Martin Luther said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” However, some of us can get a bit short of breath.
Let’s face it, our lives are busy. It’s a challenge to fit specific prayer time into our hectic schedules. Besides, we can pray popcorn prayers any time, any place, right? Just pop one up whenever things get a bit hot.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s how we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can have an on-going conversation with our heavenly Father all day long. But could we be missing key elements of prayer if we only pray quick, on-the-go prayers? If so, we may find ourselves desperate for a deep spiritual breath. Perhaps man cannot live on popcorn prayers alone.
Jesus gave us an example of going off by Himself often to do nothing but pray. He also taught us how to pray in The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Could He have been teaching us what to include in prayer, not just a prayer to recite? When we take a closer look, we see key elements we may be missing when we pray on-the-go prayers.
Let’s look at those elements of prayer Jesus taught using an acrostic for PRAYER to help us remember them.
- Pursue Prayer Proactively – In this manner pray... (Matthew 6:9a NKJV). Jesus was proactive about prayer. If we’re going to get anything done in our busy day, we’ve got to be intentional about it, and it’s the same with prayer. We must schedule time for fervent prayer and add prayer to the top of our to-do list.
- Remember His Righteous Deeds – Hallowed by Your name (Matthew 6:9b). When we remember who God is and praise Him for what He has done, we bring Him glory and hallow His name. It also reminds us what He is able to do (Ephesians 3:20) and builds our faith for what we are about to pray.
- Acknowledge Sin and Ask Forgiveness – Forgive us our debts... (Matthew 6:12). King David said, “If I cherished in in my heart, the Lord would not have listened (Psalm 66:18). When we pray on the go, do we take the time to confess and repent, and to forgive others? Do we pray to avoid temptation and be delivered from evil (v13a)?
- Yield to His Will – Your kingdom come, Your will be done (Matthew 6:20). Job 26:14b says, “The thunder of His power, who can understand?” Why seek our will when our knowledge is limited and our power is lacking, when we have a heavenly Father who is all knowing and all powerful to accomplish what is best for us.
- Enjoy His Daily Bread – Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). This is where we bring our requests and trust and enjoy His provision. But is there more to daily bread than physical bread? Do we enjoy the Bread of Life?
- Rest in Him – For Yours is the kingdom, power and glory (Matthew 6:13b). Jesus began and ended His prayer with worship. When take time at some point of our day to include these elements in our praying, we will be able to trust He has everything under control. If His is the kingdom, power and glory, we can rest in Him and boldly say, “Amen” – so be it!
If we are going to change our lives, our families, our countries and our world, we must pause long enough to catch our spiritual breath and pray fervently as Jesus modeled and taught.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b
By Penny Cooke
Used by Permission
(From the book, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World.
Learn more at pennycookeauthor.com.)
• How to Pray
• Sample Prayers
• How to be Saved