“Lord, teach us to pray,” a disciple requested of Jesus in Luke 11.
Jesus proceeds to give what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer as an outline (note, it is an outline of how to pray, not a prayer designed to be repeated out of habit). What does this outline teach us?
-We should begin with praise (Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name…)
-We should pray for lost souls (Thy kingdom come…)
-We should pray for God’s will (Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…)
-We should pray for our needs (Give us this day our daily bread…)
-We should pray for forgiveness (Forgive us our debts…)
-We should ask God to help us forgive others (As we forgive our debtors…)
-We should ask Him to help us live right (And lead us not into temptation…)
-We should ask for protection (But deliver us from evil…)
-We should end in praise (For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, amen.)
Now that we know what to pray, how can we more effectively pray?
The first step is to understand that God will answer prayers according to His design and purpose.
He either answers with Yes, No, or Wait. We may not see a response from Him immediately, and we may also not always get the response we want.
We should always keep praying, even when we don’t get a response right away.
Jesus spoke a parable in Luke 18 of a widow who continually approached a judge about a need and he eventually gave her what she wanted so she would quit asking. After telling the parable Jesus asks, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”
We sometimes need to put additional action behind our prayers.
In Mark 9 the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast a demon out of a man and He said, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”. We can pray but sometimes God wants to see us act on our faith by fasting as well. Not only is fasting a sacrifice but also a great way to spiritually discipline ourselves.
We need to be righteous.
How can that be though? Is not the only good thing in us the Holy Ghost? (Romans 7:18)
Let’s consider what the Bible has to say:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” -James 5:16
-We can be righteous in the sense of the word that we are trying to live like Christ.
-We can be righteous in faith. Romans 4:3 says that Abraham’s faith was counted unto him as righteousness. If faith can be counted as righteousness, then could it be said that the effectual fervent prayer of a faithful man availeth much?
So we need faith, action, and persistence when it comes to prayer. Add those three to the outline of prayer Jesus gives and we will see our prayer lives transformed greatly.
Let’s continue to search the scriptures on the topic of prayer and see what else we can learn…