How Prayer Connects You to God
1 Corinthians 12:4, 7-12:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them…Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
How many of you have taken the Spiritual Gifts test? The one that appears on the handout in Sunday school, having you rank your qualities and then add up all the points to see where you are most gifted? As we see in 1 Corinthians 12, there are many different spiritual gifts. I believe that one gift is not the only gift you are given, either. However, sometimes there are people who are much more gifted than you or I in certain areas. One area I always felt that I lacked in was prayer. Everyone knows someone who has a profound gift in prayer. They can stay on their knees for hours, speaking eloquently to God. My last roommate was like that, and I loved that about her! She was such an encouragement. Sometimes, though, I felt very discouraged and lost, not knowing what to say or how to say it when it came to prayer. Though there is no right or wrong way to pray and talk to God, we are given some encouragement and guidance in Matthew 6:9:
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today 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 the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
When reading this you may think, “What the heck does that mean?” or “How is that a model for prayer?” Though the Bible was written way before our time, its content will never be dated, and can be applied even to this crazy modern world we live in. Let’s take a look:
The prayer starts off addressing God as our Father in heaven. Think of this as writing a letter or talking to your parents. You use a proper noun, or name. God fathered us into existence because He is our creator (Genesis 1). He is also a heavenly and holy being. Hallowed is a synonym of the word holy, so when saying, “Hallowed be your name,” we are stating how holy our God is.
The Lord’s Prayer continues by saying, “Your kingdom come, your will be done.” I think that this is the trickiest verse from The Lord’s Prayer to digest, and understand; a verse that I have done some research on. According to one commentary, “Your kingdom comes” refers to the personal relationship you have with God. This can be considered “THE” prayer, if you will, meaning that you ask God to dwell within you as the Holy Spirit (referring to the Holy Trinity). This means that you repent of your sins, acknowledging that aside from Jesus Christ you are doomed to eternal hell. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, reconciling us with our heavenly Father. Prior to the coming of Jesus via the Virgin Mary, God had to be a part from all sinners because of his holiness. This holiness has not changed nor will it, but Jesus, who was without sin, being of God, died in place of us so that we can live in heaven with God eternally, clean and pure because God forgives us. By acknowledging this, we are able to have His kingdom come upon us, and have the Holy Spirit be a part of our lives.
We can also look at this verse as, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This can be utilized as praying for trust, which I think, as human beings we struggle with no matter your personality type. I also think that praying for a trusting heart is one of the hardest, but most important things to do. Why; Because God uses different life experiences to teach us to rely on Him wholeheartedly. Take Job from the book of Job in the Old Testament. Job was considered one of the most faithful and godly men on earth, and God allowed him to be tested by giving Satan the “OK” to put Job through some amazingly hard trails, such as contracting Leprosy, which, in those days, resulted in being cast out from society. However, Job still trusted in God and God saved him. What we go through in life will not always be comfortable, but God will always deliver and we need to trust in that fact. God already knows what tomorrow will bring, so by asking for his will to be done on earth and in heaven is just solidifying our trust in his guidance.
Similar to God always delivering, he will always provide for us. “Give us this day our daily bread” is a prayer of asking. It’s okay to ask God questions; in fact, it is encouraged! Matthew 6:33 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Asking is part of conversing and that is essentially what praying is; it is a means to speak to God.
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” goes back to acknowledging Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We ask for forgiveness for sinning, and should also seek to be examples of God’s love to others. That is something we should always pray for; to become more Christ-like.
The next statement, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” also relates to becoming more Christ-like. Jesus was without sin, and though it is impossible for a human (remember, Jesus was God in the flesh, so he was a manifestation, meaning he was not truly human, and therefore did not sin) to be perfect, we can ask for guidance and protection to help keep from sinning.
The Lord’s Prayer finishes by stating, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” This last part is often overlooked and recited nonchalantly, without being noted for its significance. However, it should never be overlooked because it is a prime example of why we were created. As believers, we believe that the only reason we were created is to bring praise and glory to God, and marvel in his majesty. That is why it is so important to note the last phrase in The Lord’s Prayer. It acts as a reminder as to why we were made and how we should always praise god, despite our earthly circumstances because God is aware. He knows our plans for us, and he desires a relationship with us. The structure of prayer is a prime example of that showing his love, desire, care, and want to converse with us, and be a part of our lives.
Regardless of where you are, what you are doing, who you are, your busy schedule, God is always there, listening, wanting you and loving you.