Lord, Teach Us to Pray, Part 4
Throughout the Bible and Church history, we see example after example of the power of prayer. God chooses to use humanity, through prayer, to move mountains and change the course of history.
God is sovereign, but in His sovereignty, He has given humanity free will to choose Him and to partner with Him. Jesus, fully God, and yet fully man, demonstrated this truth and the necessity of prayer.
The disciples observed the Lord praying consistently. On one occasion, they came to Him and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1 NKJV) The disciples witnessed Jesus’ supernatural lifestyle and concluded it was because He prayed consistently. Jesus was a man of prayer.
God promises to release His power on behalf of those who walk faithfully with Him. As a result, our world is impacted by His grace and power. Consider the Lord’s rebuke to King Asa through the seer Hanani for relying on the Syrian king instead of the Lord,
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” (2 Chr. 16:9 NKJV)
E.M. Bounds, a nineteenth-century minister, prayer warrior, and prolific writer about prayer, said of this passage, “He declares the necessity of men. He acknowledges His dependence on them as a channel through which He can exert His power on the world.”  Yes, God chooses to rely on humanity to partner with Him, through prayer and action, to release His power in our world! Scandalous!
The power of the gospel rests on Christians who proclaim it. Our very lives reflect the glory of the Lord. Our time spent with God empowers us to live above the attachments of this life and the hindrances to Kingdom expansion, i.e., the salvation and discipleship of others. Yet, we are prone to weakness, but this does not deter God! Paul declared,
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7 NKJV)
God anoints men and women of prayer. What our world needs, is the Church to devote herself once again to this ministry. More programs, organization, and marketing won’t reach a hopeless world. An empowered Church will—it begins and is sustained by daily committed prayer.
E.M. Bounds wrote regarding the need for unhurried, daily, committed prayer,
God’s acquaintance is not made hurriedly. He does not bestow His gifts on the casual or hasty comer or goer. To be much alone with God is the secret of knowing Him. God yields to the persistency of a faith that knows Him. He bestows His richest gifts on those who declare their desire for and appreciation of those gifts by the constancy as well as the earnestness of their importunity.” 
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gave basic principles of prayer, not a formula. Luke 11:2-4
Because prayer was central to the ministry of Jesus, He wanted it to be foundational in the lives of His disciples. What we call the “Lord’s Prayer,” perhaps should be labeled the “Disciples Prayer,” as it’s an outline or blueprint for prayer.
Prayer should begin with Praise and Worship
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…” To hallow means to sanctify, to set apart, to make special.
We should praise and worship the Lord every day of our lives., “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6 NKJV) Prayer that touches the heart of God is worship-filled prayer!
As Christians, when we call God Father, we are acknowledging God as the loving, eternal Father of creation—all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present.
Our existence and life in Christ are a result of the love and goodness of Father God. Consider the words of James, “Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father…” (James 1:17 CEB) Our love response back to God is worship, which is the first element of prayer. Some miss this key component of prayer.
Praise, worship, and thanksgiving bring us into the presence of God. This is where genuine prayer originates!
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5 NKJV)
Asking should always be mingled with praise and thanksgiving. Consider Phil. 4:6,
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
Prayer should have Expectation
“Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.” In the NT, the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is mentioned about 80 times. Kingdom (basileia) means, first, the authority to rule as a king and, second, the realm over which the reign is exercised. Consider what Mark wrote of the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed,
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15 NKJV)
Asking for God’s kingdom (basileia) to come is to ask for the King to rule and for His rule to reign over His realm—which in simplest terms is over our lives and our world. It begins with us—His rule over our lives—His throne established in our hearts. We must recognize the importance of submitting our will to His will.
There is an unseen realm of the kingdom that demonstrates God’s presence and kingdom or rule.
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21 NKJV)
Jesus said the kingdom of God does not come with observation, for the kingdom is within those who believe. God’s unseen realm is all around us—expect the manifestation of His kingdom through those who believe!
Jesus must rule in our hearts first before God reigns supreme in our lives! When He does, it becomes evident!
When we pray, “Your Kingdom come…” this is not merely a “millennial” prayer focus, longing for the 2nd coming of Christ and the consummation of His kingdom reign on earth.
Rather, it is inviting our Father, our benevolent King, to rule and the realm of His Kingdom to reign NOW! We eagerly wait and expect the promise of His coming, but as we wait, we endeavor to disciple nations in His name!
It is important for the church to have a world vision, to desire to see God’s kingdom to reign over nations, for the lost to be gathered and disciples developed! For example, Jesus told us to pray for laborers for the harvest, which invites His kingdom to rule with a regional and global vision.
Since God’s kingdom is near, we should expect God’s kingdom to reign supreme over our lives and remain hopeful that prayers and promises will be answered. This type of faith develops through committed discipleship and extended times of prayer. Half-hearted prayer will not build expectation for breakthrough!
We know who we are in Christ; understand He has given us His authority, and the powers of darkness are defeated and will not prevail against His Church (Matt. 16:18)! We are on the offensive! Expect breakthrough as you pray!
Next week I will continue looking at the Lord’s Prayer, examining the principle of petition.
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Lord, Teach Us to Pray, Part 4”
 E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1982), 10.
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