Below is a step-by-step approach to practicing incorporating elements (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, specific prayer requests) of the “Our Father” prayer, (Matthew 6:9-13, NIV) more fully into your prayer life. A part of prayer is listening to God in silence and through the reading and studying of Scripture. We encourage you to incorporate listening into your times of daily prayer.
We are using the acronym, ACTS, as a way of remembering the elements from the “Our Father” prayer that can help us get to know God better as we pray.
- Specific Prayer Requests
At the conclusion of The Prayer Factor message series, Pastor Hurmon challenged us to pray each day for a week, following the format of the “Our Father” prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, NIV). Here are some tips!
WALKING THROUGH THE “OUR FATHER” PRAYER
Prayer is simply a matter of talking to God, and anyone can do it. The challenge for 1 week is to spend 10 minutes a day in conversation with God in a variety of ways. The goal is to get to know Him better (Ephesians 1:17, NIV).
Postures of Prayer: The Bible teaches us that a variety of postures are appropriate. People may kneel, prostrate themselves on their faces, walk or sit all while praying. You may also incorporate a time of prayer into your commute to work (while on a car, train, bus or bike) or into a time of exercise, etc. What’s important is that you are serious about talking to and listening to God.
Methods of Prayer: Some people write their prayers in a journal, others sing them as they listen to Christian songs or praise music, and still others pray through Scripture. Any of these methods are sufficient as a means with which you can engage in conversation and share your heart with God. If you are searching for God amidst a tough season, then you to consider praying through the prayer in Psalm 42:1-3.
A Prayer Model: Jesus teaches us a model for prayer in the “Our Father” prayer. To sanctify or make holy God’s name is to set God apart in your mind. You can do this by recognizing God’s greatness and goodness (Psalm 150:2, NLT)!
This begins with Praise (focus on “who” God is, as revealed in Scripture and creation) and Thanksgiving (focus on “what” God has done in your life).
MONDAY’S PRAYER TIME
Declare your praises or sense of “awe” at who God is revealed to be! You can say, “Lord I praise you,” or “God I am astonished because…” or simply, “Wow!” Reflect on the list below and/or add your own words or descriptions – but do so while in conversation with God.
I Praise You God! You are:
- Eternal (You have no beginning or ending.)
- Creator of the universe (Your power is mind-blowing.)
- Present everywhere at the same time (You are with me in my distress and with me in my celebrations.)
- All-knowing (You know all the details of my past, my present and my unfolding future.)
- My Strength (You are my help in a time of need.)
- My Hope
- My Peace
- My Hiding Place
- My Savior
- Through Jesus Christ….You are my glorious Father, my Eternal Parent.
Conclude by reciting and claiming the truth of Psalm 100:4-5 (NLT).
TUESDAY’S PRAYER TIME
Offer thanksgiving: Remember “what” God has done. In this section of prayer, you can share with God what you recall God has done in your life and why it is so meaningful to you. Use the categories below to spark your thinking. One category may be sufficient as your drill down into it. Example: “Lord I thank You for my family. Thank you for the spouse You have given me – he/she brings such joy. Thank You for my children (name them). I praise You for their sense of humor, their agile minds, their quick wit,” etc.
Thank You, God, for:
- Life, health and strength
- Food, clothes and shelter
- Family, friends and loved ones
- Job, colleagues and transportation
- Your unending love
- Your boundless mercy and grace
- Rescuing me, saving me and delivering me
- The miracles You have worked in my life
Conclude by reciting and claiming the truth of Psalm 107:1-2 (NIV).
WEDNESDAY’S PRAYER TIME
Pray for self and others:
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
In this section of prayer you are asking for God to align your life and our world with God’s agenda and purposes. You are praying that God’s will be done in your: Life (i.e. mind, passions, habits, dreams, etc.), your family (list them out and talk to God about each one), your church (leaders, finding a building, reaching those who feel far from God, etc.), your job (priorities, responsibilities, colleagues), your neighborhood, our nation and world. Within God’s Kingdom in Heaven, there is no injustice, poverty, sickness, death, inequality, etc. So, as you are praying (for God’s Kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done), you are asking that God release more justice across the nation, heal the sick (be specific where you can), eliminate more poverty, bring more peace where there is now discontent and war! You are praying for God’s authority to align our leaders in Washington and our Statehouse with His best will and greatest intent. Pray that God will even use missteps and mistakes to accomplish God’s will on earth!
Lord let your will be done and your Kingdom be established in: my life, my family, my church, my job, my neighborhood, our nation and the world.
Conclude by reciting and claiming the truth of Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV).
THURSDAY’S PRAYER TIME
Talk to God about provisions: your needs, dreams, questions, etc.:
“Give us this day, our daily bread.”
In this section of prayer you are asking God to give you the provisions you need to accomplish God’s will each day! For example, ask God to provide for your financial needs and to help you be the parent, spouse and/or friend you need to be today. Ask God to give you the wisdom and imagination to be effective at work, the resources to succeed in school, etc. Talk to God about your dreams and the questions with which you are struggling. Seek guidance regarding a personal struggle (ex: healing from depression or other struggles), healing for your body – whatever you need!
Conclude by reciting and claiming the truth of Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).
FRIDAY’S PRAYER TIME
Ask God to forgive you and to help you forgive:
“Forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us).”
In this section of prayer, be prepared to claim responsibility for your sins, mistakes, destructive habits and poor choices. Additionally, as you itemize these personal challenges (e.g., “Lord I confess that I continue to be dishonest with my counselor.”) think about the various people your actions or choices have/or are wounding. Own your stuff. Repent (i.e., Tell God you are sorry and desire to do better.), and ask for God’s forgiveness for each incident on your list of regrets. If appropriate, ask the person you have wounded for forgiveness, and share your fresh commitment.
Conclude by reciting and claiming the truth of 1 John 1:9 (NIV).
Now, make a list of all the people whom you have not forgiven. Consider the great forgiveness that God has just poured into your life. Ask God for strength to start the process of forgiving and letting go.
Perhaps you need to write a letter to the person (even if they are no longer alive) in order to share your pain and hurt with them and to inform them that you forgive them (or at least that you have started the forgiveness process). You can do this even if you decide not to send the letter. Ask God, “Please fill my heart with compassion for _________. He / she hurt me out of his / her own hurt. Help me to forgive, and I ask that You forgive _______ as well. Consider repeating this step daily until you begin to feel a growing freedom from the resentment and pain that you are currently experiencing.
Conclude by reciting and claiming the truth of Philippians 4:13 (NKJV).
SATURDAY’S PRAYER TIME
Ask God for wisdom and protection:
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Take a moment and identify your greatest temptations. Acknowledge them. You may even want to list them out in writing. Begin to ask God for wisdom. Ask God to show you how to avoid these temptations and to help you make wise decision regarding them. Secondly, take some time to pray for God’s guidance and protection from evil over your life and the lives of those who are dear to you.
End your time of prayer by affirming what the later biblical manuscripts include as an appropriate conclusion:
“For Yours (God) is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory forever. Amen” Matthew 6:13b (NJKV).
A FINAL NOTE:
Prayer is a conversation. Therefore, it includes both talking and listening as God speaks back to you (e.g. as you read the Bible, as the Holy Spirit speaks to you during the Sunday message, etc.). As you talk with God, expect God to answer you (e.g., through an impression He leaves with you, someone who shares a point that is exactly what you need, an insight offered in a classroom, a dream, a vision, a song, a thought or verse of Scripture that comes into your mind. All of these are examples of how God may respond.). So, expect God’s response. It may come immediately or over time. God may answer a question or suggest that you continue to wait on Him! But God will NEVER tell you to do something that violates the teaching of Scripture (e.g., God will NEVER tell you to take your life.). Lastly, some answers may take months or even years. And when these answers come, they may not be in the form you expect. But keep talking, listening and believing – God longs to speak into your life, and He will do so.