Teach Us How To Pray
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THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG
The first number 1 in the UK charts this millennium was The Lord’s Prayer by Cliff Richard. The songwriter behind this song which you will hear every Christmas without fail was Paul Field… a well respected composer and author. Paul must also be a very smart man as he managed to boost his personal pension fund by taking some words he didn’t write (the Lord’s Prayer), and combining them with a public domain tune he didn’t write (Auld Lang Syne), to create a lucrative original piece of work.
I know the Lord’s Prayer back to front as I’m guessing you also do. I said it at primary school and recited it in Anglican communion as a teenager. It’s incredibly familiar
The danger with familiarity is that words can lose their meaning and power.
When reading through Matthew’s gospel earlier this year I was stopped in my tracks by the the seven words which precede the prayer:
‘This, then, is how you should pray’.
I believe Jesus was wanting to give us a framework for prayer and to learn how to pray. Prayer is not just about petitioning God to make our lives on earth easier and less painful, it’s much deeper than that.
Our Father… we’re part of the family of God. Prayer can be both horizontal (communal) as well as verity and personal.
In Heaven… we need a perspective that there is more than we see today and we need an eternal perspective.
Hallowed be your name… we must pray with reverence and respect for God. He is powerful and able.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done… prayer is not about twisting God’s arm to do our will… we need to be in the flow of His Kingdom coming to earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread… You supply our needs and love to provide for us each and every day.
Forgive us our sins… it’s not popular to talk about sin in many circles but there are many thoughts, actions and attitudes which distance us from the right relationship with God. We need seek forgiveness to have deep and meaningful conversations with God.
As you help us forgive others… Jesus gives us a stark warning that we must forgive others in Matthew 18 in the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor. Each one of us has been forgiven a great deal… we should therefore imitate God.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one… we are in a constant tug of war between good and evil. Our heart wishes to do good but our flesh seeks selfishness and our own convenience. We need saving from ourselves, we need saving from sin and bringing out of darkness.
If we invite Jesus to teach us how to pray, we will deeper our relationship with God and experience new levels of provision, freedom and perspective.
Andy Baker, Chief Enthusiast, Homegrown Worship
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