Prayer habits and routines are key to life. Not having to think first thing in the morning; alarm…cup of tea…ablutions…dress…breakfast…action! Just think what life would be like if we had to work out our options every day! God has graciously given us a routine for prayer too, not to pray thoughtlessly, but to follow a pattern known as the Lord’s Prayer.
We start with God who Jesus reminds us is ‘our father’, and in this individualistic world we are part of something - and someone - bigger than us.
He is in heaven, the place that is our destination, where the ‘father’s house ’is, as John reminds us. And although God is spirit and has no gender, embodying both male and female characteristics, Jesus has revealed him as father, not mother, for psychologically very specific reasons.
To hallow the name of God is to treat it with due reverence, and this first part of the prayer brings us to worship. So as part of your worship, why not sing songs or hymns celebrating that we are part of the family of God and he watches over us. Give thanks for who he is, what he’s done, and begin to find that meditating on this takes us to God’s kingdom and his will, which our worship will encourage us to want to see on earth.
It gives us the reminder to pray for our world, its leaders, people and circumstances, and particularly our brothers and sisters under persecution.
The short sentence in the middle brings our daily needs before God. What are your daily needs, and it’s possible they may stretch beyond bread. How do you need your father’s provision for this day?
Jesus takes us on into one of the key elements for our healing; forgiveness. Confessing our own failures before God and being forgiven is immensely freeing; but the condition is that we forgive others. We should do this on a daily basis and not let things build up. Where people have irritated, hurt or upset you, give your feelings to the Lord and let them go in forgiveness. For those severely hurt this can take time, and your Father in Heaven knows.
Then we look at our journey for the day. Bring your plans to your father for his guidance, blessings and involvement, seeking protection from the evil that is in the world, and also in us! In Psalm 23, God leads us in paths of righteousness, but they also include a trip through the ‘valley of death/deepest darkness’. The paths of righteousness are not always easy. We finish with remembering that the kingdom to which we belong, the power/ dynamic which empowers and enables us, along with the glory of our daily walk with Jesus, is all about him, not us, and hopefully it keeps him in our thoughts, words and deeds through the day. Another time of gratitude and praise. Jesus knew how busy life would get, and gave us a pattern we can use in our chapel (!), front room, bus, car, coffee shop or work place canteen. The key is to make it a habit so that the pattern needs no thought, but the prayers flow from our hearts to our father.
The Link is a monthly publication by members and staff of Morningside United Church.