1. Hello, listening friends. We are delighted that you joined us once more.
2. We are glad to tell you that we are beginning a new series of messages on the Lord’s Prayer.
3. Although it is known as the "Lord’s Prayer," it is really the Disciples’ prayer;
4. but we’re going to begin by talking about the power of prayer;
5. and I want to tell you, at the outset, that, probably, there is no time when Satan is more active in your life and mine than in the time of prayer.
6. Satan, of course, is always on the move, planning and scheming to trap the believer who’s not watchful;
7. but Satan moves with the speed of lightning whenever he sees you in prayer.
8. Many people erroneously think that prayer time is a time when Satan leaves you alone.
9. The opposite is true.
10. Whenever you’re getting ready to pray,
11. the phone will ring,
12. or, the doorbell will ring.
13. You will remember things that need to be done.
14. Whenever you’re getting ready to pray,
15. somebody will interrupt you.
17. Because Satan knows that prayer is the secret of your power.
18. If Satan can cut your power supply at the source, he has succeeded in weakening you spiritually.
19. Prayer was the spiritual air that Jesus breathed every moment of His earthly life.
20. He told His Disciples, “I have food of which you know not.”
21. When you pray,
22. you experience the height of what it means to be in the company of God.
23. When you pray,
24. you spiritually breathe, and, thus, you are spiritually alive;
25. but the problem is this:
26. so many of us were taught bad habits of praying,
27. or, the wrong way to pray;
28. and we, often, fall back into those bad habits.
29. Prayer is not to inform God.
30. Prayer is not to persuade God.
31. No, no, no;
32. but prayer is surrender before God.
33. Prayer is obedience to God.
34. Prayer is sincerity before God.
35. Some people try to argue that, if God knows everything, then why do we need to pray?
36. Oh, but God wants to hear us.
37. God wants to commune with us more than we want to commune with Him.
39. Because God’s love for us is greater than our love for Him.
40. To pray rightly is to pray with a pure motive.
41. To pray rightly is to pray for God to manifest His power and glory.
42. To pray rightly is to give God an opportunity to be manifested.
43. Jesus told the Pharisees that thoughtless, repetitious prayer will go nowhere.
44. There are some who will light a candle and think that, as long as a candle is lit, their petitions are continuously coming before the presence of God.
45. That is both mechanical and thoughtless.
46. When you understand that prayer is primarily a joyous, intimate fellowship with God, Himself,
47. then, you can understand how offensive candles and mere repetitious reciting of memorized words are to God.
48. Let me put this in a human perspective.
49. Can you imagine two people in love with each other, but who will talk to each other only if they need something?
50. Can you imagine a relationship between two people developing and growing, but the only way to communicate is to get on the phone and give the other person a list of requests and, then, hang up?
51. Can you imagine what happens to the relationship between a husband and wife who talk to each other only a few minutes a day?
52. But five minutes is how long the average Christian spends in daily prayer,
53. and people often wonder why their prayers are not answered.
54. Often, it is because, not only we don’t pray, but we don’t know how to pray, or, what to pray;
55. and, yet, the Scripture’s full of examples of answered prayer.
56. When Abraham’s servant, Eleazar, prayed, Rebekah appeared.
57. When Jacob wrestled in prayer, Esau’s mind changed from twenty years of plotting revenge to warmth and love and forgiveness.
58. When Moses prayed, powerful Amalek was struck.
59. When Joshua prayed, the sun stood still in its orbit.
60. When barren Hannah prayed, Samuel was born.
61. When Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed, 185,000 Assyrians were decimated in under twelve hours.
62. When Elijah prayed for the rain to stop, a three-year drought came to pass;
63. then, Elijah prayed again and it rained.
64. When you are in close fellowship with God,
65. when you are at peace with God,
66. when you are walking daily with God,
67. not only will you know how to pray, but you will know what to pray.
68. Now, the problem with our attitude toward prayer is this:
69. we love to pray, if it is convenient.
70. We love to pray, if it fits into our busy lifestyle.
71. We love to pray, if it does not conflict with all the important things we do.
72. My listening friends, I want to tell you something of vital importance.
73. God is not impressed by what you do, as much as He’s impressed by your spending time with Him.
74. We miss God’s best when we miss God’s purpose in prayer;
75. and that’s precisely what we will be learning, together, in this series of messages from the Lord’s Prayer.
76. The ultimate purpose in prayer is for God to be glorified.
77. While we are greatly blessed when we pray,
78. nonetheless, the purpose of our prayer should be God, not us.
79. Prayer is God’s opportunity to reveal His goodness and His power.
80. Listen to what Jesus said, in John 14:13:
81. Prayer should be for God’s glory, not just for our needs;
82. and what I’m going to tell you is of vital importance.
83. For a long time, people have been divided on the purpose of prayer.
84. Let me summarize both views.
85. Some people see prayer as simply lining up with God regarding what He has already determined to do.
86. Other people see prayer as asking God to do what He could not do if they did not pray.
87. I don’t want you to misunderstand what I’m going to tell you.
88. The Scripture teaches both views;
89. and we are under obligation to hold both views in tension.
90. The Bible teaches that God is absolutely sovereign;
91. but the Bible, also, unequivocally teaches that God, within His sovereignty, responds to His people when they pray correctly.
92. If you emphasize one way of praying over the other, you will miss out on the blessings of God.
93. To put God in a theological box and say, "This is the way God works. There is no other way," you will not grow spiritually.
94. There are people whose prayer is cold and calculated, because they believe it will not make a difference;
95. then, there are others who think that God is paralyzed without their prayer.
96. All of these attitudes are wrong.
97. All of these ideas are extreme.
98. When the Bible gives us what seems to be two opposite views, we are blessed when we hold both views in tension.
99. We are blessed, when we don’t fight and argue among ourselves over this tension.
100. We are blessed, when we fully trust God’s purpose.
101. We are blessed, when we refuse to over-systematize the Bible,
102. or, try to organize God according to our limited understanding.
103. I’m going to say more about this in the next broadcast, but let me say this much now:
104. when children are small, they often ask their parents for all kinds of things.
105. Do parents give their children everything they ask for?
106. Of course not.
107. We give them, and continue to give them, only what is best for them.
108. If fallen men and women, like us, know how to give good gifts to their children,
109. how much more will the perfect, heavenly Father give His children?
110. God, in His magnificence, knew that, often, we don’t have the wisdom to pray as we ought, or, for what we ought;
111. therefore, God commissioned the Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray.
112. We do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit, Himself, intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.
113. That is why, in Matthew 6:9 to 15, Jesus gave us a succinct, meticulous and comprehensive outline of what true prayer should be.
114. This outline is called, "The Lord's Prayer."
115. It is divided into two sections.
116. The first section deals with God’s glory.
117. The second section deals with our needs;
118. but, even when God meets our needs, God is glorified.
119. In order to focus our attention toward this upcoming series of broadcasts, let me give you a few things to think about.
120. Jesus does not tell us where to pray,
121. except that we are to pray constantly, with our full attention, as He tells us, in Matthew 6:6,
122. in your inner room.
124. He does not suggest any time to pray, although He, Himself, rose early in the morning;
125. but we should pray in every conceivable circumstance.
126. We should pray before meals.
127. We pray after meals.
128. We pray during special circumstances.
129. We pray before meetings.
130. We pray after meetings.
131. Pray getting into a car and pray getting out of a car.
132. We pray in the marketplace, or, wherever we may be.
134. Jesus does not specify any special clothing to wear, or special posture to take, in prayer.
136. Because prayer is to be a way of life.
137. We need to understand how to pray;
138. and that is why Jesus gave this pattern of prayer to His Disciples, which we call, "The Lord's Prayer."
139. Now, there are some people who attach superstitious, or magical, benefits from reciting the Lord's Prayer.
140. That could not be further from the truth.
141. Let me give you several reasons.
143. Jesus said, “Pray, then, in this way….”
144. "In this way" means "along these lines."
145. "In this way" means "in the following manner."
146. "In this way" means "in such a pattern."
148. in Matthew 6:5 to 8, Jesus had just warned His followers not to pray with meaningless repetition;
149. therefore, He could not possibly give us a prayer to recite verbatim without understanding.
151. nowhere in the New Testament do we find an instance of the Lord's Prayer being just repeated by anyone,
152. or, used in repetitious and ritualistic routines.
153. It is fine to recite the Lord's Prayer as part of reciting Scripture.
154. Certainly, it’s fine to memorize it, as we memorize Scripture;
155. but, if we pray it by rote and think that we have prayed, we have missed God’s purpose for prayer.
156. What Jesus wants us to learn is to follow its pattern of praise, adoration, petition and so on.
157. It is a guide for our prayer life, not a substitute for it.
158. Let me repeat, as I’m getting ready to close.
159. The purpose of prayer is God.
160. From beginning to end, the Lord's Prayer has God at the center.
161. Until our next broadcast, when we talk about the fatherhood of God, I wish you God’s richest blessing.