Luke 11:1 – “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” NKJV
I have found, as I study prayer, there as some key elements in this endeavor and activity worthy of consideration. Jesus said, “After this manner pray…” (Matthew 6). He did not say, “When you pray repeat this prayer or these phrases but AFTER THIS MANNER pray…” What we call the Lord’s Prayer is a model not a recitation or incantation. One of the things you should notice about this prayer is its brevity. It is also incredibly specific focusing on the needs of body, soul and spirit. There is no vain repetition. It is definitive and to the point. My cry is, “LORD, teach me to pray like this.”
I want to suggest three elements of prayer that I believe are vital. Someone said, the Lord’s, prayer as taught by Jesus, divides itself into three looks. The upward look, the inward look and the outward look. I would offer that we can identify them as: Communion, Petition and Intercession.
- COMMUNION.That portion of the prayer in which we turn our attention to God or the upward look. If there is no communion established in prayer little will be accomplished other than the exercise of our vocal cords. Communion removes every hindrance between us and God. Communion involves and includes worship and adoration of the object of our communion, God! Communion establishes contact so that our petitions can enter the Throne Room.
In the first five books of the Bible we find a line of progression, something that should be incorporated in prayer. In Genesis we see man’s sin and ruin. In Exodus we see God’s redemption by the blood. In Leviticus we see the ritual of worship. In Numbers we find Israel’s walk from Egypt to Canaan. In Deuteronomy we find the Book of the Law or the Book of Works.
After man is redeemed he must learn to worship before he is able to walk as he should and no amount of work will amount to anything until he has learned to worship and walk before God. Communion does something to us whereas in petition something is done for us.
- PETITION.Communion looks to God, petition focuses on the needs of self. If we have established communion we can rightly move to petition for we will make our requests more rightly in harmony with the heart and will of God. Petition should be a very simple matter. There are some things that we need to remember before we make petition to God. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18). In Matthew 18 and Luke 17, Jesus tells us that an unforgiving spirit against a brother will hinder our prayers being answered. Therefore for petition to be effective communion must be established.
- INTERCESSION and POWER.
In Luke 11:9-10 we find an incredible promise regarding prayer from our Lord. There is unlimited power in prayer and we should allow our confidence in God to release that power in our lives and in the matter for which we pray. Remember the Bible says, “He that comes to God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
I personally believe that God always answers believing prayer. I did not say, He always gives you what you ask but always answers. As a parent I found that there were times when the request of my children was not in their best interest and counterproductive to health and life benefit. In those cases I answered their request with “No.” There were times I could see the benefit and acceptability of the request but the timing was bad so the answer was, “Not right now.” There were times when what they asked was reasonable, right and good and the answer was, “Yes.”
Prayer brings the Omnipotence of God into our human realm and can touch hearts anywhere in the world and is released in an instant. There are no geographical restrictions or limitations to prayer. Therefore, I believe that the greatest need of a believer is for the Lord to “teach us to pray.”
God bless you as you go through this day!