Dear Father, I need You / Your strength my heart to mend / I want to fly higher every new day again – Five Iron Frenzy, Every New Day, from the 1997 album Our Newest Album Ever
I used to wonder how good overcame evil in the world. After all, evil seems so prevalent and pervasive throughout society, and I am only one person. What could I possibly do that would matter so much as to dare to change the world? But at the end of Matthew 5, the Christ gives the answer: Prayer.
Through prayer, God works. He says that by loving and praying for my enemies, I can overcome evil with good. When I pray, sometimes God changes my “world” and sometimes He changes my heart to be more in line with His. Usually, it’s the latter. It’s a counterbalance to all that is wrong, with some dynamic benefits.
But it’s not just “any” prayer and it’s not mindlessly repeating words or phrases in hopes of achieving a desired outcome. No, this is my chance to encounter the divine. To allow the holy spirit residing within me an opportunity to commune with the Father. And He gives us a format to follow just in case we’re not quite sure how all of that is to take place. Note, the Lord’s Prayer can be broken down into four main components which are more important than the actual words themselves:
- Start with praising God
- Remember to include a personalized request for His work to be done in the world
- Acknowledge our daily needs
- Finish with asking for help with our daily struggles
That doesn’t mean that every prayer has to contain all four components but so often we focus more on reciting the Lord’s Prayer to the point where it becomes mindless repetition, which He despises. Prayer is meant to be personalized and dynamic and ongoing throughout the day (Phil. 4:6). Every time I get sick about all of the junk that is happening in the world, the Christ compels me to put good out instead. The best way I can do that is by praying. How about you?