Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Life Shape Prayer & Discipleship Module 3 – New Creation Responsibilities Block 11 – Prayer


There is no greater example for the Christian to follow other than the life of Christ. Jesus lived a very open and public life known to all around Him. People from all walks of life, kings and common men, both the young and the old, from the wealthy to the poor, the condemned to the commended, religious men to heretics, the demon possessed, the widow, the tax collector, the Roman guards, the governors, the harlot and the high priest all took note of Him.

People who knew Jesus never doubted His habit and manner of life. They all knew Him to be a man of Word and Prayer. These two elements, more than any others, are essentials in the life of every follower of Christ. On the scale of Christian priorities, the Word and Prayer rank high above every other display of faith: higher even than helping the poor, displaying the power to heal, attending Church or giving of offerings. It is not to say that these other things should ever be forsaken or left unattended, however it is necessary to understand that the daily priority of our Christian faith is to give attendance to the Word of God and prayer. (Acts 6:4)

Perhaps the greatest responsibility we have as Believers in and Followers of Jesus is the New Creation Responsibility of prayer. Every Christian is called to prayer and called to pray. No one provides us a better example to follow than Jesus Himself. Though He is the Only Begotten Son of God, the promised Messiah of the Jews and the undeniable Savior of the world, He continually engaged the Father in prayer.

Whether at His baptism, (Luke 3:21); in the wilderness, (Luke 5:16); before the appointment of the Apostles, (Luke 6:12), where He continued praying all night; whether alone in prayer, (Luke 9:18), or together with others, (Luke 9:28-29), as on the Mount of Transfiguration; in times of loss, (John 11:41-42); in times of anguish, (Luke 22:42); or in times of glory, (John 17), Jesus always led and lived His life with prayer.

Prayer is nothing less and nothing more than talking to God.

Those disciples closest to Jesus observed Him and His daily habits. Hearing His Word and seeing His power they could no longer restrain their desire to be like Him. In this pursuit the disciples asked Jesus for a favor.

 Luke 11:1  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."

In response Jesus repeats to His disciples what He had long before taught the multitudes on the hillside in Galilee. We call this: “The Model Prayer”.

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

The model prayer is not a legal formula for success but rather reveals the heart and the spirit of effective prayer. The model given us by Jesus begins with the clear recognition of God to whom we address all our requests. Furthermore it is essential we submit each request to the overriding will of God who has a greater plan than we can know. Nonetheless we are taught by Jesus to petition our Heavenly Father for our daily needs both physically and spiritually as well as His continued divine leadership and intervention in our lives. Finally our hope in prayer is the sovereignty of our God to whom belongs all glory and power forever and ever, Amen!

Believers in Jesus have a clear spiritual responsibility to cover the earth with prayer. Prayer is a God given priority to every Believer.

Key Scripture: 1 Timothy 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men

The Apostle Paul is writing to Timothy whom he had left in Ephesus to continue the work of building the Church in that city. Here in this letter Paul gives instructions for the carrying on of public worship and encourages a priority be given to the ministry of prayer during Church services. The various types of prayer are also listed which are:
      ·        Supplications – Common individual and corporate needs
      ·        Prayers – Wants; wishes; hopes; desires
      ·        Intercessions – Prayers directed to God for others
      ·        Giving of Thanks
o   Philippians 4:6  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. (New Living Translation)

The passage and exhortation in 1 Timothy 2 continues … supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men …

2  for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4  who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The desire of God is that through earnest and continual prayer for all men, that all men might be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Prayer is big to God! Prayer moves mountains! (Mark 11:22-24) – Even the mountains which are keeping the souls of men from knowing the truth! God is serious about prayer … perhaps it’s time we got serious too …

2 Chronicles 7: 14 If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Important Points
     1.   If we want to be like Jesus, we will pray.
     2.   Prayer is talking to God.
     3.   God cares about our wants as well as our needs.
     4.   Prayer is big to God … Prayer moves mountains!
     5.   If we will, He will!