Prayer doesn’t have to be hard work. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of words or gestures. In fact, Jesus tells us not to babble on when we pray. And he also says don’t make a show of praying or try and make yourself sound holy. Instead, he says we should keep it simple. Head to your room, shut the door and pray in secret. That’s it (see Matthew 6:5-8 for more).
But what should you pray about? It’s a good question. And again, Jesus gives us a pretty good idea. He taught his disciples a pretty unique prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, as a way of getting focused when we pray. It’s pretty simple – look below and read through the points to see what Jesus was trying to say.
“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.”
Remember, God is God. He’s the all-powerful creator. He’s in heaven now, ruling over the world. He’s holy, amazing and there to be honoured. So tell Him how good He is.
God’s kingdom, the place where he rules with justice, compassion and love, is a place of peace, without pain, sadness or evil. When we accept Jesus, when we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives or when we take a stand for justice and light, God’s kingdom breaks through into the world. Praying for God’s kingdom on earth is about recognising the world isn’t right, but that there is a better way, and that the story isn’t finished just yet.
God knows us inside out. He’s interested and cares about our needs. This isn’t just about what we eat, but what we face each day, the relationships we’re in, the hopes we have and struggles we wrestle with. Tell God this stuff.
God is holy. He is perfect. As we spend time in his presence we can’t help but recognise our badness. We need to say sorry, to Him, to those we’ve hurt or offended, and to those who have offended us. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection God has forgiven us, so, with his help, we can forgive those who have done wrong to us too.
None of us are perfect. We’re all broken. Whether it’s selfishness, greed or pride – there are loads of things that can tempt us away from following Jesus. We need to be honest with God about those, and ask for His Spirit to help us when we face temptation. We face a battle, but we’re on God’s side, so He can help us.
So, if you’re not sure what to pray, pray this. Learn it, use the points above to understand what Jesus was getting at, and adapt the prayer for your life. Pray it every morning. Get it into your head. Dwell on it and add your concerns and worries. Make it real for you.
We’ve just released our new, free Christmas resource, God with us. It’s a simple youth / small group resource focussing in on Syria. You can download a copy today, to use in your groups in the run up to Christmas.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.