We are created in God’s image and not in the image of someone else. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God and is a powerful force. God uses His power to save all of creation and restore it. The Holy Spirit is alive in me. Galatians 5:25 says that because we live by the Spirit, we must keep in step with it. We need to live life in sync with what God is doing.
Spiritual disciplines help cultivate our heart and soul so that we can walk in step with God. One of these is prayer, essentially just talking to God. What if there is a right way to pray? In Luke 11:1, Jesus has just finished praying and one of his disciples asks him to teach them to pray. There must have been something different in how Jesus prayed.
Jesus does explain ways to not pray. Matthew 6:6 says when you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who want to be seen by others. They have already received their payment in full (recognition). We are not supposed to pray in public to impress people. If this is how you pray, you already have your recognition. Instead, Jesus says to go into your room and close your door. Then, the Father who sees you in secret will reward you. Verses 7 and 8 say to not babble like the pagans. God already knows what you need before you even ask Him. You cannot manipulate God.
If God knows what I need, why even ask? The purpose of prayer is not to get Got to do what I want. In verse 9, Jesus explains how to start a prayer: Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. First we need to recognize who God is. Jesus refers to God essentially as Daddy, which was revolutionary as it evokes, intimacy and respect. This is a reminder that God is in control and gives peace in our lives.
Verse 10 says to continue the prayer: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. We need to surrender everything to God. The purpose of prayer is to surrender our will, not impose it. Our reward is the peace and joy that is found in surrender. Verses 11-13 conclude the prayer: Give us our daily brea, forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. This is a list of our requests to God.
Often, prayer in Scripture is not formal. If you looks at many Psalms, you can find examples of this. One of the Old Testament prophets, Jeremiah, prays like Jesus. Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah and was chosen before he was born. See Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and set you apart. Jeremiah had the unfortunate job of telling the nation that it was over for them. They had rejected God enough, and there was no hope. This was not a welcome message and he was put in the stocks. Here are some examples of Jeremiah’s prayer: Jer. 20:7-8: You deceived me, Lord. I am ridiculed all day. The Word of the Lord has brought me insult all day. Verses 14-18: Curses be the day I was born. Cursed be the man who brought my father news of me. Why did I ever come out of the womb? These prayers are incredibly honest about saying what needs to be said.
Despite Jeremiah’s anguish and crying out to God, he still maintains his faith. Verse 9: But if I saw I will not say the Lord’s Word, it is like a fire in my heart. I can’t hold it in. God still has Jeremiah’s heart and he is surrendered to God. Verses 10-13: I hear whispers about me. But the Lord is with me and my persecutors will stumble. Let me see Your vengeance of them. Praise to God because You are saving me. The way people are treating him does not change, but prayer changes Jeremiah instead. Prayer should be a daily reminder of who God is and that I belong to Him.
Be alone, be honest, and surrender.