Having trouble viewing this email? Try
it in your browser. Click
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
"Teach Us To Pray"
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Luke 11:1
Certainly, this ought to be our earnest plea: "Lord, teach us to pray!" I believe the emphasis in our request should be more on "teach us to pray," rather than "teach us how to pray." If you are not regularly engaged in daily prayer, you need to simply learn to pray, and knowing how to pray will come. However, there are some wonderful, life-changing lessons to be learned in Jesus' response. Let me give you several.
Praying must begin with the right relationship. Referring to God as "Our Father" is a concept not found in the Old Testament. This was a brand new concept of God for these Jewish men. How could the great Yaweh be our Father? To the Jew, God was the Creator, the Ancient of Days, the Holy One, the Great I Am. The idea that a person could just come before Him, calling Him "Father" was almost sacrilegious. Yet, to those who had received Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, He gave them "power to become the sons of God." What a relationship! To be intimately related to the God of the universe is an awesome privilege, and should be acted upon in prayer.
Praying must be preceded with praise. "Hallowed be thy name." Before we get to my simple requests, let's talk about His wondrous name! David knew this truth when he said, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name" Psalm 100:4. God's Name is worthy of our praise. When we come before Him in prayer, we ought to have a wonderful time of praising Him for Who He is, and What He is, and What He has done in our lives. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" Hebrews 13:15-16.
Praying must be in accordance to His will. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth." This is the point of our prayer where we humbly submit to the authority of God, and ask for His will to be done. So often we hustle past this in a rush to give God our petition, and we don't realize that what we think we need is not His will. It is vital to answered prayer that we pray according to His will. "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him" 1 John 5:14-15. Take time to submit your will to His.
Praying must address our needs. "Give us day by day our daily bread." After we have praised our Heavenly Father, and submitted our wills, and have asked to receive His will, now we can make request for our daily needs. By this point our needs are in the proper perspective. Now we are asking with confidence in His ability and His willingness to hear and answer. Many times we are so focused on our own needs that we lose sight of our “Need Meeter.” By now we should be able to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" Hebrews 10:22. Our Father knows what we have need of before we ask, and if we, being evil, know how to supply our children's needs, how much more will God give us?
Praying must involve confession. "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us." Now is when we come clean before God. Our Father knows our hearts, and He knows that the things He desires to give us in answer to our prayer will be mishandled by our sinful ways. We now make confession for our sin so that we will be ready to receive the answer. We also ask for forgiveness for others, so that we will be willing to give of what our Father has given us. If we are unclean, we are unfit for His blessings. If we are harboring ill will towards others, we will be unwilling to give of what God has given to us. "That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;" 1 Tim 6:18. Make sure that the vessel is clean, and that the way to others is clear.
Praying must involve victory. "And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." As we leave the prayer closet, we must be ready to face the temptations and testings of life. Spiritual battles await us beyond the prayer time, and we must be ready to face them in our Father's power. He is the Deliverer! Are you seduced by daily sin? Pray for power! Are you easily beset? Pray for power! Pray for victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. It is yours for the asking.
Lord, now that we have a guideline of how to pray, teach us to pray!