After a three-part accounting of blessings to close 2017, let us now move forward, and upward, and commence the New Year.
There is something about new that is nice and exciting. It’s possibly the idea of starting over or with a clean slate. But God gives us a fresh new chance to start over, everyday, not only during the first month of every year.
May we have this perspective daily because our God is gracious and not condemning. He is near to those who seek His face and His help. Truly, “Great is thy faithfulness. His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23).
As such, why don’t we start 2018 with a discussion on how to pray since it is through prayer that we communicate to God our pains, pleas and plans?
But first, how important is prayer anyway? It is so important that even Jesus, the Son of God, who is also God, prayed. If Jesus himself prayed, how much more us? We learn about this significance in Luke 11:1. Remember that Jesus was the model to His disciples, and everything He did was watch and therefore must be done as well. Jesus remains to be our model today. If Jesus did, we should too. Jesus modeled His dependence to The Father through prayer.
How do we pray then? Is there a formula? There is none really. We can even pray without words and still God hears and understands. However, a pattern is taught by Jesus. We know it as The Lord’s Prayer or “Our Father” to most.
Our church, CCF has suggested a model in praying that is dissected from Matthew 6:9 to 13: “Acts” or Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.
First we praise God for who He is, then we confess sins revealed to us before expressing our thanksgiving to the Lord for His faithfulness, graciousness and generosity. Finally, we seek supplication or simply put, asking.
We are also warned in Matthew 6 that prayer must be from the heart, and not merely a monotonous repetition of empty words with the lips. We are also reminded to be careful not to pray publicly for the purpose of showing off. That is not to say, however, that you must say not when given the privilege to lead a group into prayer in a public setting.
All these because our Father knows our hearts, sees what is done in secret and already knows our needs before we even ask Him.
Prayer is really an expression of our dependence on God for everything; in humility it is like saying “I cannot do these on my own, Lord. I need You and I know that You can and that You do [given that it is Your will for me].”
Be assured that when we pray, God works—even when we do not see.
But wait, do not think that prayer is just us expressing our desires and needs to and seeking forgiveness from the Lord. Remember, it is a way of communicating to God.
It is also through it that the Lord speaks to us. Part of prayer time is being still and intentionally quieting so that we may hear clearer and receive instructions, leadings and messages we need for the day.
Finally, when we are done praying, do you know why we have to ask “In the name of Your Son, Jesus?”
This is not a string of magic words nor a proper period to signify end. This statement reveals our position in God through His Son; it shows our confidence in approaching The Lord because of what His Son has accomplished on the cross; knowing that our prayers are heard and that we can freely ask and come before God because of His Son.
Remember, Jesus is the only way to The Father (John 16:4). Apart from Jesus, and what He has done we cannot approach the throne of grace.
May the above help you pray and communicate better with Our Father in Heaven—Our Creator and Designer of life—who knows how everything must go; Our Provider—who knows our needs before we even know them and who is The Source of everything; Our Protector, Teacher, Comforter, Companion, Counselor and many more, who is faithful and unchanging.
“Seek Him more and He is faithful to be found,” He said that in Matthew 7:7.
As we learn to pray, may we also be able to teach it to our children, as we do. God bless you everyday!