Summary: Today it is our assignment to examine one for the most important practices in the life of every Christian – that of prayer. Prayer is essential to knowing God and it’s essential for growing spiritually - prayer.
A few weeks ago we began to examine one for the most important practices (one which should be paramount) in the life of every believing Christian – that of prayer. And prayer for the believer, as I’ve said before, is not an option, it’s an obligation. The very action of prayer should not be regarded as a passing fancy rather it should be viewed as a personal privilege. And prayer, when properly engaged can be recognized as powerful and also persuasive.
Prayer is so powerful because the results of it thereby reach upwards to heaven in the form of worship; reach downward to hell in the form of warfare; must be carried out to into the world by way of our works – prayer is powerful. But prayer is also persuasive. It’s persuasive in nature due to the mere fact that prayer was not designed to change the mind or heart of God but rather it was designed to alter the mindset of the one doing the praying. Prayer is persuasive.
But as we suggested a few weeks ago, truth be told, many Christians are reluctant to pray. Maybe it’s because we’re too embarrassed to pray; maybe it’s because we don’t really know how to pray or maybe it’s because we know that our hearts aren’t right with God so we don’t pray. Whatever our reasoning may be, the fact of the matter is you and I need to pray! Why, because prayer is simply the action of us fellowshipping with God.
Whenever we need to clarify a characteristic we should practice as Christians, we should look to Jesus as our pattern to follow. The very prayer life of Jesus was one to be admired. Reading the accounts of his life, whenever he needed to communicate with his Father, he would still away to a quiet place by himself and pray. Before he did anything, he would have fellowship with his Father. Before he approached anyone, he made sure that that was the will of his Father. Jesus’ prayer life was so solid and so exemplary that he would spend nights and mornings alone (nights after the son had gone down and mornings before the sun ever came up) in prayer. Jesus the person who was 100% God but also 100% man, spent hours upon hours fellowshipping with his Father. The disciples noticing the prayer life of Jesus and its effectiveness in his life, came to him one day and asked, (in Luke 11:1) “Lord, teach us to pray…”
The disciples recognized Jesus as he prayed in,
-Matthew 14:13 (over the 2 fish and 5 loaves feeding over 5,000)
-Mark 6:45 (prior to he and Peter walking on water)
-John 11:38 (before bringing back Lazarus from the grave)
It prompted them to more or less say, “Lord, teach us to pray like that!”
The very response Jesus gave his disciples in answering their request is what we’ve come to know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” But when you look at the context in which the prayer was given, you’ll notice that it’s not actually Jesus’ prayer, but rather it’s a model prayer – a prayer to pattern after - for his disciples. So instead of it being called “The Lord’s Prayer”, it ought to be called “The Disciples Prayer” or “The Model Prayer”.
Looking at how Jesus teaches his disciples in Matthew 6:9-13, biblical scholars suggest to us that this one prayer should be divided into two sets of three requests. The first set of request recognizes God and His glory. While the other set of requests refer to man and his needs. Notice the order – God first, then man (us). Remember that - we’ll get more into that later.
Using the modeled prayer as our guide, we want to use the acrostic A-C-T-S to recognize the proper way for us to fellowship with God in prayer. And the first thing Jesus advised his disciples to do, when fellowshipping with God in prayer, is to set forth Adoration.
And in having the mindset of adoration, you and I need to recognize (first and foremost) that we are speaking to God - the Creator of the universe; the chief architect of the world; the sustainer of life; the cultivator of character; the controller of all; the Great I Am; the One who is so big – you can’t go around Him, you can’t go under Him, you can’t go over Him, you can only go through Him – God!
And we are to adore Him because of His,
Because of who He is. He’s great and He’s greatly to be praised! He’s all of that and a bag of chips!
The text reads, “Our Father who art in heaven…” He is our heavenly Father.
The text goes on the say, “Hallowed be thy name.” And we discovered that hallowed is a word that simply means holy. Holy is his name. The name of God is purified, consecrated, sanctified, its set apart. The name of God is excellent! God’s name is so holy and perfect that there’s even a commandment warning against the use of His name improperly. Exodus 20:7 says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” His name is perfect!