Summary: Seventh in a prayer Series dealing with some of the pattern of prayer we have in the Disciple's Prayer.
“Divine Dialogue” Pt 7
Patterns of Prayer – The Disciples Prayer
I. PERSPECTIVE ON PRAYER -- What is prayer?
II. PURPOSE OF PRAYER – Why Pray?
III. PREREQUISITES FOR PRAYER – Who can pray?
IV. PROMISES REGARDING PRAYER – What does God promise to do?
V. PURPOSES FOR UNANSERED PRAYER – Why doesn’t God answer?
VI. POSTURES IN PRAYER – What should I do with my body?
VII. PASSION OF PRAYER – What priority should I give to prayer?
VIII. PATTERNS OF PRAYER – What should I pray?
After all this information concerning prayer in general we have not actually discussed the content of our prayer or what should I pray? If prayer at is simplest form is dialogue with God, then the content of my dialogue will depend on the relationship and what happens to be on my heart. The content of my prayer will depend on my need at the moment or the purpose of my dialogue.
I may want to express my appreciation for His past and present lovingkindness.
I may want to express my admiration of His majesty and character.
I may want to express my love and commitment to Him.
I may want to cry out to Him in my desperate need.
I may want to intercede on behalf of those close to me.
I may want to ask for wisdom or direction.
I may want to affirm my commitment to His will for my life.
We can find inspiration in our dialogue with God from the dialogue of others. The Bible records numerous examples of the prayers of others. The book of Psalms contains numerous recorded prayers to God. I am not aware of any place where the Bible prescribes any particular wording in regard to prayer except the prayer Jesus recommended the disciples.
A. The Disciples Model Prayer
Jesus offered a model prayer when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Both Matthew and Luke included this prayer in their historical account. They did not record identical examples. Luke’s version is shorter. We generally focus on Matthew’s longer version. I believe Jesus gave this prayer as a pattern or model of prayer. Given the fact He prayed all night at times, I am sure His conversation with God exceeded the boundaries found in this prayer. His longest recorded prayer in John 17 doesn’t resemble this prayer either. Since this prayer was prescribed by Jesus, it would benefit us to study it.
It begins with an address.
It presents six petitions.
Three of them focus on God’s glory
Three of them focus on man’s need
It concludes with a stirring affirmation of the ultimate reason for our petitions.
The Address -- “Our Father in the heavens”
This addresses the question as to whom we should address our petitions. If we consider this prescriptive, we should address our prayers to the Father. There are other passages that instruct us to focus our prayer on the Father.
Let your requests be made known unto God Phil 4
Let him ask of God the Father of lights James 1
Giving thanks unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus
Pray the Lord of the harvest Matt 9:37
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Joh 16:23
If we consider the descriptive passages of the Bible the options expand.
There is precedence for conversation with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The Old Testament God followers addressed God by a number of names.
Yahweh God, God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which said, Yahweh, O God, O Lord my God, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, God of my righteousness, my King and my God, O Yahweh our Lord, ah Lord.
Jesus used O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Father, O my Father, My God, My God.
New Testament followers used, Father, Our Father which art in heaven, Lord, Abba Father, God and Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, God of all comfort, God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, My God, God, God of peace, God of all grace
We have learned that through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. In the model, Jesus taught them to address their Father in the heavens. This would have been revolutionary to the Jewish audience whose perception of God rarely included that of a loving Father.
The Old Testament seemed to view Him as the all-powerful One.
The New Testament focuses on God as the loving parent.
Implications of God as Father
Viewing God as Father implies many things. He is the source of life. Personal relationship. His love and care for us. Our dependence on Him. His authority.