Take the time to praise and glorify Him for His goodness, mercy, and grace. He already knows what you are going to say concerning your needs.
By Dr. Donald Whitchard
“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘LORD, teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples.’ So, He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On Earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
- Luke 11:1-4 (NKJV)
What does Scripture in its entirety say to us about the privilege the Sovereign LORD gives to us in that we can come to Him and have, in essence, a conversation with Him at any time and in any place? How much time do we waste in not coming to Him with a need, a problem, a time of gratitude, or that of sorrow and grief? How long has it been since you have spoken with Him? I would hope that this lesson would reignite your desire to commune with Him, and if you are not a believer, it is my desire that in reading this lesson, that your mind and heart would be open to casting your doubts and attitude aside and be honest with Him. He’s big enough to take it and He will hear you out, but realize that in talking to the Creator of the Universe and the redeemer of your soul, you’ll have to come to grips with the fact that you will have to submit to His direction and guidance from that moment on. Are you ready?
Prayer can be quick and sometimes hurried (Luke 23:42). It can be done in secret (Matt.6:6), or together as a family (Acts 10:2, 30). You can be part of a group come together to pray for each other and for God’s direction (Matt. 18:20). We pray together as part of the church fellowship (1 Cor. 14:14-17) when we meet regularly.
For a lot of people, especially new believers, prayer can be something they find formidable and often difficult. After all, how do you approach the God of the universe? There have been a lot of teachers and preachers who tell us that we come to God as we would a friend, or with an attitude of reverence and dread due to His holy nature, or just as we are in need of refining and maturity in our development as followers of Christ. All these approaches are good and are worthy of study. One pattern that I believe would be of help and one that I find is probably the easiest to use is to first approach the LORD in an attitude of adoration (Daniel 4:34-35). Take the time to praise and glorify Him for His goodness, mercy, and grace. He already knows what you are going to say concerning your needs or other concerns. Take the time to bask in His presence and try not to hurry through anything.
After a time of adoration, spend time confessing your sins and feelings to the LORD. He made you, knows how you operate, and nothing surprises or shocks Him in terms of the mistakes you make or the sins you commit (Romans 3:23). I heard a preacher say one time that you do not get cleaned up to take a bath, and you do not try to make things right in your own abilities before approaching God. He is the One who has cleansed you through the sinless blood of Jesus Christ, who will continue to forgive and renew you when you do fall into sin (1 John 1:9). When you have taken the time to honestly confess all wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness and renewal, then take the time to ask Him for your needs, for counsel, and to intercede for your brethren, the lost, your family and friends, and those in authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-5). Take time to thank Him for all that He has provided you and know that He is always there, ready to hear from you. This pattern presented above is in line with the model prayer given by the Lord Jesus in verse 1-4. In studying the LORD’s presentation, I want to share with you some insights that I believe will be of benefit to you as you either learn to pray or improve your prayer life.
The model prayer is founded upon the holiness of God (v.2a). Our holy, reverent, almighty Creator loves us as a Father loves His own. He is to be revered, respected, and rightfully given worship because He is righteous and wonderful (Isaiah 6:1-8). His kingdom will be established here on earth as well as heaven because of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus.
This prayer shows that we are to be subject to the will of the LORD and what pleases Him (2b). One of the top questions asked by Christians is that of the will of God for their lives. In my years as a pastor and teacher, I have studied this topic and the answer is quite simple:
- He wants you to be saved from sin (Romans 10:9-10)
- He wants you to live a godly life (John 17:17-19)
- He wants you to serve Him (1 John 3:22)
- He wants you to look to Jesus as the example of obedience and commitment (Luke 22:42)
This prayer shows that our Father can supply our needs (v.3). Look at what Jesus did with the loaves and fishes in feeding the people (9:10-11). He evens tells us not to worry about our needs (Matt.6:25-33; Phil. 4:19). He is not going to run short of supplies or ration anything or run to the store to pick up extras. He has all things under His control and at His command, despite what you see going on around the world
This prayer demands forgiveness by us and demonstrates forgiveness from the Father (v.4a). Forgiveness is to be done before the LORD will hear you (Mark 11:25). It is to be continual (Luke 17:4) and is the prime characteristic of a child of God (Eph.4:32). Jesus demonstrated forgiveness while suffering on the cross (Luke 23;24) and undergoing humiliation, derision, blasphemous comments, and horrid pain, both physical and spiritual. This is God in the flesh dying for our sins so that we could have fellowship with the Father eternally, free from sin and pain and with the joys of heaven before us. Just remember this if nothing else. He did not have to do it. This was an act of love that is incomprehensible, so who are you to dismiss or demean it?
The final portion of this prayer tells us that the devil is a conquered and defeated enemy. Even with his minions and human followers doing unspeakable things, is doing nothing more than throwing a cosmic temper tantrum, which will end when they are all banished to the eternal Lake of Fire at the great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:1-15) and forever declare that Jesus is Lord, as well as their Judge (Phil. 2:9-11). We will never see or hear from them again. The memory of our lost family and friends will be taken away from us as we are comforted by the LORD (Rev. 21:4). We will be with our redeemed loved ones and the Lord Jesus forever in the new heaven and earth. That day is approaching (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10, 19:11-21). If you are not sure where you stand with the LORD, I implore you to get that settled today (2 Cor. 6:2). Ask Him to forgive and save you now, and when we gather around His throne, we will see Him face to face and have all eternity to talk with Him. It is going to be great.
Don was born and raised in the true Cajun Country of Louisiana. He holds a Bachelors Degree in History from Louisiana College, a Masters Degree in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Theology from Andersonville Baptist Seminary in Georgia. Don has served as a pastor, interim pastor, high school teacher, and hospital chaplain over the past thirty years. He currently serves as a volunteer chaplain (2008-present) with St. Francis Hospital and also served as the pastor/teacher from 2013-2016 at the Gospel Rescue Mission, both of which are here in Muskogee. He was called to Meadowbrook in February 0f 2017 and began his ministry in March of that year. He has also served as President of the Muskogee Baptist Association’s Pastors Conference, which is a weekly meeting that presents speakers and ministry ideas and concepts to church leaders in the greater Muskogee area.
Don’s top priority is to see that the good news of Jesus Christ is shared with our lost and hurting world and that the people of God are taught sound doctrine and preparation for our Lord’s soon return.