By Steve Horn
Luke recorded in Luke 11 an occasion when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray.
The teaching is the result of a question, but they asked the question out of observation. They observed Jesus’ habit. Jesus exemplified a practice to follow.
But, then Jesus gave them a pattern to follow.
As Max Lucado noted in his book Before the Amen, “When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer.”
Let’s observe the prayer and so observe the pattern.
- We approach God out of relationship but also out of reverence.
He is accessible out of this tender relationship, but we keep that relationship reverent, because He is unequaled and unrivaled. And when it comes to prayer, we need both. We need a God who is relational, but we need a God who is capable to do all things beyond what we might ask or think.
- We acknowledge His coming Kingdom.
Our temporal requests make more sense in the context of His eternal will. Acknowledging His coming Kingdom ought to bring a perspective to our requests.
- We ask God about both the physical and the spiritual.
God meets our physical needs. I heard a story about a woman who believed God for everything. She prayed about everything. She prayed for her daily bread. She had a neighbor who was an unbeliever. He resented the fact that his neighbor, the woman, spoke of God in such personal ways. He resented the fact that she praised God for everything. Wanting to prove to his neighbor that her trust in God for her provision was in vain, he went out and bought the lady a sack full of groceries. He put them at the door, knocked on the door, and hid in the bushes. When the lady saw the groceries, as was her habit, she began to thank God for the blessing. The man jumped out of the bushes and said, “God didn’t provide those groceries. I did.” Immediately, the woman prayed again, “Thank you God for providing these groceries, and even using my neighbor to provide the groceries.”
We can count on God, our Heavenly Father, to provide our physical needs.
And we count on God for our spiritual needs. The prayer references two of our greatest spiritual needs—forgiveness and deliverance from the things of this world that tempt us.
What do you need from God today? Just begin to tell Him.
Steve Horn is pastor of First Baptist Church in Lafayette and a past Louisiana Baptist Convention president. This editorial first appeared in his blog, which can be subscribed to by clicking here.