For this study, I encourage you to read Mat 6:5-15 before continuing on. Before we begin, may I ask: Do you pray daily? Do you pray for your spouse, children, church, friends,and pastor? Do you pray for our leaders, the persecuted church, missionaries and foreign missions? Do you pray for great revival in our community & country? If you don’t, you are likely in the majority of Christians. Prayer is the most powerful - yet most unused - weapon a Christian has. As Watchman Nee said, "Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails."
Jesus said His house will be a house of prayer (Mt 21:13). In the Old Testament, this was the tabernacle/temple. But now, we are His Spiritual House (1Pt 2:5, 1Cor 3:16). The Christian is to be the house of prayer. The question is, are we? Prayer should be a top priority for the believer. E.M. Bounds said, ““What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use— men of prayer, men mighty in prayer". He wrote this in the 1800s. How much more does this apply today! Oh, if the church could be stirred to really pray!
The believer must know that prayer does not “Put God out.” It is not a bother to Him. He wants us to pray. He wants to commune with us. He tells us to call on Him; to knock; to seek; to ask; to come. Did you know our Prayers are like incense offered to God (Ps 141:2, Act 10:4, Rev 5:8, 8:3-4)? Yes, our heartfelt prayers are a good smell to Him! "Prayer is the greatest of all forces, because it honors God and brings him into active aid." Bounds.
Jesus starts out by telling us not to pray as the hypocrites (Mt 6:5, 23:14). Some prayers are speeches, not intended for God’s ears, but for men’s (Lk 18:11-12). They are only for show. This does not honor God, and they will not be heard. There is a place for true public prayer from the heart, but even that praying must start in the “prayer closet.” The prayer closet is any place you can be alone and quiet before God (Mt 6:6). A place only He sees and hears. This is essential. This is real. Why? Because if you don’t truly believe God hears and answers prayer, you won’t waste your time praying when unseen. Jesus gave us an example to follow concerning secret prayer (Lk 6:12, Mt 26:36, Mk 1:35, Lk 5:16). If Jesus needed it, how much more do we?
Prayer is not to inform God of the situation. He already knows it. Prayer is humbling yourself and recognizing your dependence on Him, and involving Him in the situation (Mt 6:8, Ps 38:9). We are not to pray repeating the same phrases over and over again like the pagans (Mt 6:7, Act 19:34, 1Ki 18:26). That is using prayer as a magical formula. There is no faith in that kind of praying. However, the Bible does not teach that we shouldn’t pray for the same thing until we get the answer, but only that we should not repeat the same phrases over and over in one sitting. Even Jesus prayed more than once.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Lk 11:1), He gave them a pattern or outline (Mt 6:9-13) to follow, which is known as The Lord’s Prayer. We know this is a pattern, because Jesus would not violate His own teaching by repeating this prayer all night before The Father. This basic outline is very beneficial to us in our personal prayer life.
Here is a simple breakdown: We acknowledge that God is our Father, that He dwells in heaven, and we pray His name would be exalted, hollowed, revered and honored in this earth. We pray for His Kingdom to come - as it has spiritually, that it would physically - and that His perfect will would be done in our life and on this earth, just as it is done in heaven. We pray for our provision, and that of our brethren, and we confess any known sin, and ask help to forgive those who have sinned against us. We ask that God lead us out of temptation (Mt 26:41), and for His deliverance from all evil. We then Praise Him and acknowledge that the Kingdom, all power and all glory are His forever.
By faith, we will receive whatever we ask in prayer (Mt 21:22). God is not like an unjust judge, but rather He will hear and answer our prayers speedily (Lk 18:1-8). I pray we take away these three things today: 1. We are to pray often. 2. We are to pray in solitude. 3. We are to pray knowing God accepts, delights in, and answers our prayers. "The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'" (J. Hudson Taylor). Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!