Prayer is truly one of the most powerful deeds that can be done and yet seldom practiced. Why is this so? One reason is because prayer is a strict discipline and our flesh hates to submit to anything especially when it comes to the realm of the spirit. Humans are made of three parts, spirit, will and body however, the one that is chosen to be the leader is the one who is in CONTROL and this is where our love is revealed. Our will becomes the mediating judge that works in-between our flesh and our spirit. If our will sides with our flesh to be in control, we are selfish and only concerned about personal pleasure. If we submit to God and sacrifice our will, our flesh has no choice but to obey. This is God’s idea of a Christian that surrenders the life of carnality and embraces the blueprints that God has drawn for us. This is much easier said than done and gives us a small insight pertaining to the difficulties of establishing a vibrant life of prayer. We hear about the ideas and possibilities of prayer, but how many people actually pray? It seems to be something we are always asking others to do for us but are not interested in doing it ourselves. Let’s face it – prayer is HARD! It’s not physically difficult but mentally challenging. What I mean is that until we become very serious and determined in our mind that prayer is going to be a vital part of our life – we will not pray. We can go even further; until our love for God becomes our highest priority, prayer will be nothing more than a religious suggestion.
Before we continue, let’s just stop and ask God to help us. “Father, we are weak. We want to prayer warrior but as You know, we have strong resistance. Our will along with the devil does NOT want us to love You or serve You and uses many things to stop us from communicating with You. We simply ask for Your encouragement and inspiration as we seek Your truth. Please give us the desire to spend more time with You and in this “secret place” of fellowship, give us a desire to pray, amen.”
We presume that non – Christians do not pray, but do you really believe that all Christians seriously pray? With all the information that has been gathered about prayer in the lives of individuals we have learned that whenever there is spiritual warfare humans are faced with running away to avoid the confrontation. When our heart and will is not burning with passion or totally convinced that this is THE most important thing in life, we have a natural tendency to drop back with attitudes like laziness, disobedience and lukewarmness. I believe the kingdom of darkness is accustomed to making a mockery of our modern religious programs and rituals but becomes terrified when someone actually makes the decision to pray. Why? Because the devil knows when God’s people pray – NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! Derek Prince explains that fasting prepares our mind and spirit to pray as it brings us into a realm of deeper understanding. He say’s, “Mourning in Zion is neither a self-centered remorse nor a sense of hopeless grief but rather a response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit through which the believer shares in some small measure God’s own sorrow over the sin of humanity.” It is sobering to think that the reason why prayer is avoided is because we love our sin more than we love God.
Let us continue with asking God to open the eyes of our heart so that we might see how He wants us to pray. “Lord please give me the strength to take control of my flesh. Show me how to stand against my will so that I can give my complete attention to You. Teach me how to SPEAK to my flesh and how to COMMAND it to come into perfect order with YOUR WILL. Teach me how to incorporate REPENTANCE into my life as a lifestyle and also how to speak to the enemy and how to use spiritual authority in the name of Jesus to rebuke his influences and persuasions. Thank You my Lord, amen” I am sure by now, you have already encountered this spiritual resistance we have been talking about in just the few moments we have been fellow-shipping together. This is completely normal! Many surrender to the intensity of the battle but God is saying for us to learn how to spiritually fight “through” the discomfort in order to be a victorious overcomer! The question might be; just how much sacrificing and fighting will you need to do? The answer is – just how close to God do you want to be?
“This much is sure that in all churches the smallest meeting numerically is usually the prayer meeting. If weak in prayer – we are weak everywhere.” (Leonard Ravenhill)
When a called prayer meeting brings 5 people together while the pot-luck dinner brings 75, no further evidence is needed to prove there is something spiritually wrong. It is a double insult to God when His people become PROUD in their rebellion by refusing to weep and be convicted over their own apathy.
A closer examination of – THE LORD’S PRAYER
We find in God’s Word a beautiful illustration in our discussion about prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is probably one of the most popular passages in the Bible and is a prayer the Lord Jesus taught so that we could have an example to follow. In Matthew 6: 9-13, He said, “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, the power, and the glory for ever amen”
Many have misunderstand the Lord’s Prayer by thinking it is a secret ritual similar to a rosary or chant that will bring us favor and blessing when we recite it. Others treat the Lord’s Prayer as a magic formula, as if the words themselves have some specific power or automatic influence with God. Actually, the Bible teaches the opposite. God is far more interested in our hearts when we pray than He is in our words. Just a few verses before in this same chapter we hear Jesus saying, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when you pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” In prayer, we are to pour out our hearts to God in sincerity and humility with a broken heart filled with faith and love not simply repeat memorized words to God. “Be careful [worried] for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as a pattern of how to understand God and how to connect with Him personally. It gives us the ingredients that should go into prayer so that we can see deeper into how He wants us to think about life and what He wants us to do.
Here is a simple glance at some of the treasures that are contained in this demonstration. “Our Father in heaven” is teaching us whom to address our prayers to – the Father. “Hallowed be Your name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is. The phrase “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, and not necessarily our own plans. God has a general will and a specific blueprint for each person’s destiny so we are to pray for God’s will to be accomplished in everything and everyone. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us today our daily bread” and we can have confidence that He will provide all the things that are a part of our destiny. “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” reminds us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, and also to forgive others as God has forgiven us. The importance of this small phrase is confirmed in Mark 11: 25 and 26, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” We continue with, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” and notice this is our plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil. God is saying that we can come to Him for help when we are weak and He will be with us in our trials. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “for Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever” is a wonderful declaration and open confession that God is the ultimate authority of all things, the unfailing, perfect Majesty of all infinity. The one TRUE God of heaven and earth and we love and worship Him.
So, again, the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite back to God. It is a basic model to help us DEVELOP our own personal prayer life. Is there anything wrong with memorizing the Lord’s Prayer? Of course not! Is there anything wrong with praying the Lord’s Prayer back to God? Not if your heart is in it and you truly mean the words you say. We are just to be aware that God is far more interested in our communicating with Him and speaking from our hearts than He is a religious deed. Having a prayer list is an excellent way to get into the habit of praying daily. When God answers prayer make sure to make a note of the miracle and then you can develop a PRAISE list! Also, prayer does not have to be at a certain place or a certain time, it can progress into such an awareness that hopefully it will become a lifestyle. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Father, thank you for giving us this beautiful example of prayer. Thank You Jesus for helping us see the spiritual observations and applications of this prayer. Holy Spirit, thank You for speaking to our heart and guiding us into all truth. May we grow-up and become mature in our faith. May we take our spiritual responsibility seriously and realize that many are suffering and many are lost because we are not praying. If this does not awaken us – what will? In Jesus Name we pray, amen”
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12).
Let us pray together, “Heavenly Father, I ask that You would teach me how to love You. Give me a strong desire to walk with You and be aware of Your presence. Convict and remind me to stay focused on you in my thoughts because I realize that transforming my mind will change the way I am. I pray for those in authority that they might stop and listen to Your voice. I ask that the Holy Spirit present the gospel to those to lead and control the world. I pray that Your Word will draw them to You and they might accept Christ as their Lord and “allow” Jesus to change their lives.
I pray for true REVIVAL that would sweep over this world and bring a great harvest of souls to Your throne. I ask that Your Word would be preached in all the world and that Christians would stand up and obey the Word of the Lord! I pray that all children of God would abandon their plans and embrace Your blueprint for their life. May we all let go of this world and realize that time is short and that NOW is the time to be totally committed to Jesus. May all of your people realize that being close to You is the ONLY way to live in peace and joy and that divine appointments are everywhere we go but are waiting on US to hear to what Your Spirit has to say. Remind us O God that Christianity is not a deed or act but a LIFESTYLE! Please teach us how to live in the awareness of Your presence. Convict us, chastise us and do whatever it takes that we might fall on our faces and repent of our sins.
I am stepping forward in faith and approach you with confidence in believing that you hear me and are concerned with my needs and desires. Please give me wisdom so that I can be effective for Your glory. I ask for discernment and sensitivity to Your Spirit because that is where I have been called to live. Help me to be what Jesus died for me to be. Dear Lord I have studied Your word enough to realize that I need divine understanding in order to be an overcomer in this life. Please give me revelation and illumination of Your scriptures. I know You have NOT hidden your mysteries from me, but rather have preserved them for me. Lead me as I go far beyond my mental comprehension and my fleshly abilities as I enter into Your higher realm of wisdom and understanding.
I ask You this day for the key which will unlock the mystery of faith. I ask for an extra measure of faith! You said that faith moves YOU to intervene on the behalf of Your children. You listen to our prayers and our cries but ONLY move on our behalf when we reach out to You in faith! You have written that faith can change circumstances, move mountains and create miracles. Help us to comprehend that faith is directly connected to obedience and without faith it is impossible to please You.
Lord, You have mentioned finances many times in Your Word which proves that You are concerned with our needs and our understanding about true worth and value. Through the blood covenant of Jesus, I believe it is Your desire that we would be the lenders and not the borrowers and have an abundance of resources in order to give and help others. In order for us to take this position of financial authority we need to have the revelation of our spiritual position as heirs according to the promise and receive the blessings that has been provided to us.
Jesus, we read the true stories of You healing the sick and doing the mighty miracles that proved your authority. We know that You have NOT changed and still desire to heal us and deliver us from the curses and dangers of this life. We confess the blood of Jesus and believe that by His stripes we ARE healed. We receive our healing by faith and confess it out loud. We believe that You create the fruit of our lips and will manifest Your love to us in every way. I speak to my body – My organs and glands are functioning perfect – my blood is clean – my heart is strong – I have no diseases within me – I can breathe normal – all of my vital signs are normal – I have a sound mind and a strong determination to succeed!
Please fill us Oh God with the fruits of Your spirit and the gifts of Your spirit so that we will be pleasing servants unto You and excellent followers of Your will. We believe that You desire to give us visions and dreams and revelations of Your will. We cry out for more sensitivity and discernment in order to KNOW Your mind and to be able to follow Your voice. Please Lord give us joy that is unspeakable and fill us with Your glory as we patiently wait for your outpouring. Give us patience to be able to WAIT faithfully while You are working toward helping us. We KNOW our miracle is on its way and we worship and thank You for it in advance.
Help us Father, to be proud of You and not ourselves. Remind us that You resist the arrogant but give grace to the humble. Teach us the revelation that NOTHING is impossible with You, that You never fail and that Your ideas to accomplish Your plans are much higher than the way we think. You are NOT limited to blessing us with certain boundaries but as being Omniscient you control all things and in Your Sovereignty You always do what is best. Teach us how to be a good witness and be aware of Your divine appointments in order to help all people and encourage them to trust Your Word. Guide us as we are not owners but only managers on this earth and with this comes the holy responsibility to walk and live in Your will. We are grateful for Your gifts but worship only YOU – the giver. In Your holy name we pray, amen.”
Madame Jeanne Guyon emphasized the importance of respectful silence and waiting in our times of prayer. Many times our prayers are filled with us doing a lot of talking and very little listening. She is quoted, “To seek nothing from God during these quiet moments except to love Him and please Him.” She discovered the joy of quiet meditation and the great difference between praying to God and experiencing Him through prayer. I Thessalonians 5:17 says to, “pray without ceasing” which leads us to understand that prayer is not a performance or a ceremony but a state of mind. I have written a book called “A Lifestyle of Worship” and this concept falls along the same idea of becoming aware of His constant presence and allowing our daily life to be a “live” real-time relationship rather than only participating in prepared religious programs. This transformation of our thinking is the result of us abandoning our will and is the key to the deeper levels of spiritual development. Since the meaning of life is to know, love and follow God, then it would be impossible to NOT include prayer as a vital pillar of our holy intimacy with Him.
“God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” John Wesley
“We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.” Andrew Murray
“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” Andrew Murray
“True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length.” C. H. Spurgeon
“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” C. H. Spurgeon
“Prayer can never be in excess.” C. H. Spurgeon
“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. ” John Bunyan
“The word of God is the food by which prayer is nourished and made strong.” E. M. Bounds
“Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.” E. M. Bounds
“Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still.” E.M. Bounds
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer IS the greater work.” Oswald Chambers.