Lord, Teach Us to Pray, Part 6 - Bob Sawvelle

Lord, Teach Us to Pray, Part 6

We all face major decisions, crossroads, and at times evil in life. Learn to value quality time with God in prayer to hear from Him, get His perspective and direction.

Gordon Lindsay, twentieth-century minister and co-founder of Christ for the Nations, wrote regarding the necessity of prayer, “A successful life is shaped in the crucible of the daily hour of prayer.” [1] Jesus promised us abundant life. Prayer positions us to live in Jesus’ abundant life and realize success as we walk with Him.

Often, we are praying for breakthrough when at a crossroads. Perhaps it’s a circumstance that seems impossible. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Petitionary prayer is persistent!

God has and continues to answer the prayers of His people in every unimaginable circumstance. God does not want His people to succumb to fear, defeat, and failure!

God wants us to see results in prayer, just like we read of people in the Bible, like Daniel, who obtained answers to prayer. Whether it is for family, guidance, wisdom, provision, healing, or freedom from oppression—God answers and supplies in response to believing prayer.

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matt. 7:7-8 NIV

What does this mean? It means that God’s supernatural, invisible power is working with us, able to work out every problem, anticipate every need, and supply whatever may be required. His power is so great, it can move mountains, impossible situations!

As God is true, so is His promise. Your prayers can be answered too—it is important to take time to learn the principles to answered prayer!

As we have been discussing in this series, Jesus gives basic principles of prayer, not just a prayer, when teaching on prayer. Luke 11:1-4

In response to the disciples’ question, “Lord teach us to pray,” (Luke 11:1) Jesus responded, “When you pray…” and began to give principles on how to pray effectively. Throughout God’s Word, we are invited to learn how to grow in faith and prevail in prayer. Mature faith creates confident prayer—prayer that gets answers.

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.

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.

Nineteenth-century minister, prayer warrior, and author E.M. Bounds stated, “God yields to the persistency of a faith that knows Him.” [2]

God anoints men and women of prayer. What our world needs is for 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.

Let’s examine petitionary prayer as part of the Lord’s prayer model.

Prayer should have petition and be persistent. Luke 11:3, “Give us day by day our daily bread.” (NKJV) Petitioning God is basic to prayer! Jesus taught us to pray for daily needs.

Prayer elevates our life in Christ beyond the temporal. In prayer, we discover new depths of relationship with our Savior—prayer is communion foremost. We choose daily to gather spiritual bread from the Father through prayer and meditation on His Word.

The children of Israel were instructed to daily gather the manna they needed to survive in the wilderness. They couldn’t gather in one day enough for the week! Sunday worship service great, but … daily!!

God’s plan is daily dependence upon Him. Just as our body needs food to survive, our Spirit needs daily communion with God to be strong.

Jesus, confronting the temptation of the devil declared in Matt. 4:4, quoting from Deuteronomy, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

We need daily to gather spiritual bread, to live an overcoming life in Christ, “Give us day by day our daily bread…” Luke 11:13

Effective prayer is fueled by resolute faith. His faith, alive within, empowers prayer. It’s a faith that sees through the darkness, because it sees Him. Faith which is anchored in Jesus and His Word is a faith that prays until mountains move.

Faith that moves mountains and sees obstacles overcome is a faith that strengthens through deepening relationship with Jesus.

Jesus is the source of our life and faith—He is the originator and perfecter of our faith. Confident faith occurs when we know Jesus’ desire in every circumstance. When, like Jesus, we can see what the Father is doing in every situation, confidence and faith soar.

Faith also develops through God’s Word, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) Both the written Word (logos) and Spirit-inspired word (rhema) build confidence in the heart to believe what God is promising.

The Word of God can create compelling faith, a faith that is never deterred and never gives up.  Prevailing prayer originates with those who are confident in God’s Word and revealed will. Faith generates effective prayer, and prayer fuels faith!

The essence of prayer is communion with God, grounded in His Word. A Christian cannot thrive without an ongoing love relationship with the Father through Jesus. To miss the importance of relationship is ineffective at best and borders on using God selfishly.

The dynamic life flow of the Spirit, available to a believer through Christ, enables persevering faith and prayer. After all, Jesus stated plainly in John 15 that He was the vine and we are the branches—we are to remain in Him for fruitfulness and the divine flow of life, which only He can give through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

There is no quick formula to becoming a person of great faith and prayer. However, God’s Word contains principles that will position you to grow in prevailing faith and prayer.

Jesus promised, “Ask, and it shall be given you,” (Matt. 7:7 NKJV) which means He intends for you and me to be confident in the asking.

Jesus invites us to journey with Him into a life of audacious faith, believing for the impossible, and impacting our world through prayer. (My book, Our Eyes are On You: Principles to Prevail in Faith and Prayer discusses this subject in much greater detail.)

God is our Father; He enjoys giving to His children. A child has rights in a family. God is a good God! He desires to give all good things to us if we just ask Him. Jesus promised the power of petition, “How much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” (Matt. 7:11 NKJV) That which is in character with His nature and Word.

Jesus said to ask the Father in His name to receive answers to prayer,

At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” John 16:23-24 NLT

In John 16:27 Christ shows why this works—we believe in Him, “for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.” NKJV

Therefore, we are partakers of the inheritance of the only begotten Son of God. Jesus commanded us not to fear, but to be expectant for answers and kingdom inheritance, Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 NKJV

Daniel, a man of prayer.

Daniel is an excellent example of being a person of prayer, faith, and perseverance. His life spanned a century, during which kingdoms rose and fell. It was one of the most turbulent times in history.

Daniel encountered suffering, persecution, and threat of life. Once he was condemned to die with all the wise men of Babylon. Another time, he was thrown into a den of vicious lions. Yet, God miraculously preserved his life.

Daniel’s integrity and wisdom granted him favor with each succeeding ruler. Because the Spirit of God rested on him, he was admired and respected by kings, queens, and their people. In times of crisis, they turned to Daniel for help and counsel.

What was the secret to Daniel’s favor and wisdom? Prayer was a priority with him. Three times a day he met with God in prayer and gave thanks. He allowed nothing to interrupt his daily habit. He didn’t just go to God in times of crisis. No, Daniel gathered manna each day with God in prayer.

Ruthless men schemed to take Daniel’s life by convincing King Darius to forbid the petitioning of any god or any man—except the king, for thirty days. Anyone who violated the decree would be thrown into a pit of lions.

Daniel didn’t panic, he kept praying and trusting God,

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Dan. 6:10 NKJV)

Daniel was caught praying to God and thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel had favor with King Darius,

So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” (Dan. 6:16 NKJV)

And just as the king declared, God miraculously delivered Daniel. (See Dan. 6:18-23, 24-28). Nothing is impossible with God! The power of consistent, daily, petitionary prayer cannot be overstated. Learn to value prayer time with the Father, expectant of answers!


Bob Sawvelle Signature


For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Lord, Teach Us to Pray, Part 6”


[1] Gordon Lindsay, Prayer That Moves Mountains (Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations, 1998), 35.

[2] E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1982), 56.

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