Jesus said, “This, then, is how you are to pray:
Our Father, who is in the heavens,
may your Name be held in reverence;
may your kingdom come;
may your wishes come about on earth,
just as they do in heaven.
Give us this day the food we need to live on.
And forgive us the debts we owe,
just as we also forgive the debts others owe us.
And don’t bring us into testing,
but rather rescue us from the Evil One.”
— Matthew 6:9-13 (USC)
Prayer will become our lives or the Word of God hasn’t yet become our operating system for life. If God is to dwell in us continually according to his Word, that same Word will overthrow our default inclination to ourselves and the primacy of natural self-willed thinking.
Our consciences piqued, we begin to live as if God were on our hammer, but there is no condemnation of the Lord in this; our prayerful life has made it so we sit on our own judgment seat.
The conscience is a powerful instrument in the Holy Spirit’s possession. With it, the Spirit directs and redirects the moral way, even as the Spirit builds and adorns this moral warehouse with ethical stock of all kinds.
The moral way is a prayerful way, and nothing of the prayers of the ‘said’ variety.
Prayer in the context of the above prayer that Jesus himself has given us is a lived prayer, not simply a spoken prayer. We live it.
If we live our prayers rather than simply speaking them we bring them into creation according to the will and Word of God.
And our prayers are to be lived. Not simply does the conscience commend and correct and condemn – as necessary – it steers us, if we allow it, and it brings our prayers into congruence with the will and the Word of God.
It is much better to live prayerfully than simply speak prayerfully.
One is about conforming to the will of God by the renewing of our minds – the spiritual gift of revelation with the obedience of a follower of Jesus.
Living prayerfully is our solemn worship of trust and obedience. It’s not what we say that counts. What we do is what echoes in eternity.
To live the life of prayer begins as a being thing and ends as a doing thing – our lives come to be lived in accord with what we pray for.
This is a case of embracing the underpinning being of a child of God in order that what might spring from that is a life of doing fruitful works for the Kingdom.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. When prayer ‘becomes’ us, it then becomes no effort at all. Have you experienced this continuity of prayer? If not, how may you ask God to give it to you?
2. Can you see how Jesus’ model prayer for his disciples models not just what we should say when praying, but that it consists of moral actions on the part of God and ourselves?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.