Do you ever feel like your mind wanders off in different directions as you are praying? As a Christian woman, I want my prayers to be focused and purposeful, yet still pour out my heart to God. Throughout the day, I find myself thanking God, singing to Him, or stopping to offer up a prayer for someone in need, but when I go into my “inner room” I have one-on-one time with God, with no distractions around me (Matthew 6:6). Sometimes I will even talk out loud so I can keep my train of thought, as if I were talking face-to-face with the Lord. This may sound silly, but I am less inclined to let my mind go to the next thought before I have finished one thought.
We have an excellent example of what Jesus taught us to pray for in Matthew 6:9-13. Remember, the Lord said to “pray in this way” and not necessarily to recite this prayer. Matthew 6:7 warns us against “meaningless repetition.”
“Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed…”
Jesus begins by addressing the Father and saying that His name is “hallowed,” which means “holy is.” A great place to begin your talk with God is to give adoration to Him! He is worthy of all praise and honor. We should humble ourselves before Him in reverence. David and Solomon humbled themselves by even asking for the Lord to hear their prayers in Psalm 143:1, and 1 Kings 8:28-30.
“Thy Kingdom come.”
When Jesus said these words, the Kingdom–the realm of the saved, the church–had not been established yet on earth. We no longer need to pray for this, as the church has been established now. We become a part of the Kingdom by obeying the Gospel.
“Thy will be done”
This has to do with our hearts. Are we humbling our hearts before God and letting Him know that we are “on board” with whatever He wills to be done? Honestly, as I talk to God, I ask for the strength to accept His Will. I tell Him how I would like the prayer to be answered, but then that I understand that He knows what is best for me, and that I will accept whatever He wills be done. James 4:15 helps us to accept this concept by telling us that our attitude should be one of, “if the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.” We need to have faith in what God is going to do.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Here is a very plain request to the Lord: please provide our sustenance each day. I acknowledge that God is the Giver of all. Living here in the U.S., we don’t often sit back and wonder when–or if– we will have another meal, but many around the world don’t know this peace. Let us always be women filled with gratitude to the Lord for what He has given us. If you have had opportunity to go on a mission trip and visit an underdeveloped country, you’ve likely seen people dig through garbage heaps for food, or the homeless eating scraps left behind by others. Thank God with a sincere heart for providing for you your every need.
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,”
This could not be said more plainly. We will fall short (we’re human) but again, this is when I ask for forgiveness when I stumble, and for the strength to forgive others when they have hurt me. When we think of how the Lord has washed away our debt of sin, we, in turn, should not withhold our forgiveness from others. Matthew 18:23-35 helps us to understand this so clearly. Please take the time to read the story of the unforgiving servant.
“…and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
With these words, I am reminded to entreat the Lord for strength when I am facing temptation. James 1:14 reminds us that we are “carried away and enticed by our own lust,” so my prayer is for the Lord to help me to focus my heart and thoughts on godly things. Philippians 4:8 instructs us on where to let our minds dwell also. I need to tell Him that I know He is the “way out” of the trial I face-every time! He is the “door of escape,” like 1 Corinthians 10:13 points out so clearly.
Looking again at what the Lord gently taught His disciples to pray, we see: adoration, acknowledgement of our God and His supreme will, asking God to provide for us, forgiveness and forgiving hearts, and finally for strength to face temptation and God’s help to win over it.
What an awesome God we serve! He never leaves us wondering what it is that He wants from us. He spoke these words to His disciples long ago, but still the words resonate to us today, “pray in this way.” We have an amazing avenue of prayer, let’s use it often. 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you” (NKJV).
By Robin Martin
Robin Martin and her husband Randy are members at the South Twin Cities Church of Christ in Rosemount, MN, where Randy ministers as an elder. They just celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary! They have seven children together, four of whom have married Christian spouses, giving them eight grandchildren! Robin enjoys running her in-home licensed daycare, teaching the baby and toddler classes for the church, leading ladies’ devotionals, and has had the privilege of speaking at Ladies Days in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa. She loves to sew, quilt, cook, host events, and spend time with her family and friends!