In my Blog “The Lord’s Prayer” I gave an overview of the promises of the Christian faith and how this prayer addresses all the challenges we face. It is our blueprint for getting blessed. Now I want to show you in detail how to use it. To simplify the path, I created the Prayer Pyramid.
The Prayer Pyramid contains the six parts of the Lord’s Prayer. There are the three affirmations Accept, Trust, Ask, which are in fact prerequisites for the prayer to work. Then there are three types of prayer requests: Need, Sin, and Lure. They cover all possible problems (if you find any that does not, let me know.)
The first task is to evaluate if we satisfy all prerequisites:
1. Do I believe in God’s existence? Have I accepted Jesus?
2. Do I fully trust Him: His love, His wisdom, His power?
3. Did I ask Him to help me? Did I recognize what is wrong? Did I humble myself and ask for help? Will I obey Him?
The prerequisites require action from us. We must accept God as our savior. Believing in God is the most fundamental requirement. It requires a decision. It is a binary choice. It is either yes or no. There is no middle ground. However, as our creator and father, God offers everybody the option to believe in Him. He is not selective in providing access to his kingdom. He loves us all and wants every child at the dinner table.
But God does not force us to be with Him. He wants us to join Him willingly. Moreover, nobody else can oblige us to believe or not. While we all have the opportunity to get on board, the decision is ours alone, and we are solely responsible for our choice. So my question to you is, did you accept Jesus? Are you saved?
We move to the next step in satisfying the requirements. Do you trust the Lord? On a scale from zero to ten, where is your faith? Have you been tested yet? Were you driven to the abyss where there was nothing left but God? Have you walked on water? Did you waver in your faith? Did you prefer to stay in the known rather than moving to the unknown?
Trusting God is not easy, no, it is very hard. It means giving up control, relying on God instead. Who in their right mind wants to give up control? This behavior is contrary to everything we learn and strive for in the secular world! And yet, we recognize immediately the serenity coming from a deep faith.
The secular world often questions the intelligence of believers. But faith comes from knowledge. When we not only read about God’s incredible deeds but also experience His peace and him moving mountains and winning wars for us, the question “does God exist?” becomes rather silly.
Faith is existential knowledge. We experience God’s unconditional love. Although He does not force us, He will do anything possible to save us, to bring us into His kingdom. He looks out for us and protects us. He is wise beyond comprehension. He is master of all dimensions of earth and heavens. He sees what we cannot even imagine. Thus, by fully trusting the Lord, we show that we have become experts at faith.
There is one more step to fulfill before we can receive God’s blessings. We need to ask for them. This task seems at first glance rather strange since God knows what we need. However, we see again and again that God does not stuff His goodness down our throat. We have free will. So we need to decide what we want and then ask Him. He decides whether our wish is good for us and if so, how he intends to satisfy the request.
Everybody who closely follows people’s blessings gets an idea of God’s working. First, He usually does not give us exactly what we want, but what we want to achieve. His blessings are often interconnected and include a chain of actions for many people. Miracles do happen. We just have to watch carefully to see them. So never, ever give up asking for one.
Of course, we not only need to ask, but we also need to do what is required for us to implement the blessing. We need to walk even when we don’t know where the journey will end. This step requires trust in the Lord, in His goodness, in His wisdom, in His power. Thus, the priorities are clear: Accept, Trust, Ask.
Once you accept Jesus, trust Him and ask for the blessings, you have satisfied all prerequisites for receiving them. It is now time to look at the type of concerns you want help with, what they mean, how to prioritize them, and what answer you can expect.
There are three kinds of troubles: need, sin, and lure. I cannot imagine a problem that does not fall either into one of the prerequisites or concern categories. The differentiation between need, sin, and lure is relatively easy. We can answer these questions and get the relevant category:
1. Does my problem represent a need such as food for the body or soul? → Need
2. Did I harm myself, another person or God or did someone else hurt me? → Sin
3. Am I tempted to act against myself, another person or God? → Lure
We need food for the body and the soul. Our body cannot work without healthy nutrients. Our psyche gets lost without spiritual nourishment. When we ask for our daily bread, we ask for all the basics: enough healthy food, good stable health, enough money to cover our basic needs, healthy relationships, spiritual food, a church and so on.
Our faith gets tested when we lose our jobs, face health or relationship problems, and when our accustomed life turns upside down. However, when we trust God and ask for His help, He will intervene. Moreover, when we stay close to God, search for His companionship all along, He provides us with a sense of deep peace. Many people who had experienced terrible situations tell us that they felt somehow removed from the scene and pain. While in rough waters, our task is to hold on to our faith, ask God for help, trust Him unconditionally, and obey the Lord. It will turn out ok. Moreover, it builds your and your witnesses’ confidence in the Lord.
When we are close to the Lord, we get his messages telling us what we need to do. We need to obey Him and do our part in resolving the situation. Prayer is not a one-way street. However, we must be careful with our personal decisions since they might make us sin. We must not cross God’s plan.
As with any gift we receive, we should not only recognize it but also be grateful. God’s faithfulness and every blessing and miracle are worthy of praise. While we get spoiled, let us not act like brats. Let’s say thank you, praise and worship the Lord!
We cannot undo sin. It has happened. Sin is vile. It creates shame, guilt, and separation. It creates havoc in our relationships, be it with ourselves, other people, or God. We inflict harm in many ways, by gossiping about somebody, lying, stealing, killing, and so on.
Sin must be acknowledged to lose its sting. We must ask for forgiveness for the ones we have committed. No relationship can heal when the wrongdoer does not recognize the harm in his actions. It breaks the trust.
The only path to remedy any broken relationship, be it with ourselves, other people or God, is to ask for forgiveness. When we humble us, put our pride away, acknowledge our shortcomings, and ask for forgiveness, we have a chance of healing that relationship.
We are not perfect beings. It is a given that all of us will sin at times. It is also certain that someone else has or will hurt us. Whether this happens intentionally or not, we must forgive them. Forgiveness is not about agreeing to the harm done. It is also not about the bad person. We are the benefactors of it. Forgiving is an act of mercy to ourselves because only when we forgive our trespassers, we can receive God’s forgiveness for our own sins.
When we don’t forgive, we cement the separation with bitterness and hardness of the heart. Moreover, we open the door to sinful thoughts and actions. Revenge is never our job. It is a sin. We must not react to harms by hurting back. We need to cut the circle of violence.
Staying in sin leads to the full separation of God. It means spiritual death. God’s goodness cannot be seen or felt anymore. Sin becomes routine. While the spiritual war within us creates anxiety initially, the soul eventually dies, leaving nothing but emptiness. Believing in God becomes a dirty word, and previous acceptance of the Lord is rescinded. All that was gained is lost.
God knows the danger of sin. Hence, He sent His only son to carry the burden of our sins. Jesus died on the cross so we can be forgiven. God wants us to live a fulfilled life with minimal harm to others. We can live such a life only when our hearts stay soft, and our soul is filled with the Holy Spirit. Let’s deal with the sin in our lives. Let’s get clean.
Temptation surrounds us wherever we look. When wants define our lives instead of needs, we are subject to jealousy, greed, and selfishness. When success makes us feel like gods, we think we deserve more than other people. When we feel treated badly, we are tempted to get even. Many causes lure us into sin.
Temptations are essential ingredients to spiritual warfare. Once we succumb to the first lure, it gets harder and harder to withstand the succeeding temptations. At some point the clarity of what is sin and what not vanishes. It leads us straight into spiritual death. We just cannot serve two gods.
However, we can and must resist temptations. The Bible describes a full arsenal of tools we can use. Most importantly, when we stay close to God, when we read the Bible, pray, and talk to Him, his ways become more relevant than any lure can offer. Moreover, asking God for help gives us the power to withstand even the strongest pull of sin.
The good news is that God will fight for our soul even when we go astray. He wants everyone in His kingdom. Moreover, temptations go away when we resist all lures. We have reached the stage of happiness and contentment.
The Lord’s Prayer is not passive. It requires actions. We need to accept God, trust Him and ask for His help. These prerequisites will unblock the blessings. It is most beneficial to follow this order, too.
When confronted with Needs-problems, we have to trust God, be obedient and grateful. They bring us closer to Him and His kingdom. They make us stronger so we can withstand any temptation.
God wants us to live a fulfilled life. Sin is a threat not only to such a life, but it also leads to spiritual death when left untreated. It must be dealt with through recognition and forgiveness. Cleansing ourselves from sin is not optional. Jesus died on the cross so we can be forgiven. Let’s not waste His sacrifice.
Temptations are everywhere. The way to deal with temptation is to stay close to God. He protects us. Reading the Bible, prayer and conversations with Him keep us close to Him. Moreover, putting Him at the center of our thoughts pushes everything else aside. Once we resist all lures, temptation goes away. This is when we find peace and fulfillment, heaven on earth.
The image above shows how the concerns impact the blessings:
- Need builds Trust
- Sin kills Accept
- Ask kills Lure
When we address the concerns, we also work in the order given by Jesus: Need, Sin, Lure. We are too weak to resist temptations when our faith is feeble or when we are riddled with sin. Hence, we all have to go through trust-building events. We unlock our blessings once when we accept God, clean ourselves from sin, and resist all temptations.