Jesus’ Refueling Station

Howdy SNC Friends and Family,
This is our weekly 2nd look!

As we talked on Sunday about the importance of us having personal prayer time with God, I knew I was addressing a specific question that might arise for some of us.

Ok Pastor Ryan, you are saying that we need to be in prayer, that this is something Jesus prioritized and we really must as well; but how do I do this? I’m not very good at this prayer thing…”

That’s a great question. Let me give you a few quick suggestions.

1) Prayer is conversation with God.

This is plain and simple. You talk. You listen. You share your heart. You listen for God to share His. You enjoy time with God, and He enjoys time with you.

Throughout my life, I’ve often felt as if I was missing a grand secret about prayer; or that I was simply not trying hard enough. Jesus made prayer very simple for his disciples. I think He did this because He didn’t want them to be confused, and because God approaches prayer very simply. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, or high and mighty- or theologians. He wants us to be ourselves; to approach him authentically; honestly; and simply. I truly believe God is happy when we simply show up to prayer. If you have had trouble with prayer; feeling like you stink at this and wishing you were anywhere else but in prayer; please know that we all stink at it. God is so perfect, so amazingly brilliantly holy; that anything we bring to him is dirty and soiled compared to his glory. But his great love for us moves beyond all that. Be at peace my friend. He’s happy you are here! Prayer is first and foremost a conversation with God. What does that conversation look like?

2) Jesus teaches us to pray.

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches us how to pray. We get so used to reciting it. Many Christians have read and re-read this prayer so often that we may lose the gravity of what is really here. THIS IS JESUS TEACHING US HOW TO PRAY! If you ever wonder if you are doing this thing wrong- you don’t know how to pray- then simply follow what Jesus teaches us. Let me break it down for you quickly:

  • Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
  • Start your prayer acknowledging God’s greatness. Basically we start praying by lifting God up in praise. Praise him for His awesome power- His incredible love- His inspiring goodness- His never-ending grace- His powerful provision- His infinite wisdom. Thank Him for how good he has been to you. These are some examples of how to start prayer through praising him.

 

  • Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
  • We plead with God that his kingdom would come. When we begin prayer acknowledging God’s greatness, it seems only natural that out of that we would understand that it is best for everyone in this world that God’s kingdom would come and His will be done. This part of the prayer is an earnest pleading for God’s kingdom to come. We are truly asking God’s will to be done in our lives and in the lives of our church and community. We want to see God’s kingdom infiltrate our hearts and the hearts of those around us. There is nothing more needed or essential than this. God’s kingdom is the greatest of them all. Do we believe that? Jesus calls us to prayer for this to happen.

 

  • Give us this day our daily bread
  • We pray for God to meet our needs. The purpose of this section of prayer has a couple different facets to it. First, it is us asking God to meet our needs. We come to God honestly and ask for him to be the great provider we know He is. I love the fact that we have been encouraged multiple times to pray and ask God for things. We are encouraged by Paul to let our requests be made known. We are encouraged by Peter to cast our cares upon Him for he cares for us. Jesus taught us that God would meet our needs because He is a good father and we can rest in this truth. Jesus calls us to ask God to meet our needs. A 2nd facet of this is that we need to be reminded that God is capable and faithful to meet our needs- but he’s not always required to meet our desires. Sometimes our desires are not truly what we need. This is a prayer of request but also a prayer of submission. Oh lord I think I need this- but in the end I’m trusting you to know better than I what I truly need. Oh father, give me this day, what I need.

 

  • And forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are indebted to us
  • Confession is major part of prayer. We often view confession as us bringing some hidden secret to light before God that he didn’t already know. God knows all the junk in our trunk. He knows it all. Confession is us acknowledging that we sin. It’s us admitting we aren’t perfect before God and we desperately need him. I still need the cleansing blood of Jesus today even though I’ve been a Christian for nearly 30 years. I’m still a messed up guy who is in a battle with sin in my life. I need to confess this. It can be wonderfully healing to bring our brokenness before God and lay it as his feet once again. Also important though is the second half of this verse. We need to be regularly searching to see if we are harboring grudges or bitterness against someone else. We the forgiven are to be forgivers: and this not just for those who hurt or wronged us but also for ourselves.

 

  • Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
  • This is a prayer for protection. Jesus is telling the disciples to pray for God’s empowering and leading when we are tempted or put in trials. Some may say Jesus is also telling the disciples to ask for God to not permit this trial or temptation. We know from James that God cannot and does not lead us into temptation; but he may permit it for our own deepening. We can ask God to strengthen us and deliver us from this evil. What’s interesting is how this verse is followed up with a further teaching Jesus makes on forgiveness. One could possibly see a connection with the temptation and evil Jesus is asking God to deliver us from the temptation to be bitter and do evil to another person. In either case, Jesus is asking God to deliver us strengthen us and even go out of his way to prevent this temptation.

 

As you look at these things, you can pray along these lines. In your own words you can pray these different areas and you would go a long way towards developing a wonderful and powerful life of prayer. Take some time this week and pray through this- over time this prayer will bless you.

Have a great week everybody!!!

Pastor Ryan