(Part One of Five)
Our Father, who is 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. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
I'm an intercessor, and I come from a long line of intercessors. I remember my dad and my mom both up early in the morning praying. And I remember spending the night with my grandparents and my grandfather kneeling at his bedside in fervent prayer. My mom remembers his dad, my great-grandfather, doing the same thing when she was a girl. All that to say, my family modeled a seriousness about prayer. Today, I have great faith that God designed prayer and hears our prayer.
S/he's a person, not a prayer request.
I've had that quoted at me on more than one occasion and by more than one person. And even though it's been spoken out of a burdened mother's heart, it always feels like a slap. I hear your heart if you are saying this to me, but allow me to make an appeal. To an intercessor, all of the people who are important to me are prayer requests. If I say that I am praying for you or yours, I am. And I view prayer as a labor of love, not obligation. So please hear my heart, too.
The flip side is that I'm very careful not to commit to praying for everything that comes across my plate. For every request out there, there is an inner, intimate circle and an outer, more distant circle. So I'll be honest; I triage requests. I don't mean that to sound flippant or crass, but I only have so much mental and spiritual space. And you have an inner circle that may be more acquainted with the person or situation than I am.
I'm also rather type-A. Combine 'Type-A' with 'intercessor' and 'wife/momtoeleven' you end up having a pretty good schedule for what to pray when. I mean, there's so much and so many to pray for that I really need a neat little slot to fit it all in.
...Which brings me to the point of this series. A while back, Brett asked me to write down all the things I pray so that the kids could have a written record of it. So, without further ado...
Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.
I used to think this was a statement of fact, much like a confession, but recently I heard someone say it was a request, as in, Let your name be hallowed by me today. So I always start with this prayer, asking that each of us can remember that the God we serve is holy and that, wherever the day takes us, we will revere His holy name.
Your kingdom come.
On Mondays, I pray for tribulation and persecution. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 24 that very hard times would come for believers. I admit that what that meant to the original audience and what I'm supposed to do with it can be a bit confusing. But I'm not confused on this point: the Christian will experience tribulation and will experience persecution. Not a few (ostensibly) faithful people have been shipwrecked on those rocks. I don't want my family to be numbered among them. To that end, I pray that when tribulation (hard times) and persecution (hard people) come our way, my family will be able to withstand it; that we will rest in the sovereignty and goodness of God; that we will take our eyes off the waves and focus them on God, that we will respond in the Spirit, rather than react in the flesh.
Your will be done.
I pray that God's will would be done in us in a couple ways:
1. That the kids would be regenerated at a young age, that they would see that they are sinners in need of a Savior, that they would understand the work of the Cross.
2. That we would work out our salvation in fear and trembling, not treating God's grace like a cheap doormat to wipe our feet.
3. That we would have the Word written on our hearts, that it would be our plumb line, that when we add to or take away from God's Word, we would be quick to repent.
4. That we would bear good fruit in keeping with repentance, that we would grieve over our sin.
5. That we would love what God loves and hate what God hates.
Give us this day our daily bread.
I think thankfulness is a really important part of prayer, and I don't want to be like the nine lepers whom Jesus healed but who forgot to thank Him. So on Mondays, I spend a fair amount of time giving thanks. I give thanks chiefly for our salvation and the peace that comes from that. But I'm also thankful for Brett and each of my children, our parents, health, provision, material blessing. It's the day when I review the past week and the blessings that came our way and take time to deliberately give thanks.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
How important to my spiritual health to take time every day to examine myself and to ask forgiveness for things over the last day when I thought, spoke, or acted sinfully. And as I get right with God, it also makes it that much easier to forgive people who have offended me.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
This is important. Our enemy is real. He prowls like a lion seeking to devour us. We should pray for protection over our family members like we really believe that. So I do. Every day.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
It's good to end by giving God praise. And it serves to remind me that He is able to do all we ask or imagine.
Mondays is also my allotted time to pray for missions. We have two families who do missions in connection with our church, so I pray over those ministries every Monday. I pray for their own families, as well, marriages, kids, direction, and effectiveness. And I pray for the nations. When one of our local missionaries gives us a nation report once a month in church, I pray for that nation, that the Church there would be strengthened with good pastors, teachers, elders, marriages, and families, that the Church there would grow as the gospel permeates that society.