Daily Devotional – Day 5
“This Is How You Should Pray”
Read: Matthew 6:9-13
Directions are a good thing. Every Christmas and birthday for my kids I eventually resort to the directions for assembling gifts. Notice I said “eventually resort to”. There’s something in me that wants to try it on my own as if I have enough experience and knowledge to assemble every toy known to mankind. Directions tell how to do things well. Directions usually come from the one who knows what the final product will look like. They write them out of experience, eliminating extra or missteps into a well-organized and streamlined set of instructions.
Matthew 6:9-13 is commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus was no stranger to prayer. Actually, this more appropriately should have been named the disciple’s prayer. It’s the model prayer the Lord Jesus gave us to shape the way we pray. Jesus’ prayed what’s known as the High Priestly Prayer in John 17 and also His famous prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42). What it is named shouldn’t be the main issue though. It is a guide for our prayer life.
Jesus never intended for us to pray it verbatim although that is perfectly acceptable. God isn’t into mechanical and repetitious prayers. Just a few verses earlier in Matthew 6:7 He instructs His disciples not to babble like the pagans in their prayers. The prayer isn’t powerful when merely precisely recited. It is powerful because it helps us prioritize and organize our prayer life after we have entered our “prayer closet” to have an intimate one-on-one time with the Lord (Matthew 6:6). The Lord’s Prayer describes our intimate personal relationship with our Father.
The Lord’s Prayer starts with “Our Father, hallowed (or holy) is Your Name” to remind us we go into our prayer closets to ask Him for His presence not His presents. When was the last time you started prayer with praising the Lord? Remember, it’s a prayer closet, not a supply closet. Does the Lord supply? Absolutely, but He is the Supply. We seek Him, not what He gives. The Lord’s Prayer prompts us to seek the Lord first, not things. Typically, a supply closet has shelves in it that hold things. All too often we open the doors of what should be a prayer closet, reach in to grab what we need off the shelves, and close the door back. All while we wonder where the presence of God has gone in our lives. It’s time we took the shelves down and simply sat face to face with the Lord. He just doesn’t supply – He is our supply! We must learn how to enjoy the presence of the Lord and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
- Has your prayer time just become a “to do list” for the Lord?
- What if the only communication you had with your spouse was always asking them to do something for you? What kind of relationship would that be? How does this apply to your relationship with the Lord?
- Do you pray for His Kingdom’s purpose to be revealed in your heart and reflected in your actions?
- How often do you go to prayer only when you have a need? Is prayer only a time of announcing our needs?
- What balance (or percentage) should we give to praise, confessing sin, giving thanks, and requesting needs be met in prayer?
Lord, teach me to pray. You are too amazing and wonderful to comprehend but I want to know You more. Help me see You want my heart, not my words. Show me how to connect with you in my prayer time and make it honoring to You. Thank you for giving me The Lord’s Prayer as a guide to grow in our relationship. Teach me to understand and use it effectively as I spend time with You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Church Prayer Request:
Pray for Redfield as we plant a church there this fall. Ask the Lord what your part is. Perhaps you are to attend and serve there. Maybe you are to stay at the main church campus and serve in place of those who leave and go to Redfield. I want to challenge you to start giving to the Redfield building fund. Ask the Lord to use you in a great way to build His church.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.