1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
This week I'd like to talk just a little about prayer. Prayer is a powerful thing and it is something that we are called to do. If you do a search in the bible for the word 'pray' you will find many verses. There are SO many stories that involve prayer it is really difficult to decide which to go over.
I think I'm going to start by looking at the Lord's prayer and how we should pray.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
There are some that believe that this is how we need to pray every time we pray. Some believe that we need to repeat this prayer word by word. I can say with certainty that this is not the case. This verse was merely an example of how we ought to pray. It says "after this manner..." This is a good prayer and I don't mind hearing it or praying it myself from time to time but one reason why it shouldn't become something that is just repeated is the danger of it becoming an empty repetition, something the bible warns about. We can pray this a hundred times a day and have it not mean anything.
When Jesus prayed at Gethsemane he did not repeat such a prayer. He did however follow at least part of that guideline in his prayer. Let's look at it.
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
The Lord's prayer starts out with "our father who art in heaven..."
What I get from this is that while praying we ought to start out by acknowledging who it is we are praying to. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane He did just that. He called out to Abba, Father, and even goes on to describe Him in that all things are possible unto Him. I think this is a beautiful example of how we ought to pray. I think it's quite important to acknowledge just who we are addressing. I think it's something that God wants to hear but I also think it's something that is beneficial to us. While addressing Him we can at the same time be reminded of how powerful a being we are coming to in prayer. Just awesome I think.
The next part of the Lords prayer "thy will be done".
I think that is another vital part to prayer. There are verses that suggest we can pray for anything and we will receive it if we have faith. The truth is that God CAN answer all prayers however He wants to. One verse I came across, someone was praying for rain for THREE years. They finally got it. God can answer just how He wants and When He wants. ONLY His will prevails. I think that it is quite important for us to acknowledge that as we pray. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have faith that He'll answer, just that we should trust Him and HIS judgment. Jesus prayed this way as well in Gethsemane.
He asked for what He wanted. He didn't want to die that miserable death on the cross. But He also said "not what I will, but what thou wilt". He accepted that God's will was more important than His own. And this is Jesus we're talking about. He had the power to change what happened that day. We don't even have that power. So we really need to rely on God's will.
The next part of the Lord's prayer asks "give us this day our daily bread".
We need to be fed God's word daily. I think that is something worth praying for.
Forgive our sins as we forgive those that sin against us. Another vital part of prayer. We can't just take for granted God's grace for us. We can't just forget about sin altogether just because Christ died to cover our sins. We are to repent so that we may be healed.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. This too is vital. Temptation is ALL around us and we will face it everywhere we go. I believe this is a wise thing to ask at the beginning of each day. Ask God to protect you from the temptations you might face each day.
The prayer ends with "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever."
I think this is a fitting way to end and is similar to how it began. It acknowledges God and how awesome He really is.
I'll repeat that I don't think the Lord's prayer is something that needs to be repeated word for word, but I do believe that it is a good example to follow. If you break it down as I just tried to you can see the different parts of the prayer and how important each part is. We too can pray in such a way using very different words.
So if you're ever wondering how you should pray this prayer would be a good starting point. I think it is a good thing to memorize so that you can get the hang of the basic ideas in it. But the exact prayer itself, repeated too often, can turn into an empty repetition. Speak from your heart your own words and feel the presence of God. He's there listening.
Let's look at a few more verses about prayer before closing.
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
I could try to get into each verse there and so many others about prayer but this is getting long so I'll leave you with that for now. So many great examples of why we should pray and how we should pray. Prayer isn't just for the sick or if it is I guess we're all sick, for we all need prayer. We can't really live without that communication with our father.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day and all the blessings you have in store for us. Thank you so much for allowing us to communicate with you through prayer. Thank you that we can turn to you whenever we are in need. Thank you for always hearing our prayers. Lord I pray that as we pray each day we would trust you and your most awesome will. You know far better than we do and we need to trust that more often. Thank you for always looking out for us. Thank you for being someone we can count on.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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