Communication is the building block for any relationships, certainly the believer’s with God as ‘Father’. Prayer is two-way communication. Normally when we read God’s Word he speaks to us and we talk to God in prayer. We won’t find the time to pray, we must make and take time to be holy and talk oft with our God. Jesus taught his followers to, “Ask, and to keep on Asking!”
1. ASK: Jesus’ on “Asking”… (Matthew 6:5-8)
Prayer is proportionate to spiritual power! Jesus in fine Jewish tradition stressed the need for and demonstrated what asking God is all about. He wanted us always to pray and not faint (Luke 8:1; 18:1). Yet, Jesus questioned pharisaical motives in saying prayers and condemned pagan methods of meaningless babblings directed to impress people rather then get through to God! James (4:2-3) notes that believers have not because we ask not and how often we ask and do not receive because we ask with selfish motives, not according to God’s will. Jesus taught his followers how to pray and understood this exercise as a means of [divine] grace where God’s Spirit enables us to do his will and develop our relationship with our Father!
2. WHY ASK? The (Lord’s) Disciple’s Prayer:
Christian prayer is not primarily about giving God our wish list or downloading personal needs. Yet asking is essential and there is ample motivation for believers to do so. First, our association with God as “our Father” a way no other religion dares to address God! (Rom. 8:15) This endearing title encourages us as children of Abba God to share our heart’s desires with him. Yet we must keep in mind that he knows our need (and greed) even before we ask (6:8)! Second, we have “free access” to his throne of grace because of Jesus our High Priest! (Heb. 4:16). Third, when we don’t know what to say we have the assistance of the Spirit to ask according to his will. We must be careful to cultivate intimacy and not take this awesome freedom for granted!
3. WHAT to ASK? – Sharing our needs with God:
Notice in the way that Jesus taught us to pray, the first three petitions concern God: his name, his kingdom and his will (6:9-10). The second set of three requests flow out of this and are about our human needs, for: Food – Literally like manna, we need God’s day-by-day providence. Again we remember that our heavenly father knows and will give his children only good gifts, richly to enjoy. Second, Forgiveness – We are prone to wander from God and fall into sin. This affects not only our relationship and ability to share with a holy [hallowed] Father God but the way we treat others! A debtor is someone who has offended another and owes them mercy, not just money. Third, for the Future guidance – Thus we commit ourselves and whatever lies ahead to sovereign God who does not tempt us (Satan does) but leads us in right paths and keeps us from falling!
What a Father we have in heaven! What a Friend we have in Jesus! What a Future we have in the Spirit. So, pray when you feel like it, when you don’t feel like it and until you feel like it!