For SBC Philippi
4 Important Elements of Prayer
Primary Purpose: To consider what Jesus said are important elements in our prayer life.
This is perhaps one of the most familiar passages of Scripture to us, commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. In many churches, it is repeated as a part of the worship service. Yet, it is more of a pattern for what our prayer lives should include. I am going to suggest to you that there are several important elements of prayer that we shouldn’t forget found in this prayer.
First, there is the Missing Element of Prayer- Praise. In vs.9 Jesus started his prayer by saying “hallowed be your name.” The word hallowed is the greek word hagiazo, which means to make holy, sanctify. In other words, it means that as we go into a time of prayer, we need to remember to lift up the Lord’s name, to praise Him, to exalt Him, to remember who He is and what He has done for us. I call it the missing element because it is easy to forget. We usually are praying because we need something. We go to God because of a special need or concern.
Recently there was a cartoon where an elderly woman is standing at the church door talking to the pastor. Her remark, as she hands a thick manila folder to him was, “My doctor copied my chart, complete with medicines and prognosis....just copy it into th eprayer list, please.” (Illustration given by Russell Brownworth).
But, God already knows what you need before you ask. There isn’t a need to rush into God’s presence like He needs to be informed. Rather than being informed, we need to be transformed. If your like me, your guilty sometimes of rushing into the prayer room and pouring out your heart to God in intercession, but you forget to stop and praise Him. Praising Him helps us to focus on who He is and how big He is. Don’t forget to praise God for answered prayer, for what He did on the cross, for providing for your needs, for who He is. Focus first on Him.
David Jeremiah has said in his book on Prayer, the Great Adventure, “When John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, Life magazine published photos of his children, John Jr. and Caroline, playing with their toys on the floor of the Oval Office. Those images captured the hearts of the American people like nothing before or since. Why? I think it’s because it bridged a gap between two thoughts: Kennedy was the President of the United States, but he was also a father. He held ultimate political power in the Free World, but playing at his feet were two little kids who called him Daddy. I don’t think your kids would have been allowed to do that. Nor mine. But his kids were. Why? He was their father. He was not only the President of the United States; he was also their dad.
In the same way, God is both our Father and the Lord of glory. We can approach His confidently in prayer because we are His dearly beloved children, but we must never forget that He is also the Sovereign of the universe.”
When we focus on him, there follows a true sense of humility. In Luke 18:14, Jesus tells us that the one who exalts himself will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be exalted. I think it’s interesting that humility was always one of the key ingredients in revival and solemn assemblies in the Bible. The people would sometimes tear their clothing and put dust on their heads. They weren’t trying to manipulate God or change God’s mind about something. You cannot manipulate God into doing something He doesn’t want to do. They would bow as a sign of humility. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 this favorite statement of many starts out by saying “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven. . . .” Notice, that one of the first things the person is to do is to humble himself.