There are some different types of prayer and many styles of praying. Like many other Christians, I started Christian life knowing some things about what prayer is, but was somewhat confused about the rest because I didn't really understand the formulas that Christians around me considered to be prayer and praying. I quickly settled to prayer being a conversation between God and me, and things improved from there as He began to teach me what is real in the many aspects of what prayer is, as opposed to what we call prayer but is just religious or selfish words without power or connection with Him.
Scripture has helpful statements about what prayer is and what the results of effective prayer are. These seem to be quite different which can seem confusing until we realise that there are different applications, depending on the situation. Prayer is shown by Jesus life on earth to be based on a dynamic relationship with our heavenly Father, and from that, Jesus taught the following very useful prayer guideline. When we realise that, then we begin to see that there are some aspects of every day life that we talk to our Father about all through the day. There are other situations where we need to know how to pray because we cannot see the picture clearly and we need specific information and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus' disciples realised by watching Him that there were aspects of prayer and talking to our Father that they were lacking, they asked Him to teach them to pray. They saw that Jesus was modelling a prayer filled way of life that was quite different from what they were used to, and seemed to always be on top of every situation and conversation that came along. There is no record of Jesus "saying a prayer", instead we see conversation with His Father, command prayer and proclamation prayer.
Because we generally find it difficault to discern our Father's thoughts and voice in the noise of thoughts and voices of life, we tend to look for some prayer formulas that will always work to help us along the way. Because I had been taught that Jesus prayer structure, commonly called "the Lord's prayer" was a prayer that you just spouted off in parrot fashion, I thought little of this way, or in Jesus words, “manner” of prayer for too many years of Christian life. I just did not see how valuable this is until our gracious Father began to show by inspiration the value of each of the parts of it. Then it all came together and I found encouragment in the completeness and power of this practical, simple way of prayer that is also full of principles and teaching on how to go about prayer.
A TOOLBOX FOR CHRISTIAN SURVIVAL
The disciples asked Him "Lord teach us to pray"
Jesus starts teaching by explaining a bit about what prayer is not, and how to go about setting ourselves up to pray effectively.
Matthew 6:5 - 15 And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, enter into your room. And shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly. 7 But when you pray, do not babble vain words, as the nations. For they think that in their much speaking they shall be heard. 8 Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.
Matthew 6:9 Therefore pray in this manner: Our Father, who is in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name
Jesus' teaching here is like a useful toolbox for daily Christian survival. He is not telling us to copy and pray this prayer word for word, like a ritual. He is giving us a prayer structure - "Therefore pray in this manner ". I Have discovered that His prayer structure is one of the most precious and vital ways (or tools) to bring about God’s sovereignty in my life. You could say that this manner of prayer progressively shifts focus through quite different aspects of life, that can be short or long prayer times depending on the needs we are praying into. It might even be appropriate to spend quite a long time on any particular part of it.
Our Father who art in Heaven
We are to pray to our Father in Jesus' name (John 16:26 ). We are to pray (talk) to Him AS our Father.
And in that day you shall ask Me nothing. Truly, truly, I say to you, Whatever you shall ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
Before now you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. I have spoken these things to you in parables, but the time is coming when I shall no more speak to you in parables, but I will show you plainly of the Father. At that day you will ask in My name; and I do not say to you that I will pray to the Father for you,
for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from God.
In other words we are told to charge up what we need to Jesus' account with our Father. You could say in today's language that this is on Jesus' account or tab. Being given His account balance with our Father is a parable of our being given His righteousness and place to stand in before Father God, along with His Life full of resource - living in us because Jesus does. He is pleased when we function from and in harmony with His life. This harmony or oneness with Him is prayed about by Jesus in John 17:21 (but look at the whole prayer.)
John 17:20-23 And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one, I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made complete in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.
We need this working oneness with Him to be able to do anything in His kingdom just as He says in John 15:5 I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who continues in Me, and I in him, that person brings forth much pluckable fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Hallowed (Holy and revered)(awesome) is Your Name
This is worship.One way to come quickly in tune with the Holy Spirit is to worship our Father.All of our problems, fears, concerns and reservations fade as we surrender to the influence of His life flowing through us from the inside outward as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.As we yield into Him in true praise and worship, we are letting our trust of Him take over.
Day to day life causes us to put up temporary barriers and protections we put up around our heart. As we surrender to Him in praise and worship, these melt away before His great love and peace that begins to refill us from the wells and fountains of our spirit within where He dwells.This happens as we focus on who He really is and on His greatness in a heartfelt way.The barriers and protections spring up from all sorts of causes. But they are gone in an instant of His Life touch as we reopen the internal connection with our new creature Jesus-like spirit life that dwells inside us.
He knows our frailties.He gave us this beginning for prayer to answer our need, because He knows that focus on who He is in worship, will help us to focus on Him and thus be able to receive from Him.
John 17:14-26 I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray for You to take them out of the world, but for You to keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth.
As You have sent Me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world. And I sanctify Myself for their sakes, so that they also might be sanctified in truth. And I do not pray for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one, I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me, that they may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me, for You have loved Me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, indeed the world has not known You; but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent me. And I made known to them Your name, and will make it known, so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
His Name is Him as each of us personally knows Him. We focus on and worship the friend who is Almighty God that we know by revelation in our heart. We focus on the beautiful loving person that He has personally revealed to each one of us.If we feel that we don’t know Him enough in this way, or need more, this is a good place to ask to know Him more.
Read John 17:6-8: I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things, whatever You have given Me, are from You. For I have given to them the Words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.
Read John 17:6-8 and link “Your name ” in verse 6 with “the Words which You gave me;” to see that our Father's name was in the words that Jesus gave the disciples, as inspired by our Father.
John 17:11 And now I am in the world no longer, but these are in the world, and I come to You, Holy Father. Keep them in Your name, those whom You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are.
Just as with Jesus and His disciples, the power of what He has revealed to you personally keeps you. This can be revisited any time you wish, simply in attitude of heart or as you worship Him in songs, or by dwelling or meditating on those revelations.
Thy kingdom come
Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Mark 1:14 And after John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God,and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God draws near. Repent, and believe the gospel .
Luke 12:32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom .
Some pray for the arrival of Jesus’ millennium world kingdom at the end of the age, which we can look forward to. But “Your kingdom come and be where I am every moment of the day” is another way to read this.Also “Your kingdom be manifested through me where I am right now”.Jesus practised this and would escape to be alone with the Father when being too busy threatened their oneness.So should we, even if it is just an escape into our private inner place (closet) with Him.
Luke 10:8-11 And into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are in it, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near you! And into whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, going out into the streets say, Even the dust of your city which clings to us, we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.
The outworking of God's Kingdom is where His people are.God Himself is omnipresent but within the limits He has set up we bring His kingdom to others who are looking for His help.
Luke 17:20 And being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered and said, The kingdom of God does not come with observation. Nor shall they say, Lo here! or, behold, there! For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst .
Thy will be done
Matthew 26:39 And He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.
Matthew 16:24 -25 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.
“I want Your kingdom where I am, and also I want Your will to be done in this small area of Your kingdom in and around me, not my will.”“Help me turn from corruption and do Your will”.“I am nothing, You are everything.Rise up Holy Spirit within me - Fill me.” It's about exercising our dominion on the earth to give Him all the permissions and reasons He waits for to be able to act in man’s realm.
In Genesis 1:26–30 dominion is given to us over the earth, so speaking blessing in around people makes changes in the spiritual that He can work with.
Give us this day our daily bread
The bread of God is Jesus Christ. On a daily basis, we need the Life of Jesus that comes with being fed revelation by the Holy Spirit which happens in communing with Him or by Worship and praise.
Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses did not give you that bread from Heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from Heaven.
33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world.
34 Then they said to him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst.
This is personal and real worship. Worship must be in spirit and in truth
-the word “truth
” in John 4:23
means reality. We have asked that our Father’s kingdom come and be where we are. Then that His will be done over ours because in the spiritual, we are the poor and His are the riches and the resource of Life that wells up within and through us.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
We are declaring our dependence on Him. Then for this to happen we must have daily bread - or if the truth is really told, more than daily, especially at times. This bread is revelation and His guiding, polarising Life, so that His will IS done as our attitudes and thoughts become aligned with His. Aligned by His Life - the Living Bread being there changing our hearts to be like His heart.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Death to our self life comes from His Life not the other way around.
Forgive us our trespasses, for we also (try to) forgive.
Jesus said if we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven.
Judge not, that you may not be judged.
2 For with whatever judgment you judge, you shall be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye?
4 Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?
5 Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother's eye.
The word "judge"in the original Greek means condemn. In the end, if we do not reach out to Father for a place where we can let go of these wrongs to us, we will live in the shadow of our own condemnation as we condemn others.
Lead us not into temptation
Temptation is allowed by Father because rebellious hearts must be tempted to be broken. It is all about the heart permissions we carry and have towards Him. Rebellious hearts desire temptation. Spirit heart does not, but desires deliverance and healing with restoration of relationship with our Father. This is a heart surrendered to Father, seeing and looking at revelations of Jesus Christ within us. A heart that is surrendered to our Father will fight to stay in His life flow.
Deliver us from evil.
Our Father’s will is to deliver us from evil, not to see evil to win over us or give us a hard time. He would rather we stayed in his Life flow so we will be of maximum effect to save lives.
I do not pray for You to take them out of the world, but for You to keep them from the evil.
John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
He would rather have us give evil a hard time. He will make us Holy Lifeguards and Holy Ambos for others by doing and saying what He shows us to, as others cross our paths.
John 12:46 I have come as a Light into the world, so that whoever believes on Me should not remain in darkness.
47 And if any one hears My Words and does not believe, I do not judge him, for I do not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My Words has one who judges him; the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
49 For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Father God showed Jesus what tosay (in conversation) and what to speak (teach / preach), and He will show each of his children if we are listening.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
Worship at beginning and the end of praying. We have a need to worship our Father. He is complete and doesn’t need our worship, but we need to worship Him, and He permits us to for our sake. For many of us, this is because worship aligns our hearts with His heart faster than anything else we could do and allows us to be reconnected with His Life and His heart attitudes when we have gone into a self attitude. Also as we praise Him and thank Him for all He has done or is doing, giving Him honour for deliverance from evil and for salvation, a joy comes that is great strength.
I believe that Jesus gave us this prayer toolbox as a lifeline to our Father, and to enable us to be a lifeline to others as we disciple them to depend on Him. In my experience, sincerely praying this prayer guide through every department of it while reaching out to Father God almost immediately brings a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. A lot of my successful quiet times begin with adapting this prayer structure to living as it is at that moment. Each part of this structure covers a huge area of all those problems and things that we need to talk with our Father about and to pray through. Adapting each part to suit the circumstances we find ourselves in can bring a fresh release of the Holy Spirit’s care and this structure gives us the way to do so. Really, there is no area left out. Don’t be surprised when you hear His thoughts coming back to you more and more as you do so.
Our Father in heaven
Your Name is awesome
Let Your kingdom be manifested wherever I am today
Let Your will be done not mine
Grant us today our food from You, which is You, both spiritual and physical
and forgive us our wrongdoing as we forgive wrong done to us
And do not test us, but deliver us from all evil, leading us away from temptation
For the kingdom is yours, the power is yours, and all the credit for all of this is yours, not mine
In Jesus wonderful Name Amen.
Use the toolbox for a few days, then write your own version in language that would be helpful to those who listen to you most and send me a copy.