Summary: Prayer is essential. Prayer is neglected. Why? Why spend the time and effort to pray?
Pt. 2 - Prayer Patterns
Last week we began to talk about prayer and how it is essential in our lives as Christians. It is the foundation of communication with God and with others. Your prayer life reveals your intimacy levels. Who you pray to, for and with reveals how "deep" you are in your walk with your Father and with His followers! In fact when someone tells you they prayed for you they have just given you the greatest gift they could ever give you.
My prayer is that over the course of the week you spent some intimate time talking to God. I also trust you prayed for and with someone else.
Today I want to go into a different passage that I believe shows us some things about prayer that would really help change our prayer life from "Thank you for this day, bless mom, bless dad, talk to you later" type of prayers.
The passage I want us to examine is found in Luke and is a very abbreviated form of what we call the Lord's prayer. Jesus gives us a pattern!
One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, "Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." So he said, "When you pray, say, Father, Reveal who you are. Set the world right. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil."
A. Prayer is a learning process.
It is interesting to me that the disciples realized that they really didn't know how to pray. They asked for training and instruction. They weren't satisfied or content with their present level and ability to communicate with the Father. This inquiry reveals to us the need to learn to pray. You don't get saved and suddenly have a master's degree in prayer. We are all in the learning process of prayer. Each of us have to learn to pray!
My concern is that many of us never try to learn or improve in prayer. We are still praying at the same level and depth that we did when we got saved 10 years ago. When your child is 2 you don't mind him/her communicating simplistically (give me, hold me, change me), but when they are 23 you expect them to be able to carry on a mature and multi-faceted conversation. Why should our prayer life be any different? Some of us need to examine our prayer life closely this morning. Has your prayer life matured? Is it deeper? Are you learning to more effectively communicate with the Father?
Is anyone trying to learn to pray like you? Something about Jesus' ability to pray intrigued the disciples to want to know what He knew. If you want to know if your prayer life has matured one way to know is if when others hear you pray they want to be around you to learn. I am not talking about being able to impress them with fancy language or your eloquence (all you have to do is hang around preachers to pick up this skill). I am talking about when someone hears you pray they recognize your connection to the Father and they want to learn that.
I can still remember as a boy going past my parent's room late at night and seeing my dad kneeled down at the side of the bed and hearing the depth of his prayer. I reflect on hearing Dr. Beacham pray in the office. They made me want to learn to pray!
So Jesus honors their hunger (as He will yours) and gives them instructions on how to pray.
B. Pray God be revealed.
Jesus could have started off by saying pray for world peace. Pray for economic stability. Pray for miracles. However, His first instruction was to pray that God would reveal Himself. Jesus knew that the many of the things that we spend significant time asking for and pleading for would be resolved if we would simply get a revelation of God!
Need provision - get a revelation of God as your provider.
Need healing - get a revelation of God as your healer.
Need peace - get a revelation of God as a peace speaker.
Need protection - get a revelation of God as the one who will never leave or forsake you.
I think our prayers often reveal a lack of revelation! Our lives, our outlook, our perspective, our priorities, our problems would dramatically change if we had revelation.
Lack of revelation leads to lack of preparation, separation, participation, and sanctification! Our narrow revelation of God leads to a shallow experience with God!