Jesus knew something about prayer. And if we knew what Jesus knew, we'd pray like Jesus prayed.
Jesus knew that prayer must begin with God. In other words, the order of our prayers matters. Jesus teaches his disciples to pray like this, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth at is it in heaven." Why start with God? Because Jesus knew that there is no one above God—no one more worthy, more perfect, or more loving than our Heavenly Father.
Starting anywhere else in our prayers is problematic. Without God as our starting point, we'd surely turn out prayers that sound more like, "Hallowed by MY name. MY kingdom come, MY will be done, in heaven as it is on earth."
Jesus also knew that before we get to our kingdoms, we needed to first surrender to him. Prayer is our method for surrendering control, not securing it. Surrendering control is never easy. It can feel like a roller coaster—eyes tightly shut as we hold on for dear life. When it feels like you're holding on for dear life, facing the unknown, and don't want to let go, remember this: God's name is hallowed. Holy. Perfect. Above all others. He's all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. In other words, you can trust him.
But Jesus also knew surrender means God's will, God's way. It can't be God's will, MY way—which is often what I prefer. Rather, it's taking the example of Christ, who prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39)
Let me ask you, how's your prayer life? What have you been praying for lately? What is your prayer for 2023? For the next few weeks, I'd like to challenge you to approach prayer differently—reflecting on how Jesus prayed.
Have a blessed week!
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Notes from the Staff @The Woods