Prayer. Communication with God. We say that it is necessary and important in living out our spiritual lives. While at the same time, we admit to not praying as often as we should during the day. There are many ways of being prayerful and a person can find a variety of books and online methods of how to pray. Yet, we wonder why prayers seem to go unanswered. Why do it, if we don’t get want we ask?
Is prayer a shameless pounding on heaven’s door until God relents and gives us what we ask?
Is prayer a formula to open the door to heaven’s treasures?
Is prayer a bold claiming to receive what we demand?
A disciple asked Jesus how to pray. What he learned from Jesus wasn’t so much a method but an intimate relationship with the Divine. Prayer says much of who we believe God to be and how we understand our relationship with him.
Jesus began, “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.” The word used for ‘Father’ means ‘Daddy.’ While parent/child relationships can be complicated to say the least, a child is dependent upon a good parent to live and thrive. Prayer is to live out that relationship with our ‘Father’ who loves us. His holiness is shown by undivided faithfulness. This is the kind of relationship we participate in as we pray. If a person can get a neighbor to hand over some bread in the middle of the night…if a parent knows enough to give food to their child, we can know that our faithful Father in heaven knows what we need and will respond as well.
“Your kingdom come,” is the next part. The kingdom is the full reign of God over us. The kingdom’s presence is directly related to the next parts about daily bread, forgiveness and deliverance from temptation. Jesus lived out the kingdom’s presence. He fed the hungry thousands with extra left over. On the cross he showed us what restorative forgiveness looks like on a Divine scale. In the kingdom of heaven, there is no place for evil to draw us away. Jesus’ teaching is to pray for the reign of God. So in the face of need, pray for the kingdom to come. In the midst of hatred and injustice, pray for the kingdom to come. When evil seems so strong, pray for the kingdom to come.
Should we pray? Absolutely! We are participating in an intimate relationship with our faithful Father. Pray to the Father like a child brazenly calls out to a loving and good parent. Pray also for the reign of God which Jesus showed confronts and overwhelms the evils of our day.
In closing Jesus said that if we know how to give good things to our children, imagine how quickly our Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! The Holy Spirit who works to bring the kingdom to and through us.