A team member rushes into your office first thing in the morning, as you begin to take the first sip of your first cup of coffee. You thought you might ease into the pressure of the day, but perhaps that won’t be reality. Quickly the team member jumps right into your office without any greeting and immediately begins to ask a non-pertinent and non-emergency related question about your expectations on the formatting of the presentation that is due by end of business today. Does this sound familiar?
If so, your mind may be stuck on the sip of coffee not getting in your mouth soon enough or how often a day doesn’t go as you had expected. While both of those are often true, the actual idea I encourage you to consider is the team members failure to slow down and greet you in a way that prioritizes the relationship over the presentation they clearly have procrastinated over.
Certainly, there are times when we don’t have time for niceties and we need to simply get to business; however, that’s not the point. So often in life we become so self-centered that we neglect to value the relationships around us and become too focused on what we need to receive or achieve. This reality is bad enough in our marriage, parenting, or work relationships, but sadly we do it to God all the time.
Pause for a moment and evaluate your typical prayer. If we are honest, we usually jump right into asking for something, expressing anger about something, or apologizing for something. Other times we may offer a gratuitous and habitual introduction to our prayer like, “Dear Jesus”, and then go straight into our requests.
You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal about that?” Well, a lot actually. Certainly there are times when in a crisis we may skip the formalities. Perhaps your day is one long and ongoing conversation with God and some prayers dip in and out of statements. Both of those make sense; but again, that’s not the point.
When we closely evaluate the model prayer of Christ, called “The Lord’s Prayer”, and use it as a model for prayer, then we have to really slow down and pay attention to Matthew 6:9. Jesus intentionally begins His prayer with an acknowledgment of God as His Daddy, and recognition of the sacredness and holiness of His name.
It is critical that we slow down and breathe in this truth in recognition that we are talking to the Creator of the world who is above all and holds the world together. In His power, He chooses to interact with us on an intimate and personal level. We are privileged to call Him Father, and must honor the position He holds and the power of His name. In other words, don’t forget Who you are talking to.
As you navigate this week with daily prayers, may you deliberately pause and think about the Person you are conversing with and do so with respect, confidence, humility, courage, and fear. He is the One True Living God and cares about you deeply. He desires to hear your petitions, your cries for help, and expressed needs. He also is a jealous God who is worthy of your worship and desires to hear you acknowledge His supremacy and power. Perhaps thinking through this for a moment will change your prayer life.