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Lesson 8: The Prayer-Filled Life (Part 2)


Written by: Biblical Studies Foundation    Posted on: 04/09/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 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

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