Posted by: Veroni Kruger | July 20, 2021

How Shall I Pray?

We are experiencing times of uncertainty and for some, anxiety.  Repeatedly we are called to pray.  Pray for South Africa, pray for the world, pray…   As we pray for many things and people around us, I believe God wants us to do some serious introspection.  

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a model prayer which would be good for us to look at.  The prayer is found in Matthew 6.9-13 and Luke 11.2-4.  

The prayer can be divided into three sections.  It is significant that only one of these three is devoted to asking for our needs:  For daily provision, forgiveness for our sins, protection in temptation.  The other two are devoted to focusing on God.  In the first one:  Our Father, that He should be honoured, his kingdom come and that his will be done.  In the third section:  Glorifying God as the one to whom the kingdom, and the power and the glory belong.

The prayer establishes our recognition of God for who He really is.  Correctly interpreted it also speaks to us about our own relationship to God, and how we live our lives. 

Addressing God as our “our Father” recognizes our belonging to Him as his children.  It also recognizes that he is not only our Father, but the Father of all mankind, even of those with whom we find it difficult to associate, or may even be violently opposed to.  “Who is in heaven” highlights the fact that He is far above us in every way.  Yet we know that He is also on the earth, and in fact, lives in each one of us. 

As pious as the opening three petitions may sound, they should inspire us to self-examination:  Before I can in all honesty pray for God to be honoured, I should make sure that I honour Him.  There is something hypocritical in praying that God’s kingdom should come before I make sure I crown Him as king of my life, living under his control.  It’s no good praying that his will be done in the world without submitting myself to his will.  

We find great comfort in confessing the attributes of God expressed in the last section of the prayer.  Yet, once again, we are compelled to examine ourselves.

“For yours is the kingdom” – You are the King – May your kingdom come  – firstly in my own life, then in the people and circumstances about whom/which I am praying.

“Your is the power” – You are Almighty – may your will be done – firstly in my own life, then in the people and circumstances about whom/which I am praying.

“To you belongs all glory” – You are everything implied under “May your holy name be honoured – I honour you for who you really are, not for what you do for me, or what I expect you to do for me.    

Rather than demanding that God should change everything around us, let us ask Him to change us before anything else, and let us become agents of change emanating from our own lives to everyone around us.  Let us be willing agents of change.


Responses

  1. Thanks, Veroni. I have had questions as one receives the numerous requests. The change should start within me . Maybe am the answer to a prayer then. Amen❣

    Like

    • Dankie, Celeste. Jy vat die boodskap baie mooi saam.

      Like


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Alexander F. Venter

Live a life of love just as Jesus loved us...

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