Why do you pray?
Don't be too quick to give a generic Sunday school answer. Take a moment and think honestly: what causes you to pray?
Perhaps the answer to that question can be discovered with another question: when was the last time you prayed? (I'm talking about our personal prayer life, not a prayer before a meal or during a small group).
I think that, at some level, we are tempted to view prayer only as a vehicle to bring God our list of wants, desires, or needs. If that's the case, we will only pray when something is outside of our ability to acquire it.
Yes, prayer is meant for that purpose - "Give us today our daily bread." But, prayer is so much more. One of the things I love most - and that also challenges me the most - about The Lord's Prayer is that it begins with surrender.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." That's a surrendering prayer. How so? In four ways:
1. Prayer is surrendering to Someone more ultimate than you.
By confessing God as our Father, we immediately reduce ourselves to a child. If we pray this in conjuction with Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning, God..." - it will keep us in our rightful place.
2. Prayer is surrendering to a plan bigger and better than yours.
Prayer confronts us with the fact that we are not as smart or as powerful as we wish we were. It reminds us that there is a Kingdom that spans from before origin to beyond destiny and includes everything in between.
3. Prayer is surrendering your right to live as you want.
Prayer is bowing our knee to the reality that we do not have any natural right at all to do what we want to do with our lives. We have been created to live inside God's boundaries.
4. Prayer is surrendering your hope in life to God's grace.
The entire Lord's Prayer is actually one of surrender. It ends with "give us" and "forgive us" and "lead us" and "deliver us." Our only hope for all of these things is the generous, empowering grace of God!
So today, close your eyes, bow your head, and surrender. Victory is found when you surrender!
- When and why do you typically pray? Review your past week or month of personal prayer.
- Which of the four areas do you need the most grace to surrender in? Be specific in why.
- Who can you surrender with together in community through the power of prayer?