Matthew 6:9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be your name.’”
Prayer is part of a conversation with God. We speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us, in part, through His word. This is why it is good to use the Bible to guide our communication with our heavenly Father.
One day while Jesus was praying one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Jesus took the opportunity to instruct His followers in the appropriate way to communicate with God.
He reminded them to have a proper attitude. They should not be like the hypocrites who pray for attention from others. These haughty ones would often stand on a corner or public place where they were most visible and pray out loud for all to hear. Instead, Jesus told His disciples to pray in a secret place where they would not be tempted with pride. God would hear their requests and reward their humbleness with His presence and listening ear.
Jesus also instructed His followers to speak naturally. There was no need to recite meaningless repetitions as many unbelievers do. Instead they should talk to their Father in heaven as a dearly loved child. He then gave them a pattern to follow, which has become well known as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The prayer begins in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be your name.
Instead of launching into a grocery list of requests it is important to start by recognizing who God is and praising Him for His greatness and attributes.
Though I understood why praising God first for Who He is would be appropriate in starting a conversation with Him, I recently realized there was another reason to begin our prayers this way. As we focus our mind on the greatness of our Heavenly Father it prepares us to share with Him all our needs. Many things that are troubling our hearts and minds are large and can cause us great worry. When we focus our attention on our heavenly Father first instead of barreling right into our concerns, the severity and impossibility of our requests start to fade away in the presence of His greatness.
When we recognize Him as the supreme and sovereign ruler of the whole world and universe, the giver of our daily bread, forgiver of all our sins, and protector against the evil one, we gain confidence that He hears us and has the power to answer just as He said He would.
Prayer is conversation with God. He hears His child who prays with a humble heart. We do not need to be afraid that we will say the wrong thing or that He will misunderstand. He knows what we are trying to say even before we say it. But, oh, how He loves to hear us praise Him – not just because it pleases Him, but also because it reminds us of His power and willingness to answer.
So when you pray, do it the way Jesus taught. Pray with no thought for human attention. Speak with your own normal words. And give Your Father praise and adoration first. In this way you will be so awed by the greatness of your heavenly Father that your worries will start to fade in comparison.