When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior over 20 years ago, prayer to me was simple communication with a friend. Jesus was my friend. I would talk to him about anything and everything anytime of day. I had no questions about how to pray or what to pray or if there was even a system to prayer.
However, about nine years ago I joined a prayer group called Moms In Prayer International. The main goal of the group, is to pray for our children. Moms would get together and we would pray. There was a leaders guide to follow with ideas and suggestions, questions to ask, that type of thing. There was also a system of how to pray.
Basically, it’s a four step prayer system. Praise, Silent Confession, Thanksgiving, and Intercession.
Ideally , there’s nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, for me it became bondage. It took me a longtime to remember to pray in a 4 step process and when I’d forget I felt like God wouldn’t hear my prayer for my children. Praying in a systematic way really went against everything I understood about Jesus and prayer. For me it was a relationship, a friendship and ongoing communication. Not a system.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
In The Gospels, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The above is the Lords prayer. This was his response to their question.
Many of prayer systems that people come up with are derived from the Lords prayer. You can find them online on sites like Pinterest. There are acronyms like;
P.R.A.Y (praise, repent, ask, yield)
A.C.T.S (adoration, confession, thankgiving, supplication)
These acronyms can be great tools. I don’t think they are bad tools either.
However, over the weekend at church our pastor preached on the Lords prayer. His take on it is that when Jesus is teaching them to pray, He isn’t teaching them to pray in a systematic way. He’s teaching them who to pray to.
He was saying that the Lord’s Prayer is about connecting with God’s character. In essence God his personal, God is powerful, God is our provider, God is forgiving and God is protecting.
I have to say after listening to his sermon on prayer, I felt nine years of bondage to systematic praying released. For nine years I felt uncomfortable praying, because I felt like I couldn’t just communicate with my Lord and Savior. I had to do it a specific way. I had to praise him, then seek forgiveness, then be thankful to him and then pray for those things and people that I needed prayer for, in that order only.
I would’ve never thought that something like prayer would become a bondage for me. But when rules and regulations are put on our relationship with Jesus I think it can happen. I know it can happen. It happened to me when it came to prayer. I am now free to pray about whatever I want, whenever I want and how I want. Not systematically but as a relationship. A friendship.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
I praise the Lord for this freedom! Since last Sunday my prayers are more frequent, my heart is light and I have Joy. I am so thankful for this new freedom.
Have you ever experienced bondage from something that was meant for good?