Where To Begin?

How does your prayer start? Any prayer. Obviously there is the usual beginning of addressing God like; “Dear Lord”, “Jesus”, “My heavenly Father”, “God”, “Sovereign Lord” etc. etc. But what about after that? What is your lead off? What do you start with? Do you have a request sitting in your mind ready to spring out? Something pressing perhaps? A health matter, maybe? Possibly there is something really bothering you, and that is what you want to get off your chest right away? Or perhaps you don't want to seem too eager, so maybe you thank God for something He has done for you, right? “Lord, thank you for my family’s health.” , “Father, I really appreciate the home, family or job that I have.” Well, there is also the request you got from the prayer chain too, right? Or someone you were talking to asked for prayer about something and you lead with that first thing in your prayer.
But is that how you should start off? Are our requests (whatever they may be) what we should be starting with? Is it us, ourselves, should we be focused on me first ? Is this how Jesus taught us to pray? 
“Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
Our prayers are to start with Him. We begin with God, not ourselves. We begin with the Lord, not others. We look out, not in. We start with what is important, not what is demanding. And that is the Lord and His glory.
When we start praying, we need to keep our hearts in check. We need to remember why we are here talking with Him to begin with. We need to start with blessing the Lord. What does this mean? A lot of the time when we talk about “blessing” someone, we mean giving them something that helps them. But God doesn’t need our blessings. He does not need anything from us, or else He wouldn't be God! But that is not what Jesus is talking about.  Blessing God means praising Him. Lifting up His name in worship. Glorifying Him in prayer. See what the bible says about this:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
     and his courts with praise!
     Give thanks to him; bless his name! (Psalm 100:4)

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
     and all your saints shall bless you! (Psalm 145:10)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
     and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2)

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
     tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
     his marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:2–3)

“Yeah but what if there is something terrible that has happened?” you may say. What if you are coming to God with a heavy heart because of a trial? Maybe something terrible has happened and you're really despondent. Great thought, and actually very relevant. We should still be praising the Lord! Remember Job? After all the terrible things that happened to Him, this is the very first thing Job said to God in prayer: And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
Circumstances shouldn’t matter. We should be glorifying Him in all situations. Because even when we have hell on earth, God is still seated on the throne, in charge and still our heavenly Father.
Why do we struggle with this? Why do our prayers always start with us or others as opposed to Him. While we may refer to God first in addressing Him, we don’t always start out with praising Him. We may not even feel like it a lot of the time. But is prayer about us? We start with us, because we tend to still be selfish. We start with us because we are still sinful. We start with us because we love us, maybe more than God at times. Walter Chantry on this says, “And when you have managed to bring yourself to your devotions, stubborn self intrudes still. Thoughts of your affairs demand attention from your mind so that honest contemplation of the glory of God is crowded out.” How we pray, is a great example of what Jesus meant when He said that we must daily die to ourselves. Even prayer we can make a selfish exercise. He continues, “A thousand self interests prevent true prayer from ever beginning. Our Lord taught us that prayer begins when the heart cries, “Hallowed be thy Name.” It cannot be uttered until self-interest is ruthlessly yanked from the soul as a tooth is from your jaw.” Not that we can never prayer about our needs. I am only referring to how things begin. What do you start with? Praise or request? Internal or external? God or you? We must die to ourself. We must take up our cross daily. Even in our prayer life.  Let us bless our Lord first as He is to be first in every aspect of our lives.
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