The Model Prayer
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 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. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:
Matthew 6:5-9a NKJV
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
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.
Matthew 6:9b-13 KJV
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
You probably noticed I changed Bible versions and even included The Lord’s Prayer in the traditional King James Version (KJV). I know we don’t speak language like this anymore, however, I used this version, mixed with the New King James Version (NKJV) because I memorized The Lord’s prayer as a young girl in that language. I really do recite the Lord’s Prayer in my head or out loud in the KJV and love the beauty and musicality of those verses in that language.
But question really isn’t about what language or version we pray, rather it is more about how to pray, wouldn’t you agree?
Years ago when I became a new believer one of the most challenging things for me was to understand how to pray. In fact, when I attended a women’s Bible class I was in a constant state of fear that one of the leaders would ask me to “close the class in prayer.”
The Lord being a gracious and loving God heard my fear and very soon our pastor gave a service on how to pray. I’m going to share the very helpful acronym he used to teach us how to P.R.A.Y.
PRAISE-start every prayer by praising the Lord, because He is worthy of our praise. Thank Him for all the goodness in your life and yes, even for the hard things because through those hard things we learn and grow.
“With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever,” Psalms 86:12 NLT
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 NLT
There are many verses in the Bible that remind us to praise the Lord and be thankful. Our thankfulness absolutely should include the things we take for granted. In other words, do you have a roof over your head? Running water and electricity? More than one set of clothing in your closet? Food in your pantry? A car? Spouse? Friends? Children? The list is endless!
I once read a very profound statement:
What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday?
I’m just going to leave that thought right here for you to consider carefully.
REPENT-we probably need to look at a definition of repent so there is no misunderstanding about what this means.
Definition: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment [correction] of one’s life.
In the repentance part of the prayer we confess our sins. Yes, God already knows but this is for US! It is important to hear ourselves admit our sins because we don’t like to do that, do we? We have no problem blaming someone for our sins, but the reality is we really do know they belong to us and no one else.
We want to free ourselves from the burden that sin creates in our heart and life by confessing them to God. Next, we are to make things right with others when it’s applicable, and finally promise to turn from our sins as we pray.
“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NLT
“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Isaiah 59:2 NLT
“Then he [Jesus] said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3 NLT
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23-24 NLT
Since we are confessing sins, let me confess this to you: many times I find it easier to confess my sins to God than it is to confess my sins to man. Why do we put so much emphasis on what man thinks about us? Pride…, we want approval…, we don’t want to admit our mistakes…, and this list can be long but more importantly, it is usually filled with reasons comprised of sin. Ugh.
From You Heart JUST SAY: I’m Sorry!
However, here is what is more important than that ugly list: unconfessed sin separates us from God and He doesn’t hear us. (Isaiah 59:2) Man cannot save us from our sins, only God can, so don’t delay, let’s “clean house” by confessing our sins so we can move forward to the next step: ask!
ASK-because we have confessed and committed to repent of our sins, we can come before God and pray for our needs. We have the assurance of God that He will answer our prayers when we pray expecting an answer according to His will not ours.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV
Never forget, God is NOT our magic genie and our prayers are not to get our own way. We ask for His will because our own will is faulty and we don’t understand all the details surrounding a situation. God knows all and He sees all, therefore, we know His way is better than our way!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
YIELD-we are to surrender our own personal desires and our own will for the better choice, which is God’s will.
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 NIV
From the Lord’s Prayer:
“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NIV
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2 NIV
I hope and pray this acronym for prayer will give everyone more confidence to pray daily to the Lord, and not be afraid when we are asked to pray in a public forum.
Closing Prayer: Father God, I cherish this prayer, Your prayer, that took me on a journey leading directly to You. I know that all that is in my life, good and bad, is because You gave it, or You allowed it, so I can be more like You. Father, You are Holy, You are my King, and I pray that all I do brings glory to You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.