Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few. – Ecclesiastes 5:2
8 Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Friday Night Lights is an American sports drama television series. It follows the lives of a football-driven community in rural Texas. Set in the fictional town of Dillon, it deals with the hopes, aspirations, and struggles of extremely relatable people involved with the Dillon Panthers high school football team (and East Dillon Lions in later seasons). The Dillon Panthers, one of the nation’s best high school football teams. Their head coach Eric Taylor is one of the best high school football coaches in America as well.
The series boldly showed heartfelt, authentic prayer on the small screen. It contributed to the show’s authenticity and significance. It presented people living out their faith, albeit rather imperfectly. It showcased how a godly man, although not an overtly religious one, could be a role model, a shaper of men, a builder of character, a friend that sticks closer than a brother, with the moral compass to do what is right. His commitment and values are repeatedly seen through his prayers.
In the series finale, “Always,” Coach Eric Taylor offers up a prayer before the state finals. It’s a simple prayer. It is memorable because it does not focus on self-serving and self-aggrandizing victory. Rather it focuses on talent and unity.
Dear Heavenly Father, keep us and protect us tonight. Please allow us to take the talents you have given us and use them to the very best this evening. As a family. As one. Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Coach Eric Taylor models character-driven prayer which focuses on making the best use of abilities rather than short-term outcomes. His goal is to shape and develop people of character and integrity.
REFLECT & PRAY
Our commitment and values are seen through prayers.
Father my heart be right in Your own eyes. May prayers be more and more character-driven and reflective of a heart that is pleasing to You.
What should be our attitude when we pray? How does it reflect our character and walk with the Father?
The Psalms offer many models. They are God-centered, not man-centered. They are character-driven. They overflow with thankfulness and gratitude. They highlight particular qualities of the Father that are attractive, desirable, and worthy of worship.
Psalms 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Through the centuries many have attempted to follow these models. They are often seen in prayers offered at mealtime.
The most ancient of examples are the Jewish Brachot (Blessings) before eating.
Special Brachot – benedictions – are traditionally said in Hebrew before eating any food or drinking any beverage.
Each benediction begins:
Baruch atah adonai elokeinu melech haolam
Blessed Are You God, our Lord, King of the World.
The endings depend specifically on what is to be eaten or drunk:
… Hamotzie lechem myn ha’aretz.
Who brings forth bread from the ground.
For Wine & Grape juice:
…Boreiy pree hagafen.
Who creates the fruit of the vine.
The Common Table Prayer was first published in the year 1753 in a Moravian hymnal.
Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest; and bless what you have bestowed.
There is also the Catholic Table Prayer
Bless us O Lord, And these thy gifts,
Which we are about to receive, from thy bounty,
Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
For small children
God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food.
By His hands, we all are fed. Thank you, Lord for our daily bread. Amen.
How can we develop a character-driven prayer life?
It all begins in our hearts. We must get them right with the Father.
Proverbs 16:7 When people’s lives please the LORD, even their enemies are at peace with them.
If our hearts are not right with the Father what will happen?
Psalms 66:18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.
The English word translated regard comes from the Hebrew word roeh. Roeh is a common Hebrew word that means to see. Psalms 66:18a is literally translated, “If I had seen iniquity in my heart.” However, Metaphorically it means that if he had been aware of his sin yet done nothing about it.
It has thus been translated “If I had cherished iniquity” (RSV); “If I had ignored my sins” (TEV); “If I had not confessed” (NLT). Some translations take an even more pejorative tact. “If I had thought about (doing) evil” (TOB); “Had I an evil thought and in my mind” (NJV); and “If I had had wicked intentions” (FRCL). The sense is, “If I turned my head from my sins,” “If I had shut my eyes on the evil I had done,” and “If I had put deaf ears on my sins.”
The point is, if we don’t get it right about sins in our hearts, our prayers will not be right either. We are only deceiving ourselves if we think they are.
Psalms 66:18 states what would have happened if the psalmist had not been aware of and confessed his sins; God would not have listened to his prayer, that is, God would not have done what he had asked God to do” (UBS).
How do children of the King get it right? Ask the Father to point out unknown sin within and confess it.
Psalms 139:24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Follow the advice of Lord Jesus Christ on how to pray.
5 When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
7 When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.
“If we refuse to admit to some sin, despite the conviction of the Holy Spirit on our heart, we can have no confidence in prayer and no right to expect a divine “yes.” God blesses obedience, not stubbornness” (Stanley).