A Christian could be locked up in a jail cell with no Bible to read, no church to worship in, no person to witness to or fellowship with, and no one to serve – but could still maintain a vibrant relationship with the Lord through prayer. Prayer is simply communication with God – and if there is no communication with God; specifically, talking to the Lord and hearing from the Lord, there is no real spiritual life. Unless we meet with God through prayer, we won’t meet with Him at all.
It is intriguing to me that one of the disciples, perhaps at the request of the other disciples, approached Jesus and asked Him to teach them how to pray. Now, they had seen Jesus perform mighty miracles of healing and deliverance, but nowhere in the Gospels do we find His disciples requesting that He teach them how to perform miracles of healing and deliverance. They had heard Him preach motivating and insightful messages, but nowhere do we find His disciples requesting that He teach them how to preach. They were primarily interested in learning how to pray like Jesus prayed. They had observed the incredible power and anointing He demonstrated and concluded this power was tied to His prayer life; His communication with the Heavenly Father, and so they wanted to be able to pray as He prayed.
Question – “How would you describe your prayer life – and in your description of your prayer life, would you say that other Christians would be amazed at the diligence and productivity of your prayer life?” Prayer, without a doubt, is the key to plugging into the wisdom, insight, encouragement, power and anointing that is available to us from the Heavenly Father. If we don’t pray effectively, we won’t understand God’s Word and we won’t know God’s will. If we don’t pray effectively, we will be overwhelmed and discouraged by the adversities and adversaries we encounter. If we don’t pray effectively, we will be trying to live life, make decisions and overcome our trials and temptations in our own strength and ability, rather than with the power and provision of the Lord.
Following their request, Jesus gave His disciples the “model prayer” (Luke 11:2-4). This is not the Lord’s Prayer which is found in John 17, but a “model prayer.” Jesus was not saying, “Pray these exact words, and your prayer life will be sufficient.” He was giving us a pattern, an outline for prayer. Basically Jesus was saying that when we pray we should:
1) Praise the Heavenly Father -“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name”
2) Pray for God’s kingdom (and the characteristics of His kingdom) to be exemplified in our lives, home, church, city and world – “Your kingdom come”;
3) Pray for God’s will to be done in our lives, home, Church, city and world – Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven”
4) Pray for God’s provision in our lives – “Give us this day our daily bread”
5) Pray for forgiveness from God for our sins – “Forgive us our sins”
6) Pray to forgive others who’ve hurt us – “As we forgive those who sin against us”
7) Pray for protection from temptation and from the attack of the “evil one” (“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”
He was saying that when we take the time to pray that thoroughly with real fervency and honesty in our heart, we will be meeting with the Heavenly Father in a supernatural life-changing way. Also, in Matthew 6:5-13 when giving this same prayer, Jesus pointed out that it’s important to have a regular time and place to pray, ensuring that prayer will be a priority in our lives.
Second Question – “How important has prayer been to you, and what do you need to do to improve your prayer life?” Prayer is the key to connecting with God – and unless we sincerely and consistently connect with the Lord, we will live our lives outside of His will and without His power and direction for us.
As you pray today: 1) Tell the Lord that you desire your prayer life to be more vital and vibrant than it has been in the past and ask His help; 2) Pray through the “Model Prayer,” not just reciting the words, but using it as an outline for prayer; and 3) Pray fervently, faithfully and expectantly (Luke 11:5-13).