Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When you pray...

In my bible-study group at the moment, we are going through the Lord's Prayer for the period of Lent. We are taking it line by line, and so far it is quite interesting. It got me thinking though, and the question came up in our group last week: How do you fit this prayer into your prayer life?

Are we supposed to only pray the Lord's Prayer? Are we expected to pray this one first, and then do our own prayers? Does it mean that because Jesus taught it to us, we cannot ask for anything else?

Here's what I'm thinking. Jesus taught his disciples this prayer as part of a larger teaching. If you look at the contxt in Matthew 6, Jesus has been teaching about the Kingdom of God for quite some time. Then after he has taught them the prayer, he carries on teaching about the Kingdom.

This is a Kingdom Prayer!

The gist of the prayer seems to be that we need to be looking to our relationship with GOD, as our Father, and to all the benefits his holy Name gives us. We need to be actively pursuing the Kingdom of God, not just in heaven, but here on Earth. We need to be praying for the Kingdom to come, but also praying as if we already live in it; which in a sense we do.
In the Kingdom of God, which we pray for, he wants to give us all that we need for today, he wants to forgive us for our sins, he wants us to forgive others, he wants us to avoid temptation.
Does that mean we can't pray for more. It only means that HE has told us what he wants us to pray for; and what he wants us to pray for, he will give. If we pray for our daily bread, He will give it to us. If we pray for forgiveness, he will give it to us. If we pray for the Kingdom of God, he will bring it about in our lives and the world around us.

We can't be so sure about other things. We know God is a God of healing, yet he doesn't always heal. Still we can pray for healing, because He is also a loving God who wants to give us good things. We know he is a God who provides, so we can pray for a new car, or a parking place at the shop, yet he might not give it to us. However no prayer goes unheard, and every pray brings us closer to him.

So keep praying, make your time of prayer about seeking God, and his Kingdom. Build a relationship, pray for whatever is on your heart. But never forget that we are commanded to pray for his Kingdom, and all within it.

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