A guy prayed desperately for a parking space, pledging to enrol in a Bible College if God would give him one in front of the building he urgently needed to enter to keep an appointment. When a car suddenly pulled out, he whispered, “Never mind, Lord, I found one.” Praying can, of course, be a knee-jerk reaction to problems that we face but, if so used, it becomes presumptuous puppeteering, as if to expect God to merely rubber-stamp our plans or dance to our own tune. I’d like to offer the following keys to help us to develop effective prayer which simply come from Jesus’ own outline He gave to His disciples which we know as the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
2. Reverence – We start prayer with praise and thanksgiving that acknowledges the holiness of God and our own humility, just as the Old Testament Israelites did in approaching God at the Tabernacle (e.g. in Psalm 100:4).
3. Reflection – We consider what God wants us to do, or what He reveals to us as our inescapable mission, before bringing our ‘shopping list’ to Him!
4. Requests – When we enjoy relationship with God and are firmly ‘on mission’ for Him, we are in a good place to ask God in faith for our genuine needs to be met – our daily bread (1 John 5:14-15 and John 14:14).
More insights from Jesus’ model prayer tomorrow.