Here in Louisiana we love a good party and Mardi Gras is the perfect outlet for one. But now that Fat Tuesday has come and gone, only the best beads are kept and put away for next year, and the king cake is reduced to nothing but crumbs, it becomes evident that we need a shift in focus; hence the tradition of Lent.
Lent is a 40 day time frame within the church that begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days, ending on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. The significance of the 40 days is that it is meant to mirror the 40 days that Jesus spent praying and fasting in the wilderness. It is a call to draw close to God by prayer and fasting.
But what if you find yourself not knowing what to pray or how to pray? Then you are not alone! In Luke 11:1 the disciples asked of Jesus this very thing: “Lord, teach us to pray.”
He (Jesus) said to them, “Whenever you pray, say:
Father (a term of intimacy, such as “Daddy”),
Your name be honored as holy (a call to worship Him as the holy God that He is).
Your kingdom come (a desire for God to receive the glory that is due Him).
Give us each day our daily bread (a request for the necessities of life, not luxuries).
And forgive us our sins (suggests a regular need for confession of our sins),
for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us (reminds us we are forgiven only because of God’s grace in Christ and we should extend that grace to others).
And do not bring us into temptation,” (being aware of anything that might cause us to sin).
Luke 11:2-4 (HCSB) and the New American Commentary
In his book Prayer: The Great Adventure, Dr. David Jeremiah notes, “Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, only how to pray. To know how to speak to God is more important than how to speak to man. Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.”
So, as you enter this Lenten season, be encouraged in your prayer life by exercising Jesus’ example. Remember that prayer is simply communication with your heavenly daddy. Talk to Him as you would someone you know personally, give Him the praise and honor that He is due, and allow Him to cleanse you of your sins. For His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.