Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
– Matthew 6:9-13
Too many Christians lament their prayer life, but I don’t. I have an amazing prayer life. God is impressed by my prayer life, and I can’t explain to you how thrilling it is to be thus approved by God. It’s almost a given in our church culture to immediately hang our heads whenever the preacher mentions our responsibility to pray. We’re so averse to it naturally and it we can’t help but notice how little of our day is given to prayer.
There is nothing like the topic of prayer to remind the normal Christian that he or she is a very bad Christian. But, I have to boast in my amazing prayer life!
You see, my prayer life is really the prayer life of a Perfect Man that lived the perfect life of prayer and then credited it to me and any of us who believe in him. Jesus knew that you couldn’t pray for hours on end. He knew that you couldn’t pray all night long. He knows that his disciples when they’re at their best will fall asleep when they pray sometimes, or pray wrongly. Most of the time they will not even pray at all. He is so sensitive to our inability to pray that he gives us a very simple outline that we are free to recite verbatim if we want. We call it the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer, a prayer for Jesus’s disciples to pray daily, when prayed slowly and reflectively takes less than thirty seconds. Sometimes, honestly, that sums up my formal praying on certain busy days. But I don’t feel guilty. I don’t blush when others try to make me feel guilty about my bad prayer life. I don’t hang my head because I haven’t gotten through my long list. I just thank God that he knows how pathetically ruined I am as a human being and therefore has given me a simple prayer that I can use as a guide for my own wandering thoughts or pray verbatim with all the joy and confidence of someone who has an amazing prayer life.
Because I do.
Jesus did what humans were intended to do, but never will be able to do. Never. He lived in unbroken communion with God, a life of prayer, in which he unfailingly “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5:7). And thus he became the source of salvation for all who obey him.
The reason we pray is for the glory of God and celebration of communion with him. We pray for salvation from and in this broken world of genetically-perverted resistance to prayer in our human lives. Even if the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.
So Jesus prayed for an entire lifetime. It was an amazing prayer life. Then because I trusted him as my Lord and Savior, God accredited that amazing lifetime of prayer to me. I’ve got an amazing prayer life.
You know what’s interesting?
It makes me want to pray.