So Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Prayer is something every Christian certainly should do, but the question is whether there is a correct way to pray. If you have attended prayer meetings in the past, you will notice that different people have different ways of praying. We can say that people have distinct prayer styles, or perhaps there are certain words or phrases they like to use. Some pray in a more quiet and reserved manner while others pray with more volume and passion. Jesus did not seem to address any of these things in his instructions for prayer, but He did give us a pretty big clue about something really important. If we look at the words He used in this prayer, his focus is not on the individual but on the body.
If you have a need, and you pray to God for him to meet that need, that is not a problem. The Lord wants us to go to him with every need and concern. He wants us to rely on him in this life. Yet, the prayer which is our model for petitioning God never includes the word “I”. This prayer is concerned with “we” and “us”. What this tells me is that prayer never should be strictly inward. When I pray for my need for provision, I also should be praying for our need for provision. When I pray for my healing, I also should be praying for my brothers and sisters who need healing. The point is that going to God for what you need should bring to mind what the rest of the body needs. When that happens, it should cause you to petition for them as well.
I wonder what would happen if we decided never to pray only for ourselves or other individuals but always to make sure that our prayers include the rest of the Church. I wonder if something would change in our lives or hearts spiritually if we make sure that the body is always a priority in our prayer lives. Is it not true that when the hand suffers the whole body suffers? Does this not apply also to the foot, the eye and the ear? If the Lord is instructing us to be selfless in our prayers, we should make sure that this is the case with every prayer. Father, help us to model our prayers after your Son’s instructions, that the words of our lips would be in line with the will of your heart.