This post is taken from a talk given by Danny Kuhrt, aged 13, at a youth-led service at Streatham Baptist Church in March 2017. Danny spoke on the first half of the prayer (Matthew 6:9-11).
Who finds praying easy?
It can be hard to remember to pray. Life is busy – with homework, computer games, sleeping and tidying my room. Finding time to pray can be a challenge.
But also praying is not easy because we are talking directly to God, our Creator. Perhaps it’s not supposed to be easy.
But in the passage we heard read, Jesus gives us a template of a perfect prayer. The Lord’s Prayer can help us to know how to pray.
I have heard a few sermons, and I heard it’s important to have 3 points. So here goes:
- Firstly we need to remember God’s holiness
Firstly, we need to remember God’s holiness. The first line of the Lord’s Prayer is ‘Our Father, hallowed be your Name’. What does this mean? Well, hallowed means Holy.
I know it sounds simple but prayer is about focussing on God. It is not about us.
It can be easy to think that the world revolves around us. What we want to do, what we are interested in. So much time can be spent thinking about ourselves.
But at its heart, prayer is about setting aside time to focus on God. This opening line reminds us that God is holy. Our creator. He is perfect. Almighty. All-loving.
I am guilty of not remembering God’s mightiness. It is easy to get casual and lose sight of who we are speaking with. All the people I respect, I respect because they are smarter, or more experienced or nicer than me. We are praying to a God who is smarter, more experienced and nicer than you can possibly imagine.
This is why we worship God – he is a holy creator. His Name is hallowed.
- To pray with purpose
The Lord’s Prayer continues ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
It can be tempting to just lean on God – and leave all of our problems and the community’s problems to him. But God does not just want us to wait passively for his kingdom to come and for his will to be done. He wants us to be his disciples and make the earth slightly closer to his kingdom.
Asking God for help is an amazing thing but God gave us free will for a reason – so that we can be part of his work. All of us can change the world a little bit.
For example, me and my brother Tom argue a lot. I can get really angry with him. I do sometimes pray for help and for us to forgive each other. But no real change is going to happen unless I go make up with him, even if it is hard and involves me admitting I was wrong. Perhaps especially when it involves me admitting I was wrong.
I don’t think that God is like a fairy with a magic wand.
We need to pray with real purpose – for example to ask for courage and hope so that we can fix problems and go out and make the world a better place. Our prayers can help us be people of action.
Another example is Love Streatham’s annual Fun Day on the Common. Who has come to this? You can see a picture of me up there if you look hard enough…
Praying for good weather, large crowds and safety and fun is essential. However, if people did not go out, work hard, putting up gazebos – even when it’s a rainy morning – the whole event would not happen. It is through prayers and action that we help God’s kingdom come and his will be done.
- To trust in God’s goodness
Lastly, we need to trust in God’s goodness. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer that God will give us today our daily bread. That he will provide for us. This line is about security that God has given us.
God has assured us that we will not be without our daily bread – what we need for each day. This assures us that God cares for us and even if things are falling apart then we can still trust in God’s goodness.
An example of someone who trusted God is the Apostle Paul. Travelling around the world, Paul was persecuted, beaten up, shipwrecked, arrested, imprisoned, and put on trial and almost certainly executed – all because of his faith in Jesus.
Despite all this, Paul never lost hope or trust in God. He was the author of half the books of the New Testament, some of which were written from jail. It is this commitment through the hardship that shows his trust in Jesus. It is an incredible example for us – we can know that God has our back and is not going to let us escape his love.
In Matthew 6:25 it says: ‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear’. This is possible because God has promised to look out for us and to give us our daily bread.
Worry can easily overtake us and dominate all our thoughts but God does not want this to be the case.
Praying and rowing
The Lord’s Prayer is like a template. It reminds us of the core of prayer.
I want to end with a quote from someone who knows a lot more about prayer than me: Pete Greig who founded the 24-7 prayer movement:
‘Prayer must outwork itself in action. It is about the saying of prayers, for sure, but also about the becoming of prayers in a thousand practical ways. As the Russian proverb puts it ‘Pray to God but continue to row for shore.’
Pray to God but continue to row for shore. Let’s be people who both pray and row!
You can watch a recording of the talk on Streatham Baptist Church’s website (the talk starts at 2.20 on the video).