Monday, April 20, 2015

Embracing Christ’s Way of Praying

There are a lot of different ways to pray. Each of us has formulated an effective communication with God. The Lord’s answers to our prayers are undeniable. And the inner peace Christ gives especially in times of distress motivates us to continue.

When I first learned how to pray it seemed as though God wasn't present. I had to learn how to pray through the emptiness and move beyond the doubt. Persistence was the key. Perseverance paid off, and God allowed me to feel His presence. From that point forward prayer became a daily necessity.

Praying is as essential to my spiritual well-being as are air, food and water are for my physical survival. If I didn’t breathe, eat or drink my body would shut down, get sick and die.
The same holds true in my spiritual life. When I deprive my soul of God's spiritual nourishment, my heart hardens, my spirit dies, and my mind corrupts me.

Without prayer, Christ's protection from the cruel world is unavailable. I am vulnerable, weak and live in darkness. With it, I’ll be under God’s umbrella and can weather any storm life throws my way.

I still have times when I miss the mark with my prayers and feel disconnected. This usually occurs because my approach with the Lord is incorrect. The culprit is my lack of sincerity.

When my heart is not in the right place, I tend to go through the motion instead of humbling myself. My attitudes and behaviors suffer and others experience my unpleasant side.

Recently I was writing an article to submit to Seek Magazine, a publication from Standard Publishing. The list of themes based on Luke 18: 9-14 concerning prayer. The one I chose was Humble Faith.

When I was seeking Christ's guidance for the material to write about He brought me to the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6:5-14. Here I found myself up close with Christ’s precise commands about praying.

 As I began studying Jesus’s key components in regards to prayer, they began being a part of my daily devotions. The spiritual energy it releases continues to exhilarate me.

Let's take a look at those crucial instructions from our Messiah.

"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." (Matthew 6:5)

Here, Jesus defines prideful praying. Christ pointed out; there is no need to bring attention to ourselves when praying. Hypocrisy breeds self-righteousness because pride is its core. Praying in that manner is full of conceit and deception. It discounts the truth of God’s word.

"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6)

God wants our undivided attention, alone and behind closed doors. That command eliminates distractions and places us at His doorstep.

Even Christ took time away from the Disciples to pray.

 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed,” (Matthew 26:39)

Jesus revealed two more commands about praying:

"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)

The Messiah tells us to be simple with our words. Christ identified the way God doesn't want us to speak with Him. Long-winded prayers based upon suppositions are unwise. No one knows the way God will respond to prayers. Heathens don’t acknowledge God. They are self-absorbed and self-seekers.

Then the Messiah explained how to avoid the action of the heathen:

"Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:8)

  God, our Creator, knows all our needs. There isn’t anything the Lord doesn’t know about us. In King David’s devotion to God he discovered the truth behind Christ’s words and left us with this:

"You know my sitting down and rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

Since there is not a word on my tongue,

But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether."

(Plasm 139: 2-4)

Then Christ puts it all together in the Lord’s Prayer:

"Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgives our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory

forever, Amen

(Matthew 6: 9-13)

  This magnificent prayer is the greatest way of following God’s will and has been for centuries. God made sure we knew exactly the way He wants to us to praise, glorify and honored Him.
God commands us to ask for His daily bread. The Lord forgives us and tells us to forgive others.

God's also made it clear that when we follow those commands temptations won't dominate us, and He will deliver us from evil.

When you embrace Christ's way of praying there is no way to go wrong. Jesus’s is an unshakable foundation for eternal life.

How does the Lord’s Prayer draw you closer to God?