In need of guidance for how to start a prayer? Here are a few things that can help.
Prayer is an important part of our relationship with God. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start if you’re a new believer, or you are looking for some guidance in your prayer life. It can be easy to get into the motions when it comes to prayer, or feel stuck as to what to pray for. If you’re not sure how to start a prayer, you’re in the right place.
There is no one way to start a prayer, however with a little guidance, our prayer time can become more focused and intentional. The best place to learn how to pray or to start a prayer is to learn from scripture.
It is a good thing to desire to learn how to pray and what to pray for. Jesus’ disciples were curious on how to pray because they saw Jesus’ diligent prayer and communion with the Father. Jesus gave them instruction and showed them how to pray. Today we know this prayer as The Lord’s Prayer.
We can use the Lord’s Prayer as a foundation for our prayers, and how to start our prayers. The short version of Lord’s Prayer is found in Luke 11:2-4 and the longer one that was a part of the Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew 6:9-13. We’ll use the passage in Matthew as our guide.
Matthew 6:9-13 – The Lord’s Prayer
“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.”
There are a few things that Jesus says that give us some guidance on how we can start our prayers. The very first thing we see is that He addresses God not only respectfully but personally. We see that there is a relationship between Jesus and the Father. And we who once were far off in our sin, have now been invited to call God Father as well. How amazing is that?
It makes sense why Jesus started His prayer this way, and taught His disciples to start this way too. It shows that we are speaking to someone who is close and real. God is real and He is personable. Even when we don’t see Him physically, and we don’t talk to Him face to face as we do with people. He is spirit, and He is omnipresent. This means we don’t have to get on a phone call to speak to Him, or go to a specific temple or even during a specific time. He is available to us everyday at every moment. He is an ever present Father and friend to us.
But it doesn’t just end there. Jesus continues to describe where the Father is seated – He is in heaven. Yes, He is omnipresent, however heaven is also His throne. Not only do we acknowledge that God is personable but He is also more than a human father. He is the Lord of all creation. This is even more amazing to think about. The God who created all things, who is in heaven, and yet is present with us, is also the same God who we get to call Father. If that does not astonish us, and create a renewed sense of awe in our prayers, then nothing will.
Once you have addressed God at the start of prayer, it is important to remember who You are speaking to. You get to speak to the God who created everything, including you. This is a big gift! This is where you can take a few moments to give honor and praise to God for who He is. Remember this is a relationship. Just like our relationships with people, we don’t want to simply speak to or have others speak to us when they need something or with a list of requests but without any gratitude, acknowledgement or relationship.
When it comes to our relationship with God, there is so much that we can be grateful for. Jesus continued His prayer with “Hallowed be Your name.” What does it mean when we pray “Hallowed be Your name”? The dictionary defines hallowed as being made holy or consecrated. We know that God, which includes His name, is already holy. When we hallow His name, it means that we are treating His name as holy, and we desire to see the world hallow His name as well.
We get a beautiful glimpse into heaven from Isaiah 6:3, where we see the angels worship God and hallow His name. It reads, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Sometimes we see things repeated in scripture, the repetition of God’s holiness is used as a way to show the significance and point to the perfection of God’s holiness. It was normal to use repetition instead of exclamation points in Hebrew to point out something important. So we see God’s name be honored and glorified without end.
Which leads us to our next point. Jesus continues “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Just a few moments ago we saw a picture of the heavenly creatures glorifying God and here Jesus prays for God’s will to be done on earth just as it is in heaven. As Christians, our lives are meant to honor God, and be a witness for His glory. I love that Jesus starts the prayer this way because it reminds us of what our true purpose is on earth. It can be easy to be overwhelmed with the concerns of our everyday life, and forget that in the midst of life, we are called to glorify God.
In essence, Jesus’ prayer starts with three simple yet important things. It helps us to grow in three areas of our lives, which is to have God’s name hallowed, to desire His Kingdom to come and to see His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. After these, Jesus goes into our daily needs, protection from the enemy, and forgiveness of sins. This is where we can bring our requests to God, and speak to Him about whatever is happening in our lives.
The Lord’s Prayer is a great place to grow in your prayer time, and to be more intentional about how you start your prayers. As we pray, we can be assured that God’s name will certainly be hallowed, His kingdom will undoubtedly come and His will shall indeed be done.