My Prayer…Routine?

I am teaching my son to pray so he won’t have to figure it out for himself.

I have been trying to encourage him to cultivate a close, personal relationship with Christ. I don’t want him to have that all-too-pervasive mentality in which God is nothing more than a glorified vending machine. I’m trying to teach him that we go to God with more than just our wants. I’m also trying to teach him that our prayers should be like conversations, personal and varied – different every time we speak to God. When we pray, we use words and grammar that come to us naturally, like talking to a friend. But I do like to use the structure of the Lord’s Prayer for our example:

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

Every time we approach God, I believe we should worship Him for who He is. My son and I accomplish this by spending a few moments telling God how awesome He is. And then we try to think of specific things in our lives and in Creation that testify to His awesomeness. For example, we might see a beautiful sunset and worship God for His beauty. We might learn about how ants keep their own herds of aphids and praise Him for His wonderful creation. We might recover from an illness and stand in awe at the marvelous healing capabilities of the human body. At this point in our prayers, we also thank God for several varied and specific things such as salvation, liberty, parents that have taught us about God, or the mere fact that God thought of us individually and saw fit to create our souls. Then we thank him for things we like or enjoy, such as snowflakes, birthday parties, and toy train sets. Our praise and thanksgiving varies from prayer to prayer because I don’t ever want my son to look at the process as a ritual, but merely a conversation between friends, one of whom is holy and deserves acknowledgment of that fact.

Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

I try to truly accept God’s will in my life. Whether He wants me to go or stay, be rich or poor, healthy or ailing – if it accomplishes His will, then that’s what I want in my life. My only unwavering desire is to see as many saved as possible, and I doubt that God’s will is any different in that respect. I would like to think that I would gladly give my life or graciously suffer the deaths of my loved ones, if it could only result in more souls saved. I don’t desire anyone to be separated from our Creator for all of eternity.

Give us this day our daily bread…

I believe it is okay to ask God for things. While it should not be the main reason we pray, He desires to give us the things we ask for, just as a doting father may enjoy buying coveted gifts for his children. When I ask though, I generally tag my petitions with “but your will be done.” I know that He knows better than I do what’s best for me, so I don’t really want anything outside of His will.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…

It is good for us to specifically address our short-comings, and confess them to God and one another. Doing so holds us more accountable, and may even help prevent us from repeating the same mistakes over and over. We need to search our souls for the things that are keeping us from a perfect walk with God, and take whatever steps necessary to oust them from our lives. One of those things is the resistance to forgive others. We have sinned against a holy God thousands of times, and have been forgiven all. What gives us the right, unholy creatures that we are, to withhold forgiveness from those who sin against us?

And lead us not into temptation…

And while we’re asking God to keep us from temptation, we need to not be the hypocrite that walks headlong into temptation on purpose. Our request for help should serve to keep us in check.

But deliver us from evil…

I pray that nothing traumatic ever happens to us, but again, I want God’s perfect will in my life. And God forbid I should ever be a source of evil in this world.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Realize who God is. Realize his awesome power and sovereignty. Remember who you are speaking to as you approach Him with your petitions. Remember that He loves you personally; He is your doting Father. Remember that He desires friendship. But remember too, that He demands obedience.

Challenge: If you don’t have a prayer life to speak of, put down whatever you are doing and begin right now. If you aren’t willing to start now, when will you ever make time for God? I keep hearing Jillian Michaels in my head saying “Transformation is not a future event.” So true.

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4 responses to “My Prayer…Routine?

  1. This was the first thing I read this morning, what a blessing! I only wish I had known what you know when my children were little like yours. Leave nothing to fate! Children must be taught precept upon precept.

    • I totally agree! I wish I had been taught that way, instead of having to figure everything out. I’m sure that I’m still light years behind some of the older Christians in our church. Sometimes I really wish that we had a mentoring program of some sort so we wouldn’t have to learn everything the hard way. And then I’m afraid there might be things we may never learn at all!

  2. You know, there is absolutely no harm in teaching your son now and making it part of his routine. He will be better and more positive for it! I do not pray myself, but I have come to realise that prayer may be the outlet we all need. The conversation we all need to give us the positive input and output we need!

  3. Not only does prayer make for a more positive outlook, but if God truly exists and hears us when we pray (and I’m inclined to believe He does), then there are other added benefits as well! 🙂

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