What is prayer to you? Is it a conversation with your Creator, a life-giving reflection of who God is and what it means to sync up with His plans for your life? Or a boring ritual, that when you stop and think about it, can often be impersonal, mostly about what I want, my needs, my desires – and perhaps even an exercise in trying to rid myself of some guilt that I feel?
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gives us a rhythm for how to pray, He sets out for anyone who follows Him an outline for what to pray. It gives us a flow for how to pray in a way that will help us to live freely and lightly.
The key is to focus our prayers on who God is, to remind ourselves of what His Kingdom looks like – and everything else flows out of that. It’s through that filter that we pray into the more mundane, earthly level of daily needs that we have, and our relationships with others.
Prayer reminds us of our need for God.
And that is the key to a prayer life that will leave us living freely and lightly – taking the focus and attention off ourselves and fixing our minds on who God is. Not that we don’t pray for ourselves and our needs, but that we pray faith fuelled prayers as we focus on a God who answers prayer!
- Which part of the Lord’s Prayer has challenged you the most about ‘how/what’ you pray?
- Have you ever used an acronym/outline for prayer, and how have you found it has helped your prayer life?
- Have you ever kept a prayer diary? If so, what benefits have you seen from doing this?
In Sunday’s message, Ste mention two things that he has used to help him pray:
The first thing is the acronym ‘ACTS’...
- Adoration – start by praising God for who He is.
- Confession – ask God for His forgiveness, share with Him the areas that you are struggling with in life and ask the Holy Spirit to help you in these areas.
- Thanksgiving – share with God what you are thankful for.
- Supplication – bring your needs and desires before God.
The second thing is praying through Bible passages...
Read Psalm 19:1-10
1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening. 3-4 Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded, But their silence fills the earth: unspoken truth is spoken everywhere. 4-5 God makes a huge dome for the sun—a superdome! The morning sun’s a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed, The day breaking sun an athlete racing to the tape. 6 That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith. 7-9 The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the final degree. 10 God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds. You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.
God I’m thankful for…
(Thank God for who He is, and everything you are thankful for)
Read Psalm 19:11-14
11-14 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure. Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool? Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin. These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.
God I’m sorry…
(Ask God for His forgiveness, share with Him the areas that you are struggling with in life and ask the Holy Spirit to help you in these areas.)
Read Psalm 91:1-2
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
God I trust you for…
(Bring your needs and desires before God.)