Sunday, June 12, 2016

Devotion: Prayer Guidelines

Recently, we discussed how understanding the benefits of prayer would help us to understand why we should pray.  We discussed the same model that Jesus showed to his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray as John taught his disciples to pray.  The very first thing Jesus did was to tell them to revere the name of the Father and to honor him for his holiness.  Jesus said, when we pray, we should say, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

We now know that when we come before God, we are to enter into his gates with great thanksgiving and enter into his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4).  We know that when we pray, we need to give praise to him, to speak of his glories and of his grace, to boast of his kindness, to give thanks and to bless his holy name, and to exalt his holy name.  When we pray, we need to pray primarily for these reasons, but these are not the only reasons we need to pray.  Praying is a process and for effectual prayer, we need to follow the guidelines that Jesus showed his disciples.

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth (Luke 11:1-2).

Next, Jesus told his disciples to pray that God’s kingdom would come and that his will would be done here “in or on the earth as it is done in heaven.”  Remember, we are to “pray without ceasing,” constantly “giving thanks to God in every situation” because “this is the will of God for us” (I Thessalonians 5:17-18).

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen” (Matthew 6:13).

Jesus ends his prayer lesson to the disciples with more reverence and honor for the Father using words similar to those King David once spoke when he blessed the Lord.

“Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.  Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name” (I Chronicles 29:10-13).

While in the presence of his entire congregation, David expressed his praise for the Lord.  David acknowledges God’s kingdom, his power, and his glory, thanking him and praising his holy name.  It would appear that we should follow the same process, that we should follow these same guidelines.  This is a far cry from the way many believers have been taught to pray.  Instead of using prayer as an opportunity to inform God of all of your terrible problems or your impossible situations, you should use prayer to reverence and honor the Lord God.  God, who is all-knowing, truly knows your problems and your situations better than you know them.  God knows what you have need of before you even ask (Matthew 6:8).

This is not to say that we do not need to tell God about our problems or our situations.  Nor are we saying that we do not need to ask God to help us in our time of need.  We are just saying that we need to follow the instructions that Jesus gave his disciple, the instructions we believe John the Baptist gave his disciples, and the example that we see from King David.  Somewhere in between the reverence and honor that we give the Lord God when we enter into his gates and the reverence and honor that we give him when we exit his gates is where we need let our problems, our situations, and our needs be known to God.  When we follow these guidelines for prayer, we will not become overwhelmed and discouraged by any situation or problem we face because the process of thanking and praising God will keep our faith built up in the awesomeness of God.

We pray that today’s inspirational message will give you a new perspective on “the process of praying.”  We also pray that this message will bless you, inform you, and that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings. - KW

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