In my blog post, “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 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 God: 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?
To satisfy the prerequisites entails action. The most fundamental condition is to accept God as our savior. It is a decision, a binary choice of either yes or no. There is no middle ground.
God does not force us to believe in Him. 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.
God 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, do or did you accept Jesus? Are you saved?
Your answer matters. God accepts your choice. He leaves you alone if you do not want him in your life. You can live your life with Him. You also can go alone. Your choice!
Remember, His door is always open. While He does not force us, He will do anything possible to save us, to bring us into His kingdom. But if you decide to go it alone, He will take it. You can stop reading now. The rest does not apply until you reverse the course.
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 ever 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 when serenity comes from sincere faith. Usually, everybody wants this for themselves.
The secular world often questions the intelligence of believers. But trust 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 about God’s unconditional love. He not only looks out and protects us, but He is also wise beyond comprehension. Master of all dimensions of earth and heavens, He sees what we cannot even imagine.
Unfortunately, we only learn to trust Him through challenges. We see Him best when the rest of the world leaves us behind. We learn to recognize Him when we see and feel his actions. Thus, by overcoming our challenges with His help, we learn to trust Him. We are experts at faith.
There is one more step to fulfill before we can receive the full blessings of God. We need to ask for them. This task seems at first glance rather strange and selfish 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 for it. It is up to Him to determine if and how He wants to satisfy our wish. If He does not, He most likely has something better in store for us.
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. He does not just love you and me, but all of us.
Miracles do happen. We just have to observe to see them. So never, ever give up asking for one. When you see or feel one, you will always remember. You absolutely know that God is alive. While miracles are mighty, everyday blessings are even more critical. We are truly blessed when we open our hearts to the love of God and people.
We not only need to ask for blessings, but we also need to do what is required for us to implement them. We need to walk even when we don’t know where the journey will end. We need to obey God in all situations. We need to love when we are scared of being rejected.
This step requires trust in the Lord, in His goodness, in His wisdom, in His power. Remember, He will be with us all the way! However, there is more. God wants us to be with Him. He loves and will love us forever. 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? Did someone else hurt me? → Sin
3. Am I tempted to act against myself, another person, or God? → Lure
We need food. 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 nourishment, 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. We will be fine. The experience builds our and our 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, let’s praise and worship the Lord!
We cannot undo sin. It has happened, and it 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 all 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 pride aside, 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 harming 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 this internal war initially creates anxiety, 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 our lives are defined by wants 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 are mistreated, we are tempted to get even. Many causes lure us into sin.
Temptations are essential ingredients of 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 souls even when we go astray. Temptations go away when we resist all lures! Most importantly, when we are at peace with God, our neighbors, and ourselves, with our past, present, and our future, we reach 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. The promise is worth it.
We can summarize how blessings are impacted: Need can build trust, sin kills accepting God, and asking kills temptations. This gives us a roadmap for our path:
- 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.
- Sin 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. God protects us from them when we read the Bible, pray, communicate with Him, and we keep close to Him. Putting Him at the center of our thoughts pushes everything else aside. Once we resist all lures, temptation goes away.
Overall, we unblock our blessings once when we accept and trust God, clean ourselves from sin, and resist all temptations. We find peace and fulfillment, heaven on earth.