Welcome to the third post on our series about PRAYER. The first post in this series introduced the series on prayer and explained what it is. Last week’s post, the second one in this series, explained why prayer is important, specifically in the context of sponsoring a child.
This week is all about how to effectively pray for your sponsored children.
As always, the Bible gives a great example of how to pray to the Father. In Matthew 6, Jesus explicitly says how to pray:
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’”
Most of us have heard this prayer before. Many of us have memorized it in school or Sunday school. While it is a good passage to memorize and reflect on, Jesus shows us the pattern in which we should pray, not that we should pray these words exactly.
So what is the pattern?
The prayer starts out with recognizing who we are praying to. We are praying to our almighty, holy Father. When we come into a relationship with Him, He becomes our Father and we become His children. However, He is unlike our earthly fathers in many ways- particularly because He is in heaven and is our savior!
The second part, “Hallowed be Your name,” shows the character of our Father. The word “hallowed,” translated from hagiazó, means to make holy. We know that He is holy and worthy of our praise and prayer. We aren’t praying to a random being; we are praying to the God of the universe.
“Your kingdom come,” is the third section of how we should pray. Praying this means that we acknowledge God’s coming kingdom. Jesus came down to Earth once, to die and rise again, so we could have eternal life. We know Jesus is coming a second time to establish His Earthly kingdom! This is exciting and a great opportunity to pray Christ comes back to rule soon.
The fourth part, “Your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven,” shows us that we must be praying for God’s will to be acted out in our lives. As His children, we want Him to be glorified on Earth (just as He is in heaven). By God working out His will, it shows his goodness, his love, his power. God has a wonderful plan in store, and we are able to be part of it.
We can put this in the context of praying for our sponsored child! Even though we are unable to hang out with our sponsored children, call or text them, we are able to pray for them: that God will act out His will in their lives. We can ask that God show Himself to them and their families, and that He can lead them in His direction.
“Give us this day our daily bread,” means that we need to rely on God to provide for us! We need reliance on Him even for the “little” things like our everyday meals.
India is very different than the United States and any Westernized country. Especially in the rural areas of India, it is sometimes unknown if people will receive enough food to feed themselves and their children, if they will receive enough water, or if they will receive protection from abusive family members and friends that leads to human trafficking. We must pray for our sponsored children that God will provide food, water, shelter, protection, and more. We must pray that just as the Father provided for His people in Israel, He will also provide for His children in India.
The sixth aspect of how to pray is “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Whether we acknowledge it or not, we need forgiveness and we need to forgive others. This world is full of brokenness, but that is why Jesus came! But once we come into a relationship with Jesus, it doesn’t mean that we become perfect. We need to continually ask that the Lord forgive us for our daily sins, and we need to continually forgive others for their sins against us.
There are many testimonies from children who come into a relationship with Jesus and only receive persecution from their family members. We must ask God to forgive not only our sponsored children but their family, friends, and neighbors. We also need to ask that He can help the children learn how to forgive their debtors.
Lastly, the ending of this guide to prayer from Jesus: “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We need help seeing evil and temptations in our lives and God’s help to steer clear of it. Only by His power are we able to stay in the light and love of Jesus.
When you pray, please do not forget to pray for your sponsored child. They need to know God’s will and direction so they can learn how to best follow Him and reach out to their families. They need daily provisions as India is a very poor, very hot country. Most importantly they need to understand God’s grace and extend it to their friends and family.
To end our series on prayer, here is a testimony from Payal J. He says:
“I did not know about Jesus. My family attended a prayer meeting where I was told about Children’s Gospel Clubs (CGCs). I came to know about Jesus and His lovingkindness in the CGCs. My family and I were very happy and satisfied with it. But my cousin didn’t see it this way and started to abuse and argue with us. He even used inappropriate and abusive words with my mother and sister. My family prayed and handed the situation over to Jesus. Through Him, we were able to forgive my cousin and his family. We learned to forgive even our enemies in the CGCs. I thank God for it.”