgive us our sins, as we forgive our debtors.” There are two universal needs characteristic to man -- to be forgiven and to improve oneself, becoming a better person in the process. In response to our awareness of our sinful nature, we offer a prayer of repentance to our Heavenly Father (Romans 3:23-26). As we receive God’s acceptance through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, we recognize the necessity of forgiveness and repentance (Matthew 18:21-35).
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God never tempts us, nor does He isolate us from facing decisions (1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:12-15). A prayer of deliverance not only requires attitude, but demands action. Jesus faced temptation on several occasions (Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 16:23, Matthew 27:38-44), and with a submissive attitude, acted in obedience to God. In a prayer of deliverance, we are affirming that God truly is our Deliverer from all forms of evil (Romans 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:18).
Ways to Pray – Child’s Play
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” For those who know that they are children of God, the anticipation of spending eternity with Him is glorious (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
As we pray with adoration, recognizing the authority of our Heavenly Father, we rest in the assurance that His children are His highest priority. God’s unconditional grace and mercy guarantee our acceptance through Jesus Christ. The prayer of faith acknowledges all that the Everlasting Father was, is, and will be as promised in His Word. And with our “amen,” we affirm that Our Father is trustworthy.
Child-like faith is all that God desires in the way we pray. Don’t worry about how you phrase your prayer. It’s your voice that God longs to hear.