Since the beginning of the year I have been challenging you to set some time aside every day with Jesus. If you have done this you probably have noticed that when you plan to spend that time reading the Bible, all kinds of crazy things start happening. You get up in the morning and read the newspaper, every section of it and everything is fine. There are no phone calls, no disturbances. Nothing is going on. But when you say, “I am going to read my Bible”, the phone starts ringing. Kids start screaming, the dog starts barking because a leaf fell from the tree outside the kitchen window.
You start again only to remember that you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning because you have an important meeting today. And that causes you to remember that you forgot to return a phone call to your third cousin twice removed. Things like this are not necessary evil things that are keeping you from God’s Word - they are just things. They are distractions. You need to listen to me; the old devil does not want you to read your Bible or pray. Did you know that? He wants to distract you, because the Bible and prayer are crucial weapons for spiritual battle.
Over the last seven weeks we have been talking about prayer. Many of you have rediscovered what God can do when we pray. I love the pictures you have sent me about building your “WAR ROOMS” to pray in. When we get serious about it our lives are changed. I don’t believe there is a greater privilege for anyone than being able to personally talk with and speak into the ears of Almighty God. No church program, religious event, political effort, or humanitarian cause can trump the awesome power of what God can do in response to the prayers of His people.
The topic of prayer has been studied, written about, talked about, and preached on by millions of people for thousands of years. But in my interactions with believers over the years I have discovered that very few of us understand prayer. That is why I was so led by the Lord to share a series of messages on this subject. When people truly understand prayer, that understanding changes how they live, what they pray, whether they pray, and the expectations they have from prayers.
I have learned that for many Christians, prayer is like the national anthem before a sporting event. It gets the game started but has absolutely no relevance to what is happening on the field. Prayer can become a mere habit! Think about that for a moment; when we pray before we eat, we don’t really utilize our minds as we are praying; we just say the same general thing each time.
Let me give you another good example, when we go to bed at night, we simply recite a call for blessing a protection with a little bit of gratitude thrown in for good measure. Prayer has become a routine. For most it is like a spare tire; we want it there in case we really need it, but when it’s not needed, we want it out of the way – where we don’t have to deal with it or see it. In our arsenal the greatest weapon we have against the spiritual forces is prayer. “To pray diligently is more than half the task”, said Martin Luther. We may not always understand the how and the why of prayer, but two things are clear: the disaster of no prayer and the power of real prayer. Real prayer takes the spiritual battle seriously as it joins with the Lord of all and might.
So, I want to share with you 6 prayers that I discovered Jesus prayed. His prayers glorified the Father and showed how deeply He wanted God’s will to be done, even at the greatest expense. His prayers demonstrated His deep love for us and His desire for our unity. Through His prayer, He teaches us how to pray to the Father. He teaches us to forgive.
The Lord’s Prayer
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13 NIV)
Glorify Your Name
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. ‘Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’” -(John 12:27-28 NIV)
Prayer for Believers
“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” – (John 17:11 NIV)
Prayer for unity and love
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me.” (John 17:20-21 NIV)
Prayer for God’s will be done
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 NIV)
Father forgive them
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:33 NIV)
Finally, prayer is something that we should all want to do daily. Whether one is a new believer or an established one, prayer should always be considered as the best way to speak to God.
Remember the devil is running around looking for whom to devour, but we are to resist him steadfastly and the best way is through prayers. So, get praying today without ceasing.
Make every Day Count