One of our great and sacred privileges as Christians is that we can pray to God directly, without having a priest to mediate for us. We already have a high priest, Jesus Christ, whose blood opens the way for us unto God, a way through the Holy of Holies so that we can boldly enter the throne room of God and speak to Him. “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” (Heb 4:16) We don’t take this privilege lightly, for many of us know exactly how important this is, and know right away that we don’t know enough about it to do it the right way. We are afraid we will do it wrong, and thus our spiritual lips are silent, for fear we might offend God trying to do the right thing.
However, using that logic, we undoubtedly were offended when our children first started to talk to us, and used sounds and parts of words, rather than fully conjugated verbs and proper nouns. Surely our children were afraid to speak in our presence because of our insistence on the proper declension of pronouns and the proper use of adverbs and adjectives. OF COURSE NOT! We were delighted that our children began to speak at all! We wanted them to speak, even to use “dada” and “mama” to get our attention. We craved to hear their voice.
So it is with God. God does not expect us to pray like the prophets or the apostles, because we are neither. We are His children, and He yearns to hear us speak His name in prayer. He yearns to hear the voice He made speak back to Him in worship.
And prayer is exactly that: it is a time of worship where we speak back to God. Prayer is our opportunity to speak to the One who made us.We are turn to the Master Teacher to teach us what prayer is all about. We not only look at the prayers He suggested to us as a model, but also the prayers He offered as examples of what our prayers should be like.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day 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 evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.