On This National Day of Prayer: Pray As Jesus Taught Us to Pray!

In 1775 the first day of prayer was declared when the Continental Congress "designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation." Then on April On April 17, 1952 President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law. Today all across the United States, people will be gathering to pray.

As you spend time praying today (and other days I trust!) - there is no better guide for our prayers than the prayer Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. It is most often referred to as "The Lord's Prayer." In this paradigm for prayer, Jesus teaches us that we must begin our prayers by reminding ourselves of just who it is to whom we are talking. "Our Father, in heaven" tells us that the God to whom we pray is our Father (that makes us His children - wow!) and he is in heaven (and what is God doing in heaven? Sitting on this throne, ruling the universe!) Allow those first six words of this great prayer to sink in for a moment and you will begin to appreciate what a great privilege we have in prayer!

After the address, Jesus goes on to give six petitions. The first three ALL center and focus on God. Consider: "Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." As we pray today (and any day for that matter) we need to pray that God would answer our prayers in a way that will bring honor to HIS name, advance HIS kingdom and accomplish HIS will. This is a powerful reminder from our Lord that our prayers must be GOD-CENTERED! Ouch! When I think of my prayers I see that they are often anything but God-centered!

The second set of three petitions concern our needs. Again consider: "Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (or the evil one)." God is concerned about us! So Jesus instructs us to pray about physical and spiritual needs that we all face. And note that he tell us to pray for OUR daily bread and for the forgiveness of OUR sins and for deliverance of US from evil. Prayer is not just about ME and MY needs ... it is about praying for the wider community of which I am a part - my family, my church family, my community and my world.

I encourage you to set some time aside today for an extended time of prayer. Not only will you be obedient to God in doing so - you will be blessed!!!

Thanks for stopping by . . .

pj

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