We find ourselves repeating with the disciples, “Lord teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1) It is interesting to note, that their desire was heightened by Jesus’ own prayer life, “… as he was praying … one of his disciples said unto Him …”
Let me begin by giving you some basic principles of prayer.
1. God knows what we need. Matt. 6:8
Prayer is not convincing God of the need. Prayer is often God making us understand the need. God often changes our prayer as we more fully understand the true need.
2. Prayer is God’s ordained way of receiving from Him. James 4:2-3
God has decided that some things will not be received because we do not ask. The reason goes back to God changing our prayer as we pray. Often our prayer changes because we change. (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
3. We are to seek God’s will about the need and pray according to His will. 1 John 5:14-15
This is the same as praying in Jesus’ name – praying the same prayer that Jesus would pray.
It is important that we understand that Biblical praying accomplishes two great purposes. First, it allows us to receive answers from God that we would not get otherwise. Second, prayer changes the one praying.
Our prayers are not answered because we are praying amiss (James 4:3). The error in our praying reveals the corresponding error in our own hearts. As we repent of that error, both our hearts and our prayers change. The goal is to have right prayers from a right heart so God can rightly answer those prayers.
Once we understand this concept behind praying, we can better understand the lessons from Jesus’ pattern for prayer that is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. That pattern is what we will look at next time.