“Keep it simple”. I often heard people speak those words to me early in my secular career. Maybe it was because I had a habit of over complicating explanations and tasks. “There is always a slight in everything”. In other words, there is always an easier way to get a job done. My grandfather used this phrase when he taught my father how to work. His point was people often make a simple task into major projects. If we take a step back and examine what we are ultimately trying to accomplish, we often see a simple and straight forward way of completing the task. Complications seem to be a habit with people.
When it comes to prayer, there seems to be no end to the level of complexity that people have attached to it. Some believe you can only pray when you are kneeling. Some believe there are 7 steps, 10 steps or more to successful prayer. Others believe you cannot pray a five-minute prayer to be effective. Still others might believe five minutes is way too long (this was my thought many years ago!). But when you look at what Jesus taught, He taught simplicity not based on time or ritual. The key point He showed was that simplicity had power. Power to reach the ear of God! Power to realize results! He wanted us to understand we should expect results when we pray. Jesus said to “ask, and it shall be given to you”. Think about this point for a minute. We speak to God in the name of Jesus and He responds! That’s marvelous!
In order to keep us from complicating His message, Jesus gave us an outline on how to pray. In Matthew 6:8-13, Jesus teaches us the simple and direct way to pray to God.
“Our Father in Heaven…” – this demonstrates the relationship to God the Father of those who are saved through Jesus. He is not only our Creator but He is our Father. This demonstrates that through Jesus we are in His family therefore we can call God our Father. And since He is our Father, He knows all about us and loves us immensely. An intimate relationship with Father have those who profess Jesus as their Savior. Additionally, this statement declares where God the Father lives. He is in Heaven. Therefore, we are directing our prayer to where He is even though His Spirit is with us.
“Hallowed be Your name…” – here Jesus is showing us that the Name of the Father is to be hallowed, which means holy or sacred. The intent here is to change our casual use of His Name and consider it holy. There are many reasons why this is important but for simplicity sake, just know that Jesus wants us to consider God’s Name holy in our hearts, our speech and throughout our everyday life. When we confess this in prayer, we acknowledge the truth that God is holy. This statement should cause us to examine our everyday speech and references to God.
We’ll finish the remainder in Part 2 of this blog.