Hotline to Heaven
Imagine you're sitting in your room one day having a snack and tuning in to your favorite show. The phone rings, but you decide it's not worth getting up to answer. From downstairs you hear your mom's voice shouting up the stairs that it's for you. You yell back down that you're busy and you'll have to call whoever it is back.
Your mom runs up the stairs and throws open your door.
"You really should take this call," she says out of breath.
"Why?" you demand.
"Because it's the President," she informs you.
"The president of what? Student Council? The debate team? Jack Squat?" you ask annoyingly.
"The President...of the United States !!!" she exclaims.
So what would be your next move? Would you tell her to take a message? Would you even believe her?
I think that most people would be incredibly honored and blown away that someone that important would want to have a conversation with them. I know I would be!
Oh, but then we come to prayer. We just can't seem to fit it in our schedule! Besides, even if we could, it probably wouldn't work out. Don't know what to say, how to say it, or when to say it. And if I do say it, how do I even know if He's listening?
He is, and He wants you to talk to Him. That's really all there is to prayer. No fancy flowery fanfare required...just talk to Him.
Oh, but it can't be that easy, can it? Maybe that's what the disciples were thinking when they approached Jesus with this request:
"Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1)
Maybe they had been taught that God was far off, unapproachable. Maybe they didn't know what to say, how to say it, or when to say it. But when they saw Jesus praying they saw something different. They saw a Son connecting with His Father in a deeper relationship than you could ever imagine. So they want what He's got!
Jesus was more than happy to answer:
This, then, is how you should pray: "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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:9-13)
Nothing incredibly complicated, but it is the complete prayer. It is the model for us to repeat and build on when we talk to the God of the universe. Here's how it works:
"Our Father in heaven"- start off by recognizing He is your Papa, your Daddy. He is the Father who will never leave you.
"hallowed be your name"- remember that He is God and you are not. He rules and reigns over the world and the universe, which is why this is a phrase of praise.
"your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"- God's rule and reign on this earth is the most important thing. When you pray this, you realize that life is not about you, it's about King Jesus. History, where it's been and where it's going, is really HIS- story.
"Give us today our daily bread"- God wants to meet all your needs, but He wants to see that you trust Him for it. Notice it is "daily", a word that actually means "enough for today". The point is to trust God on a day to day basis and not worry about tomorrow.
"Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors"- everyday we mess up and step out of God's will, and everyday (most likely) someone will "sin" against us in one way or another. What Jesus is saying is that when you come to the Father for forgiveness, you'd better come with an attitude of forgiveness. You see how close to blasphemy it is to come to God and say, "You who are holiness, forgive me my sins. But this person has offended me, and I am so holy, and I am so righteous that it is unthinkable that I will extend forgiveness to that person."
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."- It's not that God is planning on leading us into tempting situations. It's that only He has can give us the power to defeat the enemy of our souls. So it might go something like this: "Lord, when I desire to sin, keep me from the opportunity; when I have the opportunity to sin, keep me from the desire, because I know behind every temptation is the tempter, a grim and evil force, a personality whose aim is to destroy me.
That's it. Prayer is talking to your Father. Prayer is connecting with the One who made you, knows you, and who sent His Son to die for you. When you start to get a hold of this, prayer goes from being a laundry list chore to a dynamic, world changing conversation!
I think I hear the phone ringing...can you hold on? I HAVE to take this call.
Head: What you need to know about this truth
Prayer is the key to the Christian's spiritual life and should include the elements of intimacy, worship, Kingdom advancement, dependence, confession, forgiveness, and deliverance.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
Incredibly privileged. Think about it, you can talk to the God of the universe anytime, anywhere, about anything you want. You will not get a busy signal or voice mail. His chat room is always open, and His IM is always on. Read the story below and see if it moves your heart to move closer to God:
A man arrives in heaven, and St. Peter is showing him around. After a while, they pass by a large warehouse, and the man inquires what is inside. "Oh, you don't want to see that," protests St. Peter. The man's curiosity is piqued, and he demands to see inside. St. Peter opens the door, and they see a warehouse full of wonderful things, stacked to the rafters. "Why didn't you want me to see this?" the man demands. "It all looks wonderful!" "Well," says St. Peter, "I thought it might make you sad. You see, those are all the things God had ready to give you, if you had only asked for them in prayer."...
The Bible tells us that " the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God." (James 4:2)
Where do you want to go today?
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
Pray continually (I Thessalonians 5:17 ). If you only pray when you feel like praying, it's not going to happen. You have to make time for it and schedule it in your day. Let me ask you this: if I told you to meet me at a certain time and a certain place and I would give you a million dollars, would you "make time" for the meeting? Of course! Yet we have a much greater opportunity than money awaiting us in prayer. Talking to God is the richest experience you'll ever have!