When you read the Gospels, it’s clear that Jesus was a man of prayer. He often went away from the group to pray. I’m sure He prayed a lot with His disciples and in front of them. It was one such occasion a disciple asked Him to teach them to pray like Him. I’m sure they could tell there was a difference in His prayers compared to theirs. There was power and authority in His prayers.
They wanted that and so should we. After the question was asked, I’m sure all the disciples and everyone sat up and started to really pay attention. Now I’m not going to go into the Lord’s Prayer and break it down here, but I’m going to talk about the importance of not only praying, but praying with a purpose. I think we as Christians miss out on this and our prayers lack power because of it.
When I send an email to my boss or any other person with a title higher than mine, I sit down and think through what I want to say and how I want to say it. I think about what questions they might have that will need to be answered and how they might take the wording. I also try to keep the email as succinct as possible so they can get the info they need and then move on.
Why don’t we take such great care when we are crafting a prayer to the God of Creation? Why do we think it’s ok to just throw something together and hope He hears it and responds to it? I’m not saying that those prayers shouldn’t exist or we shouldn’t pray them, but when it comes to prayers of authority and meaning, we need to think through what we’re saying. The example He gave us was succinct, meaningful and to the point. He didn’t fill it up with the word “God” or “Lord” every other word. He thought through the prayers and prayed with purpose.
I grew up where the faster and louder the prayer was the more others and hopefully God would get excited about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those prayers either. What I’m talking about is your every day communion with God. Where you spend time with Him and talk with Him. Slow down. Listen to what you are about to say to Him. Think through how you want to say it and then speak it to Him. It doesn’t have to be super fast. He’s got time.
There are lots of ways to pray and I’m not saying any of them are wrong. God is happy when we speak to Him. But if you’re like the disciple who asked Jesus to teach him to pray knowing that there’s another level, I encourage you to start practicing slowing down your prayers and being more contemplative with them. If we take time to think through what and how we should say something to others, we should do the same for God. Purposeful prayers are powerful.