We pray because… we are dependent on God.
One of the reasons we struggle with prayer is that it isn’t natural. From a young age in our culture we are taught independence – to feed ourselves, look after ourselves, stand on our own two feet, to be self reliant. In fact in our society to depend on someone else is viewed as a weakness. One of our problems with prayer is that we bring this attitude into our Christian life, and it affects our prayer life. We find relying on others hard - even when that person is God Almighty.
By contrast the Disciples Prayer reminds them and us that we depend on God (3)”for our daily bread” (4)for forgiveness and for spiritual protection – important in Luke in an atmosphere of increasing religious persecution. Jesus teaches his disciples that they depend on God for their physical and spiritual well being. Is that how we think of ourselves? My hunch is, it isn’t and it’s seen in our prayers. When was the last time you prayed for what you needed physically for the day. When was the last time we thanked God for our food? We live in a world that isolates us from that provision – the danger is we’re lulled into thinking that Tesco, Asda or Aldi provide, not God.
When was the last time we prayed for forgiveness for our sins and that realised grace would be shown in relational grace to others? Surely we can never underestimate our sinfulness and the wonder of grace, and yet when we fail to pray we do.
When did we last pray aware that today I am in a spiritual battle and need God’s protection – do we even see the world in those terms or are we so blinded by the physical world pulled over our eyes that the Spiritual battle does not feature in our thinking and therefore in our praying?
Have we swallowed Satan’s lie of independence? Do we think of ourselves as dependent on God for everything? For anything? Or is prayer the last resort after all else fails, the equivalent of the panic button?
In diagnosing a sick prayer life this is the root cause – we forget or don’t want to depend on God. But as Jesus teaches the disciples, prayer recognises that we are in a relationship with God and depend on him for everything. It strips away the pretence of our independence and confronts us with the reality of our total reliance upon God. But then if God is our Father, why would we not want to rely on him?
Why not stop now and spend some time meditating on your utter dependence upon God? Take some time to peel back the layers of lies that reassure you that you are independent and accept the truth that we are totally dependent upon our Father. Think about what that truth means about today, yesterday, this last week. All that God has given you, all that he has protected you from. And pour that out to God in praise and wonder.