Within the greatest sermon ever proclaimed is the greatest prayer ever given.
It is so easy to skim over this part of the Sermon on the Mount because we have echoed these words for years... ironically, the teaching Jesus gives us is to NOT pray with meaningless repetition! Yet, sadly, I have mindlessly done it hundreds of times!
(Matthew 6:5-15 ESV) “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The greatest prayer you can pray is an honest prayer intentionally directed at the Living God... the One Jesus calls, Father.
The greatest prayer you can pray is not a public prayer (though this is not a prohibition of public prayer), it is a secret prayer with the faith that you know it is being heard and answered by God
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The effective power of prayer is in GOD HIMSELF. It is not the time, the number of prayers, the place, it is not even the amount of faith.... but we are encouraged and admonished to pray!
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
The first part of this prayer is directed UPWARD. How often my prayers begin with me. Jesus directs prayer to the Father first.... the greatest prayers are more interested in God's agenda than personal agendas.
THY WILL BE DONE
Hillary Scott (of Lady Antebellum) has written and performed an amazing song around the idea of "Thy Will Be Done". She wrote it while wrestling with the aftermath of a miscarriage. The song will be a part of an entire album "Love Remains" that features Hillary and her family singing about matters of faith.
I'm so confusedI know I heard you loud and clear So, I followed through Somehow I ended up here I don't wanna think I may never understand That my broken heart is a part of your plan When I try to pray All I've got is hurt and these four words Thy will be done Thy will be done Thy will be done I know you're good But this don't feel good right now And I know you think Of things I could never think about It's hard to count it all joy Distracted by the noise Just trying to make sense Of all your promises Sometimes I gotta stop Remember that you're God And I am not I know you see me I know you hear me, Lord Your plans are for me Goodness you have in store Songwriters BERNIE HERMS, HILLARY SCOTT, EMILY LYNN WEISBAND
When we pray "Thy Will Be Done" ... it isn't giving God permission to do His will...He will do it (as in heaven).. it is more of an embracing of God's will. When we allow our will to be molded into God's will, we are better, stronger, and more at peace.
THE HORIZONTAL PART OF THE PRAYER
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
As I pray this part of the prayer, I am encouraged! God does care about me and it is OK to ask for things... including forgiveness.
But forgiveness is claimed in the environment of a heart conditioned by God.
True forgiveness from God is confirmed in the fruit of our response... our willingness to forgive and our desire to live in humility and holiness.
That is why Jesus stresses it again... with emphasis:
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
How is your heart right now? Are you lonely? Hurting? Weighed down by sin? Do you feel distant from God? Are you angry? Bitter?
Maybe you're just great right now.....
Quietly pray this familiar prayer... maybe use your own language:
My gracious Father!
You rule the heavens and the earth... the Sovereign King of all creation.
I want your name to be proclaimed over all the earth!
I so wish all people would come to know You and Your amazing ways and experience the power, peace, and freedom of your kingdom!
Lord, please help me submit to You in a deeper and fuller way everyday!
YOUR WILL BE DONE!
Lord, I need help. Without You I have nothing.
I need Your provision and Your protection!
And most of all, I need Your forgiveness..I AM A SINNER!
And Father, may I not live in a caustic attitude of judgement and condemnation of others. I plea for all men to experience Your mercy. You have forgiven me and I need to forgive others!
And Father, I fall so easily to temptation...teach me to live a life worthy of Your gospel. It is a better way to live!
Let it be so in my life! (AMEN)This is how good He is..... He hears and rains down love overflowing.... Open your heart and let the healing begin!