Jesus teaches about prayer from Matthew 6:5-15. We notice as we read in verse 5 that He says, "And when you pray..." And in verse 6, "But when you pray..." and again in verse 7, "And when you pray..." He doesn't say if you pray. Jesus commands us to pray, and He gives us a model to follow in Matthew 6: 9-13. The kids from Grace Home understood that prayer is talking to God anytime, anywhere, about anything, but it is also listening to what He says. In verse 9, Jesus tells us to address the One we are speaking to: "Our Father, in heaven." This tells us that we are a part of God's family, and we know where He is. In India, it is important to be specific about the god you are talking about. We do not have a little g god, but a capital G God -the One true God, Creator of heaven and earth, our creator. Make no mistake, we are talking about Jesus's Father, our Father God in heaven, where we will someday be. Then, we praise the Name of God -"holy, or hallowed, is your name." We can add many of the attributes of God in praising Him: Almighty, Merciful, Gracious, Just, Loving, Omnipotent, Omniscient... Then we express that we want His will in our lives, and not our own. We want His kingdom right here on earth, until the time comes for us to join Him in heaven. We ask God for our daily needs. He knows what we need before we ask, but He says we can ask, so we do. Give us what we need for today. Then comes the time we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness, and the time we forgive others who have sinned against us. This is very important because the Bible teaches us that if we harbor sin in our hearts, God does not hear our prayers. We ask God to keep us from being tempted by things of the world, of Satan. And, we close by acknowledging that all is His and for Him and for His glory.
Because these kids from the Home attend an Anglican church, they can quote this prayer, and do so every week, but now they know what it means. We practiced, using this as a model for our own prayers, and not just quoting it by rote. We went step by step around the room for each part. Deborah said this part was very helpful, and she will use this technique when she teaches.
Prayer is a habit that should be practiced by followers of Christ. There is so much written about prayer, but the basics are that it is a command of Jesus, we can pray to the Father because of Jesus, and God hears our prayers. We will continue to learn about prayer and practice prayer. Some of my personal favorite books on prayer are books by Andrew Murray (The Prayer Life and With Christ in the School of Prayer), Tom Elliff (A Passion for Prayer), and Behind The Ranges : Fraser of Lisuland S.W. China by Mrs. Howard Taylor. What are yours?