Built for Prayer
I firmly believe human beings are built to pray.
Through prayer we connect with God and we access His power. Prayer is your spirit breathing; it activates your spiritual nature.
There are all kinds of prayer:
When we’re desperate, we pray.
When we’re thankful, we give thanks and praise.
When we have a dream, we pray.
When we’re believing with friends for the same cause, we pray.
When we want to get close to God, we pray.
When we have a difficult decision, we pray.
When we want to invoke God to heal or help someone, we pray.
When we need guidance, we pray.
Yet prayer is the area we are the weakest in and need the most instruction and motivation about.
Not one of the great people in the Bible lived without prayer. Noah, Abraham, Job, Jacob, Samuel, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul. All of these heroes were soaked in prayer and the Word of God.
There is no other way to live in power. There is no light, no life, no fellowship, no guidance, no strength until we pray.
The less we pray the weaker we are. More can be accomplished by the untalented in one minute of praying, than in the lifetime of the super talented, prayer-less person disconnected from God.
The disciples did not ask Jesus to teach them to preach, to teach, to be leaders, to be managers, to administrate, facilitate or strategise a vision. They recognised the secret to Jesus life. Prayer. They asked Him to teach them how to pray. This is a great starting point, recognising that we really don’t know how to pray effectively. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, this is what He gave them.
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father 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 forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
The prayer is so very simple, yet covering every area necessary. We are not to think our prayers need to be deep and mysterious.
Let's look at it bit by bit:
We can define effective prayer as ‘prayer that gets answered’.
Effective prayer is a corporate affair.
It’s impossible to pray the Lord’s prayer alone, or in isolation from others.
'Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.' - Matthew 18:19
To say, ‘Our’ there is agreement and unity.
'These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.' - Acts 1:14
People in disagreement or with unresolved breaches in relationships will be hindered in their answers to prayer.
‘Our’, means that even when I’m praying alone, I’m not praying with only me in mind. My prayer is for us, not me.
I’m praying for the best result for us, not me.
I’m praying for the vision of us, not mine.
God is your Father. You can talk to Him as your Father.
This is a major difference between the old and new testament. He was only known as God, but Jesus refers to Him as Father more than anything else.
'And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”' - Galatians 4:6 (NLT)
As such you will carry the heart of your father within you. It is easy for a child to understand the will of their father, because their father is in them. The desire of a child is to please their father.
Being born again we inherit the spiritual genetics of God. We have been re-gene-rated.
The first five references are to the Father. He is at the centre of prayer, not us or anyone or anything else.
Let’s remove ourselves from the centre of our universe.
3. IN HEAVEN
Praying in the Spirit is the key to effective prayer. Moving into the Spirit is outlined for us in the approach in the tabernacle of the Old Testament.
4. HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME
This is praising God. Never underestimate the power of praise!
Come before God with thanksgiving, praise and worship.
So Jesus places at the top of the list of our burdens, that the Name, (not necessarily the names), but the reputation of God be revered, honored, blessed, not cursed, and that His character be revealed in a true representation of who He is.
This name means ‘God with us’ (Emmanuel).
When we receive Christ into our lives, we have entered a world where God is with us. This means He is both for us and with us.
'If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?' - Romans 8:31-34
5. YOUR WILL BE DONE
'In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will...' - Ephesians 1:11
The purpose of God has travelled down through the centuries unchanged. Who ever is wanting to pick up the great purpose of God can do and find themselves involved in making history for the Kingdom of God. God arranges for one person to pass it on to the next, for one generation to pass it on to the next.
6. YOUR KINGDOM COME
This is us saying, ‘Rule my life, Lord’.
The Bible is the story of a clash of Kingdoms. There are only two Kingdoms. Light and Dark. God and the Devil. Our Kingdom or His.
The first five declarations of the Lord’s Prayer are to do with fulfilling God’s dreams, not ours.
You can tell the Kingdom of God is here because people are filled with the Holy Spirit.
There is a difference between being in a Christian organization, and being a follower of Christ. A disciple is a person living in the Kingdom of God. A Church member is someone living in a Christian organization. Our pursuit is to see everyone in church. But not just as church members. Rather, as members of a Kingdom, people with a hunger to be disciples of Christ.
The ruler of this Kingdom is Jesus. The boundaries this Kingdom are attitudes. In forgiveness, I'm in the Kingdom. I'm under the 'dom' of the King. I'm receiving the benefits of the Kingdom. But, when I cross the border into revenge and hatred. I've stepped over those boundaries of the Kingdom of God, and therefore all the protections, blessings of living in that place.
7. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
After dealing with the first five points of the Lord’s prayer which is to do with God, Jesus now leads us into dealing with our own lives and the first point is to ask for what we need.
Asking for your needs to be met is part of a daily prayer.
James says, ‘You have not because you ask not’.
God has promised a thousand times that He will provide for you - 'And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus' - Philippians 4:19.
God will supply every need you have.
It is the nature of God to provide for you;
'There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.' - Psalm 34:9-10
'He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?' - Romans 8:31-32
8. FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US
This is the key point to this prayer, because Jesus comes back to it after he concludes teaching on the matter.
Sin and guilt are like caustic chemicals that eat away at our hearts, our relationships, and our nerves, weakening and endangering all our hopes for a better life. We can't buy God off with good works; the only remedy is genuine repentance.
One of the most challenging things to ever do in life is to come into the light and become open to God about our lives. Unless we do this we have no chance of ever receiving His forgiveness or healing.
It is the recognition of what is right and what is wrong and acknowledge our wrongs.
This often doesn’t happen until our conscience is awakened by the Holy Spirit and then we realize how far away form God we have been. We can feel we are doing all right until some encounter with Christ or suddenly something that we had neatly tucked away from the view of everyone else is brought into the light and we are forced to admit to our sin.
In this instance Jesus is referring to the unforgiving heart as being the sin against God that we need to be forgiven of.
This needs to be a regular, daily experience.
Forgiveness is linked with healing many times throughout Scripture. What healing is to the body, forgiveness is to the soul.
Forgive people before they apologise.
Everyday, forgive everybody everything they’ve ever done against you.
9. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
'Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.' - James 1:12
Even the best of Christians are tempted, thus we are not to think it is strange or that we are strange that we are attacked in this way.
Gold is put into the furnace to purify it. Every one of us will be tempted.
The purpose of temptation is to make us stronger, not weaker. Temptation is not the revealing of weakness in us, but a strengthening of the grace of God in our lives.
It develops the nature of Christ within us.
The temptations of the believer are many and various. They will come from all different angles. Jesus Himself was tempted in every area. Temptation is temptation. Jesus wanted to do things that were wrong. He was tempted to do them.
'For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.' - Hebrews 4:15
10. FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.
The Message translation says it like this:
‘You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.’
The conclusion of this prayer is a faith conclusion. It is not hopeful or prayerful or fantasy. It is definite and declaring. There is no, ‘If it is your will’. It is total commitment to what we pray we want to happen, we believe it will happen and we commit ourselves to see it happen.
‘You rule’ – therefore you are able to employ your sovereignty to bring the fulfillment of my prayer.
When Abraham questioned whether or not Sarah could actually have a child in her old age, God’s reply was, ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’
You have all the ultimate power – therefore there is no power that will be able to prevent you or stand against you when you arise on my behalf to answer this prayer.
Yours is the glory – I give you the glory for answering this prayer even though I cannot see it yet.
Amen declares ‘So be it’. ‘Amen’ is to say yes to God. It is to move from prayer to action.