Lesson 8: The Prayer-Filled Life (Part 2)
Written by: Biblical Studies Foundation Posted on: 04/09/2003
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Lesson 8: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; The Prayer-Filled Life ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (Part 2) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Principles of Prayer From Luke 11 ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Introduction ; ; ; It has been rightly said, ô;the secret of all failure is our failure in secret prayer.ö; Not just our failure to pray, but ; ; ; our failure in prayer. In the story of the Pharisee and the publican the Pharisee is one who prayed long and ; ; ; often, but he was a miserable failure. His prayers were never heard by God because neither he nor his prayers ; ; ; were ever right with God. ; ; ; I think it was Oswald Smith who said, ô;when we work, we work, when we pray, God works.ö; Throughout ; ; ; history, the men and women that God has used mightily have been people who knew how to pray and for ; ; ; whom prayer was both a priority and a necessity. As we study the gospels and the training of the disciples by ; ; ; the Lord, we find that prayer is to be a vital part of a discipleæ;s life. For a couple of illustrations compare the ; ; ; following verses: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; John 14:12-13 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; glorified in the Son. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; and it shall be done for you. ; ; ; An electronic concordance quickly shows the importance of prayer in the Word of God. Variations of the ; ; ; word ô;prayö; such as ô;prayerö; and ô;praying,ö; etc., occur 331 times in the NASB, 545 in the KJV, and 375 ; ; ; times in the NIV. The difference in numbers is caused by the fact some Greek and Hebrew words are ; ; ; translated differently in the different translations. For instance, the KJV might use the word ô;prayö; while the ; ; ; NASB or NIV might use ô;ask.ö; ; ; ; Most Bible believing Christians recognize and accept, at least intellectually, the need and importance of prayer. ; ; ; We read books on prayer, we talk about it, we ask for prayer from time to time, but somehow, the church ; ; ; today is anything but a praying church. We may have a few real prayer warriors, but the VISION AND ; ; ; DISCIPLINE of biblical praying as committed disciples of the Lord Jesus has somehow escaped the body of ; ; ; Christ. We talk of its necessity, but too often we fail to accomplish its reality. ; ; ; The disciples had this same experience. They too fell short in their prayer life and they felt it deeply. In this ; ; ; lesson we want to look at Luke 11:1 and the request of the unnamed disciple who was probably asking on ; ; ; behalf of the entire group. Here is a very important passage for learning some of the key issues of prayer that ; ; ; are so crucial to our walk with the Lord and the fulfillment of His purposes. ; ; ; Luke 11:1-4 and the parallel passage in Matthew 6:9-11 is sometimes called the Lordæ;s Prayer, but in reality it ; ; ; is the discipleæ;s prayer, a model prayer teaching them important principles of prayer. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; The Plea of the Disciple ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (11:1) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Luke 11:1 it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ô;Lord, teach us to pray just as John also ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; taught his disciples.ö; ; ; ; The Motivation for the Question ; ; ; The disciples had obviously heard that John had taught His disciples on prayer and they too wanted instruction ; ; ; (11:1). But was there not something more, something much deeper that provoked this request? It was Howard ; ; ; Hendricks who, several years ago in a message at a pastoræ;s conference, called our attention to the fact that if ; ; ; we were to open our Bibles and read starting with Matthew and were to read through John we would never ; ; ; find an instance where the disciples asked, ô;Lord teach us how to witness,ö; or ô;teach us how to perform ; ; ; miracles,ö; or ô;teach us how to teach.ö; But in this passage, we do find one of the disciples asking, ô;Lord, teach ; ; ; us to pray à;ö; Wow! How significant! ; ; ; This was a very wise question, a very needed question, and from these disciples who were sometimes so slow ; ; ; about spiritual values, this question becomes extremely significant. What was the motivation behind this ; ; ; question, and why is this so important? ; ; ; Again, I am reminded of something Professor Howard Hendricks once said. Can you imagine what life with ; ; ; Jesus Christ was like during His ministry on earth? One amazing experience after another! He was forever a ; ; ; source of joy and bewilderment, and I am sure people were constantly trying to explain Him to their own ; ; ; satisfaction with their own kinds of answers. (Cf. Mark 4:41.) ; ; ; For a long time I can imagine they tried to explain Christ with typical human explanationsù;training, IQ, natural ; ; ; abilities, or whatever. At least at first. They regularly saw demonstrations of His power. They both heard His ; ; ; wise words and saw His wonderful works. They saw the lame walk, the blind see, the sick healed, the deaf ; ; ; hear, and the demon possessed dispossessed. Furthermore, they had all experienced the emptiness of the ; ; ; religion of their day and so, through all of this, you know they were watching the Lord and seeking answers to ; ; ; the miracle of His life. ; ; ; As they studied His life one of their conclusions was that He was God incarnate (John 1:14). But is that ; ; ; conclusion what evoked this question? I donæ;t believe so. It was something else they constantly saw in the man ; ; ; Jesus that they began to suspect was part of the answer to His life. What was it? Our immediate response is of ; ; ; course, ô;It was prayer.ö; Right? Not exactly! It was not just prayer. ; ; ; The Pharisees prayed and so did the disciples. It wasnæ;t just prayer; it was the way He prayed in relation to all ; ; ; that He was and all that He did in His life on earth. It was His manner and attitude in prayer that saturated His ; ; ; total being and living, His every step and action, and that manifested the intimacy of His relationship with and ; ; ; dependence on the Father. Prayer was never just a religious responsibility nor exercise Christ engaged in ; ; ; because He was obligated to do so. ; ; ; Then what? Prayer for our Lord proceeded out of a basic attitude of deep dependence that resulted in a very ; ; ; intimate fellowship that He always had with the Father because, from the standpoint of His humanity, He was ; ; ; totally convinced He could do nothing of His own resources. It is this that undoubtedly brought deep ; ; ; conviction and longing in the lives of the disciples. They came to recognize that, while they could be believers in ; ; ; the Lord, they could not be true disciples who became like their teacher (Luke 6:40) unless they learned to ; ; ; pray to the Father like the Lord Jesus in the intimacy and dependency that He constantly demonstrated. ; ; ; Christæ;s Attitude in Prayer ; ; ; This incorporates one of the basic principles that governed the life of the Savior. In John 5:19 Christ said, ô;the ; ; ; Son can do nothing of Himself.ö; Then, in John 8:28-29 and 14:10 He repeated the principle. The principle ; ; ; should be obvious for us. For Jesus Christ, prayer was a way of life, an absolute necessity: it was a means of ; ; ; communion with the Father and the means of bringing the power of God the Father to bear on the humanity of ; ; ; Jesus Christ moment by moment. We see this in Matthew 12:18 and 28. ; ; ; Note that for the most part, it appears the Lord performed His works and spoke His words by the power of ; ; ; God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit whom the Father had given Him. Though God of very ; ; ; God Himself, Jesus generally did not perform His works independently of the Father nor the Spiritæ;s leading ; ; ; (Acts 2:22). It was the Father working through Jesus, the man. ; ; ; As we study the life of Christ in the gospels, we note a consistent pattern: ; ; ; (1) In the midst of a busy schedule, when men were clamoring in their need for His attention, Christ retired to ; ; ; pray and to draw upon the resources of God the Father for He knew that ô;the Son can do nothing of Himselfö; ; ; ; (Mark 1:32-37). ; ; ; (2) When it was time to choose the disciples we donæ;t find Christ reviewing the qualifications of each of the ; ; ; disciples. Rather we find Him retiring to pray. This is clear in Mark 3:13 and Luke 6:12-13. Why? Because ; ; ; ô;the Son can do nothing of Himself.ö; He needed the direction and provision of the Father. ; ; ; (3) When Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus He raised His eyes heavenward in dependence and thanksgiving ; ; ; for what the Father was about to do (John 11:40-42). The actual prayer of Christ is not given, only the fact of ; ; ; His dependence, thanksgiving, and confidence that His prayer had been heard. The words of verses 41 and 42 ; ; ; imply, however, that not only did He pray to the Father, but that He wanted all those standing around to know ; ; ; it as well that they might learn the secret of dependence. This teaches us that when performing miracles, though ; ; ; not always heard by men, Jesus the man was praying in dependence upon the Father from the standpoint of ; ; ; His humanity. ; ; ; (4) When He fed the five thousand. The words ô;and looking up toward heavenö; demonstrate the Lordæ;s ; ; ; prayerful dependence (Mark 6:41). Also, ô;He blessed the foodö; which shows He thanked God the Father for ; ; ; it and for what He, the Father, was about to do through Jesus, the man, a God-dependent, God-approved ; ; ; man. ; ; ; Think of Jesus Christ. He was the Son of God, God incarnate, the perfect man and the absolute Creator God ; ; ; who also as the God-man adequately and continuously fulfilled every expectation of God for man. He was the ; ; ; constant delight and joy of the Fatheræ;s heart. He always pleased the Father. Now, thinking of Him as such, ; ; ; ask yourself this question. How much did He personally, as man, contribute to His mighty works, deeds, and ; ; ; ministry? NOTHING! Christ Himself gives us the answer, ô;à; the father abiding in me does His worksö; (John ; ; ; 14:10). And how did that come about? Through prayerful dependence on the Father! ; ; ; When we work, we work. When we pray, the Father works. So out of this conscious and constant sense of ; ; ; need, there arose a continuing attitude of prayer: a continual expectation in the Lord Jesus that if anything was ; ; ; to be done, the Father must do it both by way of initiative, and wisdom, and power. Now if this was true of ; ; ; Jesus Christ, how much more shouldnæ;t this also be true for us? Indeed, prayer according to the pattern of the ; ; ; Lord Jesus is to be a vital goal of true disciples. ; ; ; The disciples saw in Christæ;s life, not only prayer, but a prayer life which demonstrated a dependency upon ; ; ; and intimacy with the Father unlike anything else they had ever seen and they wanted to know the secret of ; ; ; this. ; ; ; What was the request posed by the unnamed disciple? It was, ô;teach us to pray.ö; Not just how to pray, the ; ; ; MECHANICS, but how in the sense of the MOTIVATION. The how aspect is included by Christ in His ; ; ; answer in Luke 11:2-13. ; ; ; (1) Prayer should demonstrate a total consciousness of our need, a sense of our complete inadequacy along ; ; ; with a sense of Godæ;s complete adequacy and willingness. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; 2 Corinthians 2:16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, ; ; ; (2) Prayer is not overcoming Godæ;s reluctance, but laying hold of Godæ;s ever present willingness. ; ; ; (3) Prayer is not for emergency use only, when we get in a pinch and need someone to bail us out. ; ; ; (4) Prayer is not an ô;Aladdinæ;s Lampö; or a trip to a wishing well for our wants. ; ; ; (5) By contrast, prayer is a means of intimate communion, fellowship, and dependence upon God the Father ; ; ; who has promised to work in and through us through His Son, just as God worked through Him. ; ; ; (6) Prayer is for everyday living, moment by moment. ; ; ; (7) Prayer is a means of claiming Godæ;s promises and knowing and becoming abandoned to Godæ;s will. ; ; ; In John 14:10-14, note the relationship to prayer mentioned in verses 13-14 and the works we, as disciples, ; ; ; are to do in verse 12. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; John 14:10-14 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. 12 Truly, ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 And whatever ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. ; ; ; There is no activity in the life of a believer which does not require a prayerful attitudeù;a prayerful dependence ; ; ; on and an expectation that God is at work and will work according to His purposes and leading. In ourselves ; ; ; we can do nothing. Christianity is living by faith in the Creator God who dwells in us, and prayer is Godæ;s ; ; ; means for us to draw upon Christæ;s miraculous life. Christianity is as Paul expressed it in Galatians 2:20, ô;I ; ; ; have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now ; ; ; live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.ö; Faith for a committed ; ; ; believer is expressed in intimate, prayerful living. ; ; ; In practical terms what exactly does this means? ; ; ; ; ; ; We canæ;t really handle the phone call we are about to make, at least not in Christæ;s power and life, ; ; ; ; ; ; apart from prayer. ; ; ; ; ; ; The lesson we are preparing to teach, we canæ;t do effectively without prayerful dependence. ; ; ; ; ; ; It means that while we usually recognize our need of Godæ;s enablement in things like witnessing, we ; ; ; ; ; ; nevertheless tend to take God for granted and operate in our own abilities in other areas because we ; ; ; ; ; ; think a task doesnæ;t seem too difficult or it is within our area expertise. ; ; ; As an illustration letæ;s look at the miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5:5-11. What was Peter thinking in this ; ; ; passage? Probably something like, ô;Lord, youæ;re a great teacher, youæ;re the Son of God and Messiah, but we ; ; ; can handle this ourselves; we are expert fishermen. We have been fishing these waters for years. Besides, ; ; ; Lord, we fished these waters all night and we know the fish are simply not biting now.ö; But you see, biblical ; ; ; Christianity is living by faith and prayerful dependence upon God and under the power and authority of the ; ; ; Lord Jesus Christ regardless of how things appear to us. ; ; ; Biblical Christianity is never a matter of living by who and what we areù;our insight, our background, our ; ; ; experience, our training, our giftedness, etc. Rather it is a matter of living by faith in Godæ;s Word, biblical ; ; ; insight, and by faith in Jesus Christ, the Creator God and His availability to work through us as we are ; ; ; available and submissive to Him. But such only happens when we live by intimate prayerful dependence upon ; ; ; the Father through a life of prayer, a life of praying without ceasing, and a life devoted to special times of ; ; ; prayer alone with the Father and His Son in the power of the Spirit. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; The Pattern for Prayer (11:2-4) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Luke 11:2-4 And He said to them, ô;When you pray, say: æ;Father, hallowed be ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; And lead us not into temptation.æ;ö; ; ; ; We have observed something of the prayer life of our Lord which undoubtedly was a large part of the ; ; ; motivation behind the request of the unnamed disciple in verse one, ô;Lord, teach us to pray.ö; For our Lord, ; ; ; prayer was the most natural and necessary aspect of His existence. In answer to this request of Luke 11:1, our ; ; ; Lord gave what is popularly known as the Lordæ;s Prayer. In reality, it was the disciplesæ; prayer and provides ; ; ; us with a model or pattern for biblical and effective prayer. ; ; ; This is an excellent passage in teaching new believers about prayer because it covers a number of categories ; ; ; which are important to prayer. ; ; ; Two things this prayer is not: ; ; ; (1) It is not and was never intended to be a ritual prayer to be formally and liturgically recited. It was a model ; ; ; designed by our Lord to show the nature of prayer and what prayer should consist of by way of content. ; ; ; There is nothing wrong, of course, with reading or reciting it together as we would any passage of Scripture for ; ; ; a certain focus or emphasis or as a reminder of truth. I am convinced, however, it was never meant to be ; ; ; simply recited as a prayer to God in place of personal prayer poured out to God from the heart. Compare the ; ; ; translation of the Living Bible: Luke 11:1b reads, ô;Lord, teach us a prayer to recite just as John taught one of ; ; ; his disciples.ö; In a footnote to this verse the translator has added the word ô;Implied.ö; But is it really implied, or ; ; ; is this translation a product of religious tradition that does not have its roots in what this passage was intended ; ; ; to teach? ; ; ; (2) It was never intended to be used as an amulet or special words to protect someone when in danger. ; ; ; Perhaps you have seen films where people were in some kind of danger and they prayed the Lordæ;s Prayer in ; ; ; this fashion. ; ; ; The prayer divides into two sections marked out by the pronouns ô;yourö; and ô;us.ö; ; ; ; ; ; ; The ô;yourö; section points us to God and concerns our relationship with Him regarding His person, ; ; ; ; ; ; character, being, purposes, and activity on earth. ; ; ; ; ; ; The ô;usö; section deals with our needs as they are related to God and His activity and purposes in our ; ; ; ; ; ; lives here on earth. ; ; ; This is no accident. First, we start with God and then we go to ourselves. Here is an important principle in all ; ; ; worship of which prayer is but one mode and means. In prayer, as in everything, our Lord teaches us to put ; ; ; God first. Why? Because this puts everything in the right perspective, it gives us the right viewpoint about life, ; ; ; one that sees beyond our own very limited scope. This is important so that we might genuinely focus our hearts ; ; ; and minds on the who and what of God, that we might seek first the rule and righteousness of God, and that ; ; ; we might walk with Him in obedience and under His enablement, direction, and protection. ; ; ; As a tear magnifies sorrow and as laughter magnifies joy, so prayer (a form of worship wherein we count on ; ; ; the worth of God) must first magnify the Lord if our prayers are to have the proper result in our ; ; ; livesù;confidence, faith, and direction into the will of God. ; ; ; Prayer is a means of entering into the joy and confidence of Godæ;s love, provision, direction, and presence. It ; ; ; is a way to focus on the Who and What of Godù;Godæ;s person, plan, principles, promises, and ; ; ; purposes. This kind of praying glorifies the Lord and demonstrates our desire for relationship with God, along ; ; ; with obedience. It is comforting to our hearts because it brings God into our vision along with His purposes. ; ; ; This first emphasis by our Lord exposes what is often a fatal weakness in our own prayers. We tend to begin ; ; ; with ô;usö; rather than with ô;Your.ö; We rush into Godæ;s presence pleading for ô;ourö; petitions, ô;ourö; needs, ; ; ; ô;ourö; problems and, as a result, we become problem oriented and frantic rather than God oriented and relaxed ; ; ; in His sovereignty (cf. Ps. 46:10, ô;Be still [cease striving] and know that I am Godö;). ; ; ; We need to focus on the Lord first to get the perspective of Jeremiah 32:27. Concerning the fulfillment of ; ; ; Godæ;s covenant promises to Israel and to keep the Prophetæ;s eyes on the Lord, we find this word to the ; ; ; Prophet: ô;the Word of the LORD came to Jeremiah saying, æ;Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is ; ; ; anything to difficult for Me?æ;ö; (Jer. 32:27). ; ; ; We need the praise and focus of God in Psalm 100 before the petitions of Psalm 102. ; ; ; When We Pray: The Time Element (v. 2a) ; ; ; ô;When you pray say.ö; ; ; ; It is significant, I believe, that no commands are given as to time or how often. Why? Because prayer is more ; ; ; than a mere religious routine we go through as it is in some religions in which worshippers recite certain words ; ; ; and bow in a certain direction specified times of the day. Scheduled prayer is certainly scriptural and a godly ; ; ; pattern to have as with Daniel (Dan. 6:10), and David (Ps. 54:16-21), but, as with both David and Daniel, it ; ; ; should always be the response of a heart which desires communion with God and depends on Him in the same ; ; ; way man naturally takes in oxygen through the process of breathing. This is seen in the cry of the Psalmist, ô;As ; ; ; the deer pants (heavy breathing) for the water brooks, So my soul pants for Thee, O Godö; (Ps. 42:1). ; ; ; Two things about this cry of the Psalmist: First, his entreaty expresses our need. We need the Lord and we ; ; ; need to drink from His fountain of life through the Word and prayerù;our means of hearing Him and ; ; ; responding to Him. But second, his entreaty also expresses what should be a recognized reality in each of us. ; ; ; As the Psalmist, we should long to communicate with our God. Prayer is to be an expression of our longing for ; ; ; intimacy with God and to enter into His strength and will. ; ; ; Why We Pray: The Nature of Prayer (v. 2a) ; ; ; ô;When you pray say.ö; ; ; ; ô;Prayö; is the Greek word proseucomai from pros, stressing direction, closeness, and eucomai, ô;to ask, ; ; ; request.ö; The basic meaning of this word (along with its uses) looks at prayer as an avenue of drawing near to ; ; ; God in worship and dependence because we see Him as the all-sufficient one and ourselves as insufficient. ; ; ; Prayer becomes one of the means by which we draw near to the Lord and His sufficiency and submit to Him. ; ; ; ô;Sayö; is the Greek word, legw. It gives prominence to the thought processes in choosing the words spoken ; ; ; because of their meaning. Originally, it meant ô;to pick and chooseö; and this is precisely what we generally do ; ; ; in speech unless we are talking gibberish. Legw reminds us of our need to carefully choose our words as ; ; ; opposed to praying as mere religious rote without careful thought. It should remind us of the conversational ; ; ; nature of our prayer or communication with God. ; ; ; ô;Sayö; is what we call in Greek grammar, a present iterative imperative. As an iterative present it describes an ; ; ; event which is, as a command, to occur repeatedly, over and over again. The idea is when you pray, ; ; ; consistently pray in the following manner or example, but not repetitiously by rote, reciting these words as a ; ; ; mere repeated ritual, the problem Jesus addressed earlier in Matthew 6:7. ; ; ; Reasons why it does not refer to a prayer to be merely recited. ; ; ; (1) Matthew 6:5-7 is a specific warning against praying in a repetitious manner and the warning there is ; ; ; followed by this teaching which gives us a model for prayer. To view this as a prayer to be repetitiously ; ; ; repeated would be in conflict with the previous command. ; ; ; (2) The parallel passage of Matthew 6:9 adds the words ô;in this way.ö; This is the Greek $outws which could ; ; ; very will be rendered, ô;in this mannerö; or ô;after this manner.ö; In other words, what follows is to be taken as a ; ; ; model for prayer, not as a prayer to be memorized and merely recited. ; ; ; (3) In the epistles of the New Testament, this prayer is never repeated though its pattern or principles are ; ; ; basically followed in one way or another. ; ; ; (4) This understanding fits with the warning of Isaiah 29:13 which the Lord quoted against the religious ; ; ; externalism of the Israelites of His day. ; ; ; Prayer is the thoughtful exercise of the heart and the mind through which we seek to draw near to God in ; ; ; worship and dependence on Him because of who He is as our sovereign God and support.
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