If you've been wanting to be able to pray with power then you're at the right spot. Together we're learning how to pray in a way that matters. One of the keys isn't what I would have expected. But, it's what God uses to make our prayers matter. Come on by and join us as we unpack the beginning of the Lord's prayer.

 

Prayer is this amazingly simple yet complicated communication we have with God.

It’s simple because God is always ready and listening… it’s complicated because we tend to be rather selfish in our praying.  And yes that includes praying for other people.

I’m reminded that a great marriage is one where we adore listening to our partner talk… we want to know their thoughts, their ideas, their hopes, their dreams, and even the crazy little details of their day.  But, sometimes, we have another agenda and we quit listening and we start dwelling on our desires.

For most of us… our prayer time is more like having an agenda that we want to accomplish.

The interesting thing about that… we often wonder why our prayers don’t seem to matter.

 

Learning How to Pray based on Matthew 6

 

We’ve been on a  journey of learning how to pray in a way that matters.

 

We began by looking at Matthew 6:6-8 NLT and discussed the first steps in learning how to pray in a way that matters.

The first is to recognize that our prayer time is something to be treasured, it’s a time of intimacy with God, and God rewards us for spending time talking with him.

Second is to remember that God already knows what we need before we ask.  Because of this intimate relationship we have with him we don’t have to explain things and we can relax and be completely honest.

Third is to follow Jesus’ very specific guidelines for praying which are outlined in Matthew 6:9 GW.  I love that he tells us HOW to pray.

And four… to not only address God as our Father in heaven, but to also tell him (and ourselves as hearers of our prayers) how he is set apart from us. It humbles us as we acknowledge his grandeur. Speaking his attributes changes our minds and helps our prayers to become more expectant… and I believe, more bold and powerful.

 

Learning How to Pray - discussing the phrase Our Father in heaven...

 

Let’s explore the next step in learning how to pray….

Jesus in Matthew 6 says..

“This is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
let your name be kept holy.
Let your kingdom come.
Let your will be done on earth
as it is done in heaven.
Give us our daily bread today.
Forgive us as we forgive others.
Don’t allow us to be tempted.
Instead, rescue us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9-13 GW

Last time we looked at the first part of verse 9.

Today we’ll look at the second half of the verse.

“This is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
let your name be kept holy.

Matthew 6:9 GW

Jesus telling us to pray….  let your name be kept holy is odd, isn’t it?  Especially since it’s already been established that God is higher, greater, and more wonderful than any other.

So why does Jesus want us to pray this?

God desires for us to ask him to honor his name and keep it holy because he is a jealous God.

I know that sounds so weird.  But… this is not a common jealousy like one of us saying that we are jealous because so-and-so has something we want.  No, it’s not envy.  Instead, it’s more a matter of our relationship to him.  Because of this covenant relationship we have with him, it’s like God is our husband and we are his wife.  He demands our faithfulness. He doesn’t want us to date “other men” or keep old boyfriend’s photos on our bedside table.  He doesn’t want our hearts to be drawn away from HIM. He doesn’t want any competition.

How many times a day do we put ourselves, our to-do list, our family members, our jobs, our social media, or TV first?  God is jealous of anything we do to shortchange the intimacy and worship he desires. And he desires it because he knows what’s best for us.  He knows that when we get that right we will be totally fulfilled.

There is no question that the chief end of man and woman is to glorify God.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

 

Learning How to Pray so that God is most glorified

 

God wants us to pray “hallowed be your name” or ” let your name be kept holy” because it reminds us that our prayers do not move God to do things he is not inclined to do. He desires that his name be kept holy.  Nothing is more important to him.

Most of us want to pray in a way that matters.

And we can…. when we line-up our priorities with God’s.

 God wills to make great things the consequence of our prayers when our prayers are the consequence of his great purposes.  — John Piper

There’s something unique that happens when we get our position and heart in line.  If the prime purpose for our prayer is to ask God to lift up his name… then we are plugging into God’s power in an unimaginable way.

Last Sunday at church the corporate singing portion of the service included a song titled, “Stronger.”  It’s from Hillsong.  The song is mostly about what Christ did for us and our position in him.  There is a bridge in Stronger that made my spirit jump.  I knew that I needed to share it with you…   It’s very simple, yet profound.

So let Your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

It’s repeated a few times towards the end of the song.

As I was standing there singing and worshiping, I realized that we were “praying” the opening of the Lord’s prayer.  We were repeating the rules of the game AND we were asking God to let his name be kept holy as we sang…

So let Your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

To be honest, we often find ourselves beginning our prayer time with a laundry list of needs and wants, don’t we?  When we start praying that way, it doesn’t resonate well with God, our jealous “husband.” 

I’m not saying that in a time of need we can’t call on the name of the Lord… because we can.  Scripture tells us we can.  Instead, I’m suggesting we have missed the boat if our prayers are a laundry list.  If we want our prayers to matter, we must do our part.  We need to be faithful in our relationship with God.  We need to make him our all-in-all.  We need to actively glorify him in word and deed.  And we need to ask him to keep his name holy.

 

Learning How to Pray - Lyrics from Stronger - So let your Name be lifted higher.

 

As I went on one of my nature walks this week, my heart was so filled with gratitude.  I was telling God thanks for a great number of things and then I found myself singing the bridge to the song…

So let Your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

As I continued my walk I did make a few requests to the Lord.  Just a few.  Because as we seek him… our needs pale and his greatness increases and our hearts become full of him.

This week… set aside time to pray like we talked about here.  And when you talk with God… start the conversation the way Jesus taught us to pray.

“This is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
let your name be kept holy.

Matthew 6:9 GW

It’s powerful.  So very powerful.

 

Learning How to Pray and using the Lord's Prayer as a guideline

 

And just so you know… I’m not there yet.

But I am grateful, that God has opened my heart eyes to a greater understanding of prayer.

The chorus of the old hymn, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” says…

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

I know that when I focus on him and his glory and grace it really does makes all the difference.

 

If you've been wanting to be able to pray with power then you're at the right spot. Together we're learning how to pray in a way that matters. One of the keys isn't what I would have expected. But, it's what God uses to make our prayers matter. Come on by and join us as we unpack the beginning of the Lord's prayer.

 

Where are you on your prayer journey?

What brings you closer to God?

What are your challenges?

 

Learning How to Pray - It's JoyDay!

 

It’s JoyDay!

I’m so excited that you’ve joined me here for JoyDay!  I look forward to this time where we give thanks in community…. for the good and the not-so-good.  It’s an amazing way to re-set our compasses for the week.  To encourage one another.  And most of all to make our “joy-meters” soar.

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Whatever happens, give thanks,
because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Won’t you join me in looking back over the last week and counting just ‘seven’  from a whole week’s worth of gratitude?

I’ll start!

Thank you Lord for…

  1. YOUR glory and grace.
  2. an unbelievable surprise and answer to prayer.
  3. a ridiculously busy week.
  4. a great day with my husband… I so look forward to Wednesdays.
  5. the gift of creativity… especially as you amaze me with YOUR creativity.
  6. being able to experience the ferocity of the wind and the power of the waves at the lake and know that YOU are more powerful and you can calm them in an instant.
  7. sunshine and beautiful weather again and unexpected warm days for November.

Now it’s YOUR turn!

Please join me by tapping in your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below.

Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave your sweet thoughts.

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Comments

  1. Debbi Saunders says:

    Thank You Lord for….
    1. making me aware of something I need to share with someone, when doing so makes me very uncomfortable! and I don’t know how it will be received, but know that you will pave the way…..
    2. Of more healing in my vision!
    3. for the unexpected financial gift given my Son who needed it toward getting his car in working order….
    4. That the Attny I have had for over 3 years has moved on to another firm; but feel that you have told me that he is no longer needed, he has served God’s purpose…
    5. that my nephew was able to get with help a much needed brand new truck!!
    6. the work you are doing in one of my neighbors that I have been praying for for years!!
    7. for a relationship with someone that I was obedient and shared with almost a year ago when I did NOT want to! but I am so very grateful that I listened and obeyed you Lord!!! Now you are asking me to do the same almost a year later with her replacement!

    • God is moving in your life in an amazing way, Debbi! I rejoice with you in your ‘seven,’ and know that God is so pleased with your faithful obedient heart. Have a blessed and JOY-filled week! [hugs]

  2. I’m still working on the ‘praying without ceasing’. I don’t spend nearly enough time in prayer. I know it’s a cop out to say that I’m the only one who cracks the Bible open once in a while in my family.

    I’m so grateful for a loving and forgiving God.

    • LuAnn… I appreciate your honesty. Isn’t it good to know that we are on a journey and aren’t expected to live as if we have already reached the destination? We are so in need of God’s grace. You know… it IS hard to swim against the current. Right now I’m praying for you to find the joy in your conversations with God so that they do come “without ceasing.” {{Big Hugs}}

  3. Thank you Lord for:
    1. Reminding me of the importance of obedience.
    2. Continuing to show me the areas I need to work on patience.
    3. Your grace.
    4. A job with variety.
    5. My mother.
    6. This bog and prayer study.
    7. Time alone.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your ‘seven’ Wendy. Your heart of gratitude is a true blessing… to God and me too!
      May your new week be filled with many JOY moments. {hugs}

  4. Lord I thank you for:A great Sunday with my daughter-in-law,the move of Your spirit,seeing my boys in church,James still doing ok with his health,giving me strength to keep on trying to get healthy,giving me eyes of faith to see Michael walking in his sobriety and for the grace You extend to me everyday just to make it through which leads me to joy.

    • God’s grace is amazing and you are an inspiration with your trust and faith.
      I rejoice with you in God’s amazing goodness evidenced in your life this past week, and pray that this new week brings more healing, strength, and break-throughs my friend.

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