Yesterday, we started talking about talking…to God. Throughout the centuries, Christians have taken the time to write down their prayers and I’m so glad they did. There are times when I want to say something to God, but don’t know how to put it into words. I know the Bible tells us that when we don’t know what to say, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26), but sometimes, I really do want the words. Recently, for example, I’ve been praying the words of Thomas Merton: “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.”
Of course, the written prayer is the one Jesus prayed when His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. It’s one I’ve prayed so often that I have on occasion found myself just rattling off the words without regard for their meaning, and you may have too. I think when we just repeat the words, we detract from the prayer’s beauty, purpose and power and we do ourselves – and even God – a great disservice. I came to this realization a while ago and one day, I sat down with the Lord’s Prayer to dissect it and mull it over. I wanted to look at it with fresh eyes and gain a new understanding of the prayer I’ve heard for as long as I can remember:
My Father – the very reason for my existence – You are in Heaven but at the same time, You are right here with me. Your name is holy. You are holy. I can’t wait until Jesus returns and You establish Your Kingdom here on earth! Until that happens though, I want to do what You want me to do the way Your will is done in Heaven – quickly, humbly, joyfully. Please give me today what I need for today – nothing more and nothing less. I’m trusting in your provision. God, I’m going to fail because I’m human and imperfect. When I do, point it out to me so that I can confess it and claim Your forgiveness. When someone does something that hurts me, give me Your grace so that I can forgive them. When I’m tempted today, remind me that I can say no and I can choose to do the right thing because You have given me the power to choose right over wrong. You are the Almighty God. Everything belongs to You: all power, all authority, all glory and honor, now and for all eternity!
Have you ever read a prayer that spoke your heart to God in a way your own words couldn’t? What part of the Lord’s Prayer is most significant to you right now?