I know for myself there have been plenty of times when I just could not muster up the will to pray, or times when I was uncertain what to pray, and even times when the very real warfare that surrounds prayer caused me to grow weary (read lazy) and I failed to pray as I should. It seems especially during the times when I am weary or just plain lazy that I have used the prayer given to the disciples by Jesus in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. You know, just a routine reciting of the words from memory and viola, we’re done. Prayer over, now on to other things.
How sorry a state when I allow my prayer life to deteriorate to this extent. How weak a position my spirit occupies when these times are upon me. Prayer is the ultimate connection to God, THE lifeline given to us by which we communicate and receive communication from God. Prayer is that conduit through which strength comes, understanding is given, faith is nourished.
Of all the mighty works of old, the great awakening revivals to which we hearken back… ALL began and were founded upon prayer. Over the course of history those used most mightily by God to spread the Gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, turn the world upside-down; ALL were praying men and women. Missionaries sent to the darkest jungles, to the furthest points on the compass, to certain death- ALL prayer warriors. The persecuted church, that hidden jewel, those children of God so willing to lay down their lives as they “loved not their lives unto the death” all were able to do so because they PRAYED!
We are exhorted throughout scripture to pray, to cry out to God, to lift up our prayers our petitions unto God who loves us.
Isaiah 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am…
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
OH! That we would become a people again who pray! A people who forsake all pleasant leisure, all mindless entertainment, and joyfully cast ourselves before the throne of God and stayed there!
Oh that prayer would ring out from the hills as in yesteryear- the fervent, effectual, prayer that saw mountains moved and souls won to God. If that is your hunger, your thirst, your desire, you can have it!
We can begin at the very prayer taught by Jesus. Yes it is well known, memorized by most, religiously quoted in churches across the globe daily…
But it need not be powerless. Of course it is not the ONLY prayer we can pray, but it is a good base from which to begin as it serves to align our thinking and can direct our prayer.
Matthew 6:9-13 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Study the words given, meditate upon them, allow the Spirit of God to bring to your mind understanding. With this prayer we are given the right “manner” in which to begin and proceed.
The foundation is sure: GOD
- Holy is your name
- Your kingdom come
- Your will be done
Let everyone of our prayers proceed from this place where God is paramount and our desire is ALL of Him.
Our personal petitions are also correct in nature; beginning with the least and finishing with the greatest. Yes we need daily sustenance, but how much greater need we salvation!
- our daily bread
- forgive our sins
- lead and protect us
- Save us
The wonder, beauty and perfection of this prayer does not end with this, we are only but beginning. We can continue on through and let the truth and power of this prayer wash over us as the Holy Ghost sheds the love of God abroad throughout our hearts. Beginning with the first two words. What promise! What power!
We are to appeal to God as Father. This omnipotent God; this sovereign King of the universe; this Creator of all that is seen and unseen- a being totally outside our comprehension and far above anything we can grasp, invites us to come to Him in prayer approaching Him as- Father. How great a condescension on His part! No wonder the apostle John could proclaim, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God”. What manner of or how great and what sort of love is this? That we could be encouraged to associate ourselves to the Most High as sons and daughters by addressing Him as Father!
And not only Father, but OUR Father, binding us together one with another and also as one with Christ!
Galatians 3:26-28 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
To call God our Father is to imply that we will receive and benefit from His love, protection, provision, and all that the relationship of a father towards a child includes. And we do! We can have the same expectation of nurture and care as from an earthly father. But, oh how much greater are the abilities and benefits of God our Father when compared to those of earthly men.
Conversely calling God our Father brings with it the requirements for us to honor Him as such. The position then calls for us to trust and confide in Him, to be obedient and revere Him. As He is God our Father our faith in Him should be as unfailing as His love is towards us. All our love and desires should be directed towards Him as our loving Father. Just as we observe children mimicking their father’s behaviors and attitudes as they grow and mature, so should we Christians seek to reflect God in our lives. More and more as we grow our daily lives should witness to the world around us that God is our Father and we are His children.
Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
WOW! Just the first two words carry such love and power.
Now you read the prayer again, ask God for understanding and allow God’s Spirit to lead you in study and prayer by seeking for yourself what great wisdom and strength lies within the remainder of this prayer. And then apply it.
Let us all then be stirred up in our spirits to a season of prayer and return to the secret places and pray to this Awesome God we serve. And may we see our Heavenly Father magnified and glorified throughout this dark and dying world!