When Jesus was teaching His disciples and others on a hill beside the Sea of Galilee, one of the things He talked about was prayer. He began by telling them:
- Don’t pray in public places simply to be seen and honored by men.
- The core of your prayer life should be in private – just you and God.
- Don’t use meaningless repetitive words.
Then, in Matthew 6:9-13, we find the words that He told them there on that hillside, and that He tells us today, when He said they should “pray like this…”
Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Six things that Jesus tells us we should be praying about.
We should recognize and honor Who we are talking to.
When we pray, we are talking to the God who created all things and controls all things. The God who is holy and pure. The God who sent His own Son to pay the price for our sins so that we could walk with Him in holiness. Prayer is not just a mantra that makes us feel better, it’s a conversation with the one, true, most high God. We should consciously be aware of that when we pray.
And as someone who has spent 20+ years helping create worship services in churches, I need to add in here that this also applies when we are singing prayers. If the words of a worship song are actually a prayer to God, then please don’t just use the song to create an emotional feeling within you. Consciously remember that you should be singing those words to God Himself!
We should pray for God’s Kingdom in this world.
Jesus tells us that we should pray for His Kingdom to grow now in the midst of this fallen world, and to pray that the day will come soon when God Himself will rule and reign in the new world He will remake for all His followers.
We should pray for God’s will to be done in this world.
Not our own will. Not the plan that we think is best for our lives or our loved ones or our country or even this world. We should ask God to have His will be done, which means that we can then simply trust Him, no matter what is going on around us. I recently read a prayer that included the following words, “God, help me be indifferent to the things that are not a part of your plan for my life.” I love that. And I want that for my life.
Related Post: Three Prayers We Should Be Praying for Those We Love
We should ask God to provide for our daily needs.
Our daily needs. Our focus should be on living one day at a time, trusting God for each of those days. We shouldn’t worry about whatever is up ahead, because those days will be in His plan and His hands too. And our focus also should be on our actual needs, not on all the things we want or even may think we need. And according to God’s Word, our needs are really a lot simpler than we usually think.
Does this mean that we can’t ask God for things that aren’t needs? No. God wants to know the desires of our hearts. But as we pray, we should keep in mind the distinction between our needs and our wants. Dave & I used to call those extra things our “Bonus List.” We actually had a separate page for them in our family prayer journal. They were things we would love to have God do or provide if He ever felt like it, but that we would be totally fine without if He didn’t.
We should ask God to forgive our sins.
We know from God’s Word that our sins – both past and future – have already been forgiven by Christ. But God wants us to recognize, and acknowledge, and turn from the ongoing sins that pop up in our lives as we are walking through this fallen world. And this part of our prayers also reminds us to give forgiveness and mercy and grace to those who may sin against us.
We should ask God to help us stay away from things that could lead us to sin.
Though we are forgiven people, as long as we are in this fallen world we will struggle with sin. We are in a battle with Satan and those who are under his control until the day when God takes care of evil once and for all. In the meantime, we need God’s help and we should ask Him for it.
Six things that Jesus tells us should be the focus of our prayers. How are you doing with them? I want to encourage you to take some time to think about your prayer life in light of this teaching from Jesus. Are there some parts that you tend to leave out?
As we learn to focus on these six things in our prayers, our conversations with God will help us grow closer to Him, and will teach us to trust Him more, and will remind us who God is and who we are and what it means to walk with Him.
by Bernice Gudgel