Wednesday, December 7, 2005
A Blueprint for Prayer
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
When the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Lord, teach us to pray,” they did not say, “Lord, teach us a prayer.” So Jesus gave them (and us) a model in what we call the Lord’s Prayer. But I think sometimes we think of the Lord’s Prayer as sort of the megaprayer, the one to use when we are really in trouble.
There is nothing wrong with offering up the very prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. But we need to remember that it is more than just a prayer — it is a model for prayer. Jesus said, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10).
Notice that it doesn’t begin with, “Our Father in heaven, give us this day our daily bread.” That is how many people pray, along the lines of, “Lord, how are you doing? Here is what I need.” Then they go down their shopping list. But that is not the proper way to pray.
When you take time to pray, consider this idea. It’s an acrostic, the word ACTS. Each letter stands for a specific aspect of prayer, arranged in a natural order:
A stands for adoration or worship.
C stands for confession.
T stands for thanksgiving.
S stands for supplication.
So when we pray, we begin with adoration. We begin by recognizing to whom we are speaking. It is our Father in heaven — not our butler in heaven, not our servant in heaven, and not our vending machine in heaven. We are speaking to the Almighty God, the Creator of the universe. This puts things into perspective.
Copyright © 2005 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.