Summary: A brief overview and look at the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to prayer in order that they might fulfill their prayer life and real life
What is the state of your prayer life? I imagine if I asked each one of you today, I would be hard pressed to find even one person who could say
“Yes, Captain, my prayer life is one area of my life where I can confidently say I have no problems”
If you are anything like me, you will struggle with prayer. You will struggle with time to pray. You will struggle with what to pray. You will struggle with seeing the results or not of prayer. You will struggle with the repetition of prayer. You will struggle with how good your prayers are. It is easy for me to say
“Well that’s satan. He just doesn’t want you to pray”,
but that really doesn’t solve anything. Worse, it can become an excuse not to pray. I came across a wonderful picture of prayer that has encouraged me. It is the story of a blind boy with his father on a hill flying a kite. The young lad had the kite string in his hand and a smile on his face which was pointing to the skies. Eventually someone came and asked the unspoken question “What can you possibly get out of flying the kite?”
The boy replied “I can’t see it, but I can feel the pull”
(Peter Lewis in "On our Knees and in His Arms" Moody Press Chicago isbn 0 8024-3051-1)
Prayer is like flying a kite blind. Sometimes you feel a tug so constant that you hardly know it’s there and then the wind of the Spirit blows in a different direction, and you feel its sudden movement. While we may not see with our eyes the full effect of prayer, our spirit is led by the prayer the Lord Jesus taught his disciples to say to
Look up; Look out, look within, and to look forward.
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, directs us as we fly our spiritual kites, to look up. We are directed to the place where everything can be seen and directed – heaven, where God dwells and directs. We are called to that place to gain a perspective that is not our own. It is like that moment when a successful businessman might take his child to his office window, showing the extent of the business and saying
“Someday, this will all be yours” At that moment there is a change in perspective. There is, a moment that directs us to understand that if we are to be God’s partners in this world, and we are, then we need to have the same perspective. And Jesus invites us in this prayer to start there, in heaven with God, our FATHER.
The prayer then directs us to look around. To see that that there is a heavenly kingdom that is expressed on earth. There are values that exist in heaven that need to be expressed by us on earth. From our height in heaven, God places us as generals in his war room. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On Earth. As it is in Heaven. We are engaged in a strategy to bring the kingdom of God to its fullness on earth. And we are a part of that. Is it some kind of chaos where everyone just does what he thinks is right? No. It is a Spirit driven, prayer guided, battle plan. It engages each of us as soldiers to play our part. The minimum of that job is prayer. God gives us through this prayer the vision of what heaven is like. And it is up to us, to display, strive for and accomplish that vision on earth. And that vision is being accomplished. It is through prayer and heavenly vision that schools, hospitals, health care, welfare, freedom from slavery, exist. And it is a long term vision. And that can give us some comfort that while we may not see the results immediately, we can feel the tug of the Spirit saying that we are playing our part. We are supplied with our daily bread, the resources that are needed to fulfill God’s plan.
But there is one more thing that is required before prayer is made effective and for that we must look within.
Jesus said that “The good person brings good things out of the good stored in their heart, and the evil person brings evil things out of the evil stored up in their heart” Luke 6:45
What is this evil? It is anything that works against the spirit. It is resentments, it is unresolved hurt, it is bad intentions, judgmentalism. It is anything that is impure. It is unforgiveness. We know that we are forgiven as Christians. We are also to be forgiving. If we have brought an offering to God, we must first resolve our differences with each other, otherwise the offering of money, time, talent, good deeds, is not counted by God. It is as if we are living as empty Christians, working away for no reward. Because we know that our reward is in Heaven. But the Lord says forgive. And as if to underline the whole point of prayer, after the prayer we find the words