Teach Us to Pray
“It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples”” Luke 11:1 NASB (EMPHASIS ADDED).
Jesus was a man of prayer. As His fame spread among the population, He had to rise early in order to pray before the people came for healing. “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16, NKJV). (See Mark 1:35) The disciples wanted to know how He prayed because they constantly witnessed the evidence of Jesus’ prayer life in His teachings and in His healing ministry. Although, Jewish traditions were filled with prayers, the disciples had never seen in any of the members of the Jewish religious sects the magnitude of power that Jesus commanded.
Jesus’ closest associates knew Him to be a willing teacher, so one of them simply asked, “Teach us how to pray.”
This question engendered more than asking for mere words to repeat; that is what they had been doing for hundreds of years. They wanted to know how He prayed, how He approached the Lord God in the right way so as not to incur His wrath. (See Exodus 32:10-12; Numbers 18:5; Deuteronomy 9:7-8) It is apparent from the above scripture that John the Baptist had taught his followers the manner in which he prayed.
Since many of Jesus’ disciples had formerly followed John, they requested that Jesus do the same for them. (See John 1:35-42) They had observed His daily habit of seeking private times of prayer with the Lord God even after ministering to the people for most of the day.
They realized that He made this a priority even if it meant losing sleep. “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12, NKJV).
The disciples instinctively knew that there was something different about the way Jesus prayed. He taught with an authority unmatched in the history of Judaism. “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29, NKJV).
God as Father
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” Matthew 6:5-8, NKJV (EMPHASIS ADDED)
Jesus revealed that the posture of effective prayer is one of a humble heart that seeks the Lord God as Father. The pray-er is instructed to shut himself away so that his total focus is on the Father. This simple act demonstrates that nothing else is more important to him than his time with the Father. Jesus often went into the wilderness or up into the mountains to find a place of solitude for His time of intimate communion with the Father. The secret place has always been open to the one who seeks Father-God. In fact, King David sang about this secret place hundreds of years before Jesus spoke these words of instruction to His disciples.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. … “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” Psalm 91:1-4, 14-15, NKJV
The Fatherhood of the Lord God was a new teaching that divulged a deeper revelation of the nature of the Almighty God that could only be made known by the True Son of God. “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27, NKJV).
The pray-er is instructed to speak to the Father as a son would speak to his loving natural father using simple words and even terms of endearment. He is not to act like the heathen who speaks repetitive prayers to stone idols hoping to be heard. But he is to address his loving Father-God, the One True Living God, with concise words concerning what is on his heart. Like any relationship between a father and a child, the child comes to fellowship with his father and to seek help and guidance in the affairs of life.
Thy Kingdom Come
In this manner, therefore, pray:
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV (EMPHASIS ADDED).
These verses of Scripture, commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer,” are familiar to all Christian denominations and even to the unsaved world. Today, when this prayer is prayed the main focus is usually on the petitions concerning the pray-er’s daily needs, forgiveness of his transgressions, deliverance from temptations and from the works of the evil one. However, the very first item that the Lord lists after addressing Father-God and recognizing His holiness is to call for the Kingdom of God to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
After forty days of being tested, tried, and tempted in the wilderness, the Lord Jesus came forth to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. (See Matthew 4:17) The advent of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth was another “new” revelation that Jesus introduced in His ministry. Although Satan had rule over all the kingdoms of the world because Adam had ceded his dominion to the evil one, Jesus instructed His disciples to pray that the Father’s Kingdom would come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (See Matthew 4:8).
This prayer represented a paradigm shift in mankind’s relationship to God. No longer was man to view the Lord God as the One Who sent fire from heaven and must be feared from a distance, but He was to be revered as the Loving Father-God. No longer was mankind to be hopelessly afflicted by the age of darkness which descended upon the earth at the fall of man, but he was to pray to his Father-God that His Kingdom and His will would be manifested in the earth.
Jesus demonstrated what the manifestation of the Kingdom of Heaven looked like in His daily life and ministry. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23, NKJV). The major teachings of Jesus are revealed in the Sermon on the Mount which is filled with revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Here are a few examples.)
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. … God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. … So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 5:3, 10, 19, NLT.
The Lord brought forth the revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven in a personal way. It was not introduced as a far off country unattainable in this life, but as the “now” manifestation of the Father’s will on earth as it is in heaven. “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you’” (Luke 17:20-21, NKJV). Jesus came to liberate mankind from the darkness of the rule of Satan over the earth. (See Luke 4:18-21) Through His life, death, Resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus ushered into the earth the manifested presence of the Kingdom of Heaven. He commissioned His followers to go forth in His authority to continue the work He started.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV.
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21, KJV.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32, NKJV.
It is time we realize that Jesus gave His followers this prayer to verify their right to call forth the Kingdom of Heaven into their daily lives. This does not mean just for the external situations surrounding us, but it also includes the internal condition of our spirits, souls, and bodies. The benefits of salvation are for our entire being. The physical body is the earth-suit within which the spirit and soul reside. It is a vital part of our triune being.
Therefore, if the Kingdom of God is within us, it must be resident in our entire being which includes the physical body. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). [Sanctify: means to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use; to consecrate. Wholly means to the full or entire extent: completely.]
Therefore, if the Kingdom of God dwells wholly within us and we are set apart for His sacred service, then it has to be manifested in our physical bodies, too. In the Kingdom of God there is no lack but abundance; there is no darkness but light; there is no sickness or disease but divine health and healing. This is what the Lord’s Prayer tells believers to call forth into the earth: into their earthen vessels. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7, NKJV (emphasis added)).
Now we can pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in my spirit, soul, and body as it is in heaven to bring glory to You, Father, through the Son by the power of the Spirit and the Blood.” Now we can declare that our own physical body is set apart unto the service of the Lord. Now we can assert that we have been delivered from the power of darkness: spirit, soul, and body. Now we can rise up as overcomers through Jesus Christ, Who lives in us. Now we can proclaim we are no longer victims but we are more than conquerors in Him. Now we can declare that sickness and disease have no place in us.
Now is the day of liberty and deliverance from all of the oppression of the evil one. Dare to stand up and declare, “His Kingdom has come in full power and manifestation into my spirit, soul, and body and there is no weapon formed against me that can prosper.”
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” Luke 12:32, NKJV.
~ Mary B. Dovie
“In God We Trust”
|Mary B. Dovie is an ordained minister of the Gospel under the covering of Joy Christian Church and Gideon Christian Fellowship in New Orleans, Louisiana. She operates under a prophetic and teaching anointing. Mary is married to her high school sweetheart, Paul; they live in Theodore, Alabama. Their family includes son Anthony, who serves in the US Army, as well as their son Matthew, his wife, Jennifer, and daughters, Amelia and Stella.|