Thursday, May 26, 2016

6 prayers I coined from "the Lord's prayer"

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"In this manner, therefore, pray: Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." - Matthew 6:9-13.

When Jesus was asked to "...teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" by one of His disciples in Luke 11:1, He obliged, and gave us this beautiful prayer which we have all embraced.

But I don't believe we are to recite it ad nauseam as some do; rather it should serve as a model or a template which we should pattern our own prayer lives after - just as we are expected as God's children to pattern our lives according to Christ's.

An ideal example of this concept would be the process of building a skyscraper, for instance. An architect usually first designs a model, which then serves as a guide for the builders. They are not expected to simply 'copy and paste'! The finished work and the model will not look too different; yes there'll be subtle disparities, but you can tell that the builders applied their own creative thinking to birth what the architect envisioned.

I reckon the same applies to 'The Lord's Prayer'. Jesus didn't give it to us to recite word-for-word and end there, but to let it guide us into developing personalised prayers. In fact, 'The Lord's Prayer' of Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4 (contains slight variation) should serve as our personal prayer template!

So, here's six prayers I coined from individual phrases of 'The Lord's Prayer' with further scriptures to help...

1. Prayer of thanksgiving and worship: "Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name." (v. 9)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ..." - Ephesians 1:3.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place." - 2 Corinthians 2:14.

God deserves our worship and praises! Jesus starts off by not only calling God's attention ("Our heaven in father"), but also acknowledging and worshipping Him for who He is ("hallowed be your name")!

Beginning with worship and thanksgiving is a great way to go for God is, indeed, deserving of our heartfelt worship. Call Him by His names - hallowed, perfectly holy, worthy, beautiful, merciful, awesome, a provider, a healer, a protector, the King of kings, the creator of life, God alone - allow the Holy Spirit lead as you express yourself to Him.

Here's also a good place to take stock and express gratitude for the specific things He has done in your life and in your family.

2. Prayer for the Church and the unsaved (intercession): "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (v. 10).

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." - Matthew 16:18.

"Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him..." - Ephesians 1:15-17.

God's desire and will is that none "should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9); we must make this our passion, as well. Besides taking heed to our individual ministries and spreading the gospel through every means conceivable, we must pray for the Church (the body of Christ as a whole) and for the souls of the yet-to-be-saved.

Also, we should pray for Christians facing stiff persecution in many parts of the world, especially in Middle East Asia; they desperately need our prayers as we intercede for them. Again, pray for missionaries.

Here's one line from my prayer for the Church, "God, do not fail anyone anywhere in the world who looks up to you as their sole source of help, provide for them. And even those that do not know you, Lord, meet them where they need you and touch their hearts".

3. Prayer of Supplication (making requests): "Give us this day our daily bread" (v. 11)

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened... If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" - Matthew 7:7-11.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God... And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6,19.

Never for once believe that God is not interested in your day-to-day affairs or that He is not concerned about the "little things" in your life! Trust me, God is very interested in everything that's happening to you, even "the very hairs on your head are all numbered" (Luke 12:7).

We are encouraged to ask for specific things from God; yes He knows what we need but we are told to "ask, and it will be given to you". Only make sure you're not presenting a list of fantasies to God, He doesn't grant fantasies!

Ask for things you and your family need; here's a good place to tender any pressing family or work related needs.

4. Prayer for forgiveness and grace: "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (v. 12).

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not is us." - 1 John 1:8-10.

When we as God's children pray to ask Him for forgiveness of our sins, it is not because we are sinners or that we live in sin, no! We are not sinners, neither do we live in sin; rather we have been saved from sin and its consequences. However, we must realize too that "the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41), though the spirit is willing; and that as long as we are still in flesh and blood here on earth, we're bound to fail every now and then. Praying for forgiveness of sins, therefore, is key and should be deliberate.

Also, we should pray to God for grace to help us live right and handle relationships better. You could say something along the lines of, "Lord, give me the grace to forgive truly... to have a large heart... to be more accommodating... more tolerant of people, especially those that are different from me or do not agree with me... Help me live sacrificially and selflessly like you... Help me exhibit more of the fruit of your spirit...Help me handle my relationships better… guide me in your word that I will not sin against you."

One truth you must know is that you can't be at peace with God and not be at peace with men; Jesus [first] grew in favour with God, and [then] with men [parenthesis mine], Luke 2:52. When you receive forgiveness from God, you should extend same to people who hurt you, else... Matthew 6:14.

5. Prayer for personal growth and God's guidance: "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (v. 13).

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be to bear it." - 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

"Therefore lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as new born babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..." - 1 Peter 2:1-2.

Here, pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him and His word, so you'll become a "spiritual heavyweight". The word of God in you is your offensive weapon against the devil's attacks (Ephesians 6:17).

Also, as God is our protector, pray that He protects you, your household and your loved ones from "the terror by night...the arrow that flies by day...the pestilence that walks in darkness...the destruction that lays waste at noonday" (Psalm 91:5-6), according to His word.

6. Prayer of affirmation: "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." (v. 13).

"The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad! Clouds and darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. A fire goes before Him, and burns up His enemies round about. His lightnings light the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples see His glory." - Psalm 97:1-6.

Here, affirm all that God is - His sovereignty, Lordship and authority in your life.

Also, proclaim all He has promised you and thank Him in advance for all you're believing Him for; for all He has promised He will "hasten His word to perform it" (Jeremiah 1:5), and perfect that which concerns you (Psalm 138:8). Speak life into those dreams God birthed in your heart.

Here's a few important things about prayer...
Align your prayers with His will
Prayers in alignment with God's will and purpose are very effective; and God's will is embedded in His word. Praying according to His word is effective and highly recommended; then you are not just scattering prayer "seeds" all over the fields but deliberately planting in specific spots with fertile soil. And with time, you know what happens.

Come boldly...
When you approach God in prayer, know that you've come to the throne of grace where your inadequacies matter little! Remember, He is a High Priest that understands our pains, and He has enjoined you to come boldly to Him and draw grace, mercy and strength. Don't listen to the devil who says "you actually think God will hear you after all the bad things you have done... You don't deserve a miracle"... just come boldly (Hebrews 4:14-16). He is more than enough for you; your completeness is in Him. Come boldly, and He'll make you whole. Come boldly, open up your heart to Him and let Him perfect His work in you.

Avoid rigid prayer routines
Please, do not make your prayer life a routine one-traffic activity where you go in and do the same set of things every time, and you're off! Be flexible; allow the Holy Spirit lead you. On Monday, He could lead you to only give thanks and worship; while on Tuesday, He could lead you to simply pray for the lost - don't box God to a set of your rules! This is why praying in tongues is important for a Christian because when you do you are giving up control to the Holy Spirit, and He takes over to lead the prayer.

Do a motive check
Importantly too are your motives. With God, motives are big! He is very interested in the 'why' behind the action or decision; the "why's" are usually buried deep down like the root of a tree.
James 4:3 tells us this, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." If something is 'amiss', it means it is wrong. This implies that you are tendering a "wrong request" to God; do you think He'll answer that? Is it possible to cash a cheque with a significant defect on it? Prayers with selfish, lust-serving motives will not be answered, this is clear from James 4:3; so do a motive check. Ask yourself, "why exactly do I want this? Is it actually a need or do I just want to be like the other nations?"

Pray more for spiritual enlightenment
Pray more for spiritual insight and revelational knowledge a la Ephesians 1:17-21 to grow "spiritually fat". This is in line with Isaiah 10:27 (AMP), "So it will be in that day, that the burden of the Assyrian will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck. The yoke will be broken because of the fat".

The average weight lifter or body builder could easily lift a 330kg weight; but for a normal person? Don't even go there... The difference? One's muscles have been trained and are developed; the other, not so much. The point? Pray for revelational knowledge so you can grow spiritually!
So there you have it - 6 prayers I coined from the "the Lord's prayer". You should create personalised prayers coined from the Lord's prayer as well; and share them with us here in the comments section. I'd love to read them.

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