Prayer was important to Jesus. He would often escape to a quiet place to talk with His Father. His time was limited, because of the big following He was gaining, but that didn’t stop Him. The disciples saw their rabbi going off to pray and, wanting to follow His example, they asked Him for a “how to lesson.
“How should we pray,” is really a prayer in itself. How many times have we gone into prayer with just that question? We can’t find the words. We stumble over the ones we say. We feel unworthy or selfish. That is when we should rely on God’s intervention to give us the right words. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf with groans too deep for us to understand or say.
Jesus gives us a perfect example of how to pray. This is one of those prayers we learned as children and used throughout our lives. Often, because we know it by rote, we just recite the words without really thinking about them. This prayer is rich in praise, petitions and thanksgiving. In the opening sentence He shows that we have the same family rights that He did to go directly to His Father in prayer. “Our Father.” He reveals His respect for His Fater and His name and kingdom. He speaks of God’s will eing fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven. Then He confidently presents His petitions. “Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive others. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. The prayer ends with thanksgiving, as all prayer should.
As Jesus was casting out demons, a member of the crowd questioned the fact that only the chief of demons could do such a thing, a well remembered phrase was uttered by our Savior. He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” This idea has been penned by many through the ages, including Abraham Lincoln’s, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
How true is that today? We see it in our own political scene as division. It’s apparent in families and in churches also. It is occurring all across the country. Family members fighting over insignificant issues; friendships and relationships falling apart because of false witness; and courts, leadership and law enforcement losing our respect. Churches even struggle over things that have nothing to do with the salvation of the flock, and often lead to hard feelings and anger.
The real basics of prayer is wrapped up in our relationship with God, our relationship to each other and how we should forgive. It also leads us to follow the laws of God, written in the Bible, even though Christ has come to fulfill all of them. If you are new to prayer, remember this. God already knows what’s in our hearts. He knows what we need and what is best for us. He is in control of the whole course of our lives.