First think about some of the silly things you may have prayed for in your life. Go ahead, you know you've asked God to give you something and when you look back you realize how silly it was. When we think about prayer it all comes down to whether God is going to answer yes or no and when He doesn't answer the way we want we ask the question WHY? We may even ask what we're doing wrong in order for our prayers to not be answered how we want but the question we first need to ask is HOW? Now for years I believed for some reason that it was wrong for me to ask God the question "why", but later discovered that it's ok, but can't be our main focus. We need to ask the question "how?" The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and from that we're given some scripture that most people know. If you ever played a sport you possibly even stated it as a team before playing. It's pretty discouraging b/c I think some of the sports teams I played for would recite it thinking it gave us a special power or something, but not really reciting it with much thought of what we were actually saying. One account of the Lord's prayer can be found in Matthew 6:9-13. After looking at this scripture we looked at 3 words to help unlock the "How" in prayer.
-We are to react to His glory
-When we learn how to pray, we have to learn how to react to God
-When it says "Hallowed be Your name"- its saying God you are incredible
-We wouldn't bottle up prayers into a short time if we truly reacted to who God is
-The Psalms were written prayers in reaction to who God is, written in song
-When we sing worship songs they should be sung in prayer- reacting to God's glory
-We are to become like Him
-When it says "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven" it's saying that we want God's will to line up with our life;
His joy, His heartaches, and what He wants for our life
-We may pray this easily, but not truly mean it
-When we do this, true confession comes out of our lives b/c we are honest and realize that we're wrong and are sorry for making it about our own will
-This is the part we all understand
-When it says "Give us this day our daily bread" it is saying- "God just give me enough, only what is necessary and not the things that
I just want
-"And for give us our debts"- we ask God for forgiveness of our sins, but also as we have forgiven those who have hurt us
-"And do not lead us into temptation"- God keep us safe from trials and keep us safe from the enemy
We usually ask the "Why" when it comes to prayer but we instead need to ask "How". We ask the why b/c we may say things like "God I just want my prayers answered" or "I just want my circumstances to change" but what we have to realize is that God is answering those prayers but just not how we want them to be. We must realize that everything we want is not necessarily what we need.
I'm reminded of spending time with my nephew recently. I love my nephew Noah so much it's unreal. I told the students last night to imagine the coolest kid ever, then multiply it by 100 and you have my nephew Noah. He is so much fun and I love him so much. Recently I was praying over him and wanted to ask God things like "God always keep him from enduring any hardships" and "Keep him from experiencing heartache" but I couldn't pray these things because I knew that God couldn't answer yes to all of that. The reason God can't answer yes to all of that is because in order for Noah to become the man that God is calling him to be, then he has to endure some hardships and heartaches. Jesus even told us we would endure trials. So if Noah never endured any of this in life, then he wouldn't be molded and shaped like he is supposed to. I think in my own life the heartaches and trials I have faced and even when I think of them it makes scars re-emerge but I know that if it wasn't for those things that I wouldn't be the person today that God shaped me to be. It's during those hard times that I go to God in prayer- I react to His glory, I become like Him asking for His will to be done, and I ask for those things that align with Him.