One of the most important things a Christians should do is pray. A huge factor of growing spiritually is spending a lot of time in prayer. Yet for some reason, some Christians go without prayer for days. They won’t go to God to ask for provision for their needs. They won’t go to God for prayer requests, either for themselves or for others. They won’t go to God searching for answers that only He can give us.
Just to give you an example of what the power of prayer is, there is a story in Mark 9:14-29. I truly love this story. A man brings his son to Jesus for healing. He was mute and filled with an unclean spirit. The father explains how he went to the disciples for help, but no one was able to cast the demon out of the boy. So he turns to the only one who can save his son: Jesus. So when the man takes his son to Jesus, the demon seizes the boy once again. In Mark 9:22-24 (ESV), it says, “‘But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’” And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!'”
I quote the father of the child in times where I doubt. ‘I believe, but help my unbelief.’ shows that he believed, but also say that he had some doubts. So, the father of the boy cried out asking for help to overcome that doubt. Jesus then casts out the spirit and the boy is free and clean. After He does this, Jesus and the disciples talk privately. The disciples ask Jesus why they weren’t able to cast out the spirit from the boy. And Jesus responds in Mark 9:29 (ESV), “‘This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.'”
This just goes to show that even the disciples couldn’t cleanse the boy of the evil spirit, despite the fact they walked with Jesus for the longest time. Jesus says that prayer is the answer. We must turn to God for help and for out needs. But how do we talk to the creator of everything? For some, the concept of prayer is intimidating. For some, you might not know where to start. Well Jesus left us instructions for everything we need. Here is what Jesus had to say about prayer in Matthew 6:5-13.
Beginning in Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV), it reads, “‘And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.'”
It is not the public prayer that Jesus is condemning. It is those who pray in public with a pretentious manner. The internal motivation is the main focus here. Praying in public does have its values. However, when we pray away from people and isolate ourselves between us and God, we allow ourselves to put more focus on God.
Matthew 6:7-8 (ESV) says, “‘And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.'”
When pagans would pray, they would repeat the names of their gods or repeat the same words over and over without thinking of what they were saying. So Jesus is prohibiting mindless and mechanical repetition. Instead, He says that prayer should flow from the heart.
Matthew 6:9 (ESV) reads, “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…'”
This is the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, and it is important to note that the first three petitions deal with putting God first. This specific line starts off by calling to the Father in heaven. The idea of praying to God as our Father truly shows the authority of a loving father. However, it also reminds us that being in Heaven, God is truly sovereign over all things. It then gives God the highest honor and sets Him apart as holy. I believe it is truly important to always put God first and to exalt, honor, and glorify Him.
God’s Kingdom and Will
Matthew 6:10 (ESV) reads, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”
This next line explains that Christians should live and pray to see God’s Kingdom advance. Today, God’s Kingdom is Christ’s sovereignty in the hearts and lives of all believers as well as the reigning presence in the Church. When we pray, we should pray that the Church increasingly show His love in obedience, honor Him with good works for all people, and proclaim the Gospel of His Kingdom to the ends of the earth.
The next petition speaks of God’s will. Jesus prays that just as heaven experiences His will, so will people on earth. When we pray, we need to understand that it is His will that’ll be done. Even if you don’t see it at the time, His will is for our own good. Something I do when I pray for prayer requests or my future wants is to understand and accept that ultimately, it is God’s will that will eventually come to pass.
Prayer for Provision
Matthew 6:11 (ESV) reads, “Give us this day our daily bread…”
This verse transitions the focus from God to the needs of His people. Notice how Jesus says daily bread. He doesn’t say ‘Give us this day ______.’ God doesn’t give us a blank check, but He will provide for the needs of His children. In today’s world, people tend to mix needs with wants. We have to be careful with this. Can God give us what we want sometimes? Absolutely. Will he always? Not necessarily. But God will provide for His children their basic daily and physical needs, and many times even more than that.
Prayer for Forgiveness
Matthew 6:12 (ESV) reads, “… and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…”
This next part is once again, a very important aspect of prayer. We need to understand that no one is perfect except for Jesus Christ. Everyone has sinned and rebelled against God. It is human nature to do so. So when we pray, it is important we ask for forgiveness. Everyone has something to ask forgiveness for.
On top of that, we also have to forgive our debtors, the ones who sinned against us. After the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 6:14-15 (ESV), “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” If we can’t forgive other, God won’t forgive us. That is why forgiveness must not just be something that we ask God for, but also a part of our daily life.
Prayer of Deliverance
The final lines of the Lord’s Prayer says this in Matthew 6:13 (ESV), “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.“
As humans, we will be tempted to sin. We were once slaves to sin, but Christ choose us and delivered us and freed us. Galatians 5:1 (ESV) says this, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” We are no longer slaves to sin; we are able to stand up to resist slavery. We do this through the Holy Spirit.
Another great verse that talks about temptation is this in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV), “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Any temptation that you are going through has occurred to another person. He will not let us be tempted beyond the ability to endure it and He will give you a way of escape. You might not be able to escape temptation alone, but through God you can. That is why we must pray that God leads us away from the snare of temptation and out of evilness.
When Jesus left the earth, He had already given us everything we needed when it came to instructions and commands. All you have to do is turn to the Word of God. Seeing as how important prayer is to Christian living, Jesus left us instruction on how to do exactly that. Of all things, Jesus prayed these specific key points. That alone says how important it is to pray these things. I hope that you learned something or saw something in a different view point.