Using the Lord’s Prayer as a template, these words of affirmation, praise and forgiveness make a good plan for daily devotions.
God loves it when we pray.
He loves it so much that the Bible tells us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV). And, judging from the prayers that are recorded in the Bible—especially those in the Psalms—He will hear and respond to all kinds of prayers, whether we’re celebrating, complaining or crying.
But there are some kinds of prayers He most wants to hear from us, at least if the “sample prayer” Jesus gave to His followers is any indication—and who would know better than Jesus?
Measured by the Lord’s Prayer, these are the prayers God most wants to hear:
1) Affirming Prayers
When Jesus prescribed a way of praying for His earliest followers, He started, “Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 NIV). This suggests that God wants to hear you identify with Him and affirm that you are His child, establishing your place in His family.
2) Prayers of Praise
The Lord’s Prayer continues: “hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9 NIV). Elsewhere, the Bible says that God is “enthroned” on the praises of His people. So, go ahead and praise Him for His attributes such as His holiness, power, glory, love and kindness.
3) Prayers of Submission
Jesus also instructed His followers to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NIV). This is a prayer of submission and participation in God’s will and ways. It indicates that God loves to hear you surrender to His loving will and enlist in His wise plans.
4) Practical Prayers
When Jesus told His followers to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 NIV), He urged them to appeal to God for the most basic, practical, ordinary needs of daily life. So, when you pray for food, job, finances, home, car and health, you’re saying the prayers your Father in heaven most wants to hear.
5) Prayers of Forgiveness
When Jesus modeled prayer to His early followers, He included the confession of sin and request for forgiveness in His short recipe: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 NIV). Some of us, of course, more naturally pray for forgiveness from “trespasses,” but the idea is the same. It’s a signal that God wants to forgive our sins and wants us to forgive those who wrong us. He desires a daily soul-scrub for us, one that keeps us from holding on to our sins…and from resenting others for theirs.
6) Prayers of Deliverance
One more category of prayer that God most wants to hear from us are prayers of protection and deliverance. Jesus told His followers to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13 NIV). God knows that we are prone to temptation and vulnerable to the evil one, and we need Him to help us avoid and escape both…as well as to pray so that we’re also regularly, even constantly, aware of our need.
These six kinds of prayers aren’t the only ones—there are so many ways and occasions that could fuel our unceasing prayers. But, judging by the Lord’s Prayer, these are the ones God most wants to hear from you, so much so, that they make a good plan for daily prayer.