Worship Workshop Session 3:
Worship Deeper by Meeting With God In Prayer
Taught by the Teacher Luke 11:1-4
Luke 11:1. And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
Have you ever placed yourself among the disciples that asked this question? What an opportunity, to ask Jesus the best way to pray! If anyone would know how to reach the Father it would be the only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
We were not there in person to ask the Master to teach us to pray but thanks to the Holy Spirit's work through Luke and the other gospel writers we can still learn the same lessons about prayer Jesus taught his first disciples. And there is nothing lost in the translation, either, God's word is as pure and right in the Bible you hold as it was in the ears of those who listened to Him almost 2000 years ago.
So, are you willing to learn from Jesus Himself? Are you willing to listen with an open mind and open heart as the Holy Spirit reshapes our conceptions of prayer and deepens the relationship between God and his people through prayer? Then let’s start with the platform
Platform for Prayer
Luke 11:2-4 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Let's begin by looking at the model for prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples. Technically, this is not the Lord's prayer. He did not pray it to His Father. The Lord's Prayer is really found in John 17 and several other places where Jesus prayed as he did in the Garden of Gethsemane or before a meal. This prayer is really a platform or framework upon which we should build our own personal prayers. It is very simple in construction, as any framework should be. It leaves room for us to raise up our own edifices of prayer in which we meet with God.
Relation: To the Father from His Child
Our Father which art in heaven
Look at the beginning of the
prayer. What is the first thing you
notice, Who is the prayer to? The prayer
is to Our Father in Heaven. Jesus used a
child's word for father, equivalent to our "daddy" it is the same
word used in Romans 8:15
What does this tell us about the
relationship of those who pray? They
must be children of God, they must be saved.
It also tells us that in prayer we are to understand God as our “Abba”
Father, a very personal, intimate relationship.
How do you think of God when you approach Him in Prayer?
Do your prayers reflect that understanding or do they sound distant or routine?
Would you talk to your earthly father in the same way you pray to your Heavenly Father?
Would you use the same words, same tone, same order, same beginning same ending etc.
What are some ways in which my prayers should change and deepen along with my understanding of God as my Father? I would spend more, not less time in prayer. I would grow in respect for Him as I realize how much He loves me and blesses me. I would talk to him more readily, sooner, quicker, rather than wait until I have to.
Adoration: Praise before Petition
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
The next phrase brings us another portion of the platform upon which to build, yet it is often the most undeveloped part of modern prayer.
Jesus told them to say, "Hallowed be Thy name." What does this mean? Is it just a phrase which we repeat in order to make sure our prayer is going to be heard? No, it is part of the model upon which our own prayers are to be erected.
The word "Hallowed" is the verb form of the word holy. In the case of the model prayer is an acknowledgment of the holiness, the sanctity of God's name and thereby God Himself. The phrase in this abbreviated model is a place for worship and praise to the One we are praying to.
In our real prayers this room is
often absent or very empty. We are so programmed to ask things from God in
prayer that we neglect time spent with God in prayer. To praise God during our prayer is to honor
Him, commune with Him, and render to Him what is due as the Creator of the
Universe and the only one who can intervene in time and space to help us.
Let's look at some examples of
prayers from the great men of the Bible and mark how their prayers begin with
praise and worship.
David in Psalm 86 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.
Daniel in Daniel 9:4-7 O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee,
Peter and the early church in Acts
4:24-30 Lord, thou art God, which hast
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the
mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people
imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were
gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a
truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and
Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered
together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before
to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy
servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth
thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy
holy child Jesus.
In these examples you can see that
those praying had a deep reverence and appreciation for the High and Holy one
they approached in prayer. They
understood what Psalms 100 tells each of us what we should do as we approach
God. This was a pilgrim psalms sung as the Jewish pilgrims would come to the
Temple for Passover. A Choir within the walls would sing as the pilgrims
Psalm 100:1-5 Make a joyful noise
unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before
his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that
hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his
pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with
praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
If prayer is coming into God’s presence, bowing before His throne of mercy and grace, then it must be preceded with praise. One day when we truly stand in the presence of God in heaven praise will pour from us as the only proper thing in His presence. May we understand that truth in our prayers today.
Submission: to God's Rule and Will
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
The next part of the model prayer deals with submission. Jesus constructed it in two sections, God's Kingdom and God's Will.
"Thy kingdom come" had a very real and obvious meaning to the disciples of Jesus. The prophets had promised a kingdom of God ruled by the Messiah. God's kingdom was first and foremost that promised kingdom. It was not established yet or Jesus would not have told them to pray for it to come. It was however, on it's way and would someday be established over all the earth with Jesus Christ as King. This petition would fill the Roman dominated Israelite with hope as he endured the rule of another.
For us this is both petition for a future reality and a present attitude. When I pray is there a place in my prayer for the return of Jesus to establish his kingdom? Is there an attitude of hope which permeates my prayer because I look for this to happen? Do I realize that no matter how difficult it may be now, under the rule of Satan in this world, that someday Jesus will reign and all will be right?
In a nursing home ministry I once led, I was talking to the residents after one of our services. One dear lady asked me, "Do you believe Jesus is coming again?" I told her I certainly did. She smiled very widely as if to say that was the only thing that kept her going. She then said, "Keep looking up, young man. Keep looking up!" To me it was more than just the place I would look for Jesus to come in the clouds. It was also the attitude I would have if I really believed and prayed for my Lord to return. How could I be anything but "up?"
Next Jesus told the disciples to pray, "Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." In heaven is the qualifying statement for describing how God's will was to be done. In heaven God's will is carried out instantaneously by uncountable armies of angels. Angels aren't earthly creatures so who is to do God's will here? We are. His Servants.
If I add this room to my prayers, how
will it change my prayers? How will it
change my life? To honestly and
completely yield myself to God's will is to remove any right of ownership to
myself, my future or any possession. To
pray this is to make my words a vow of personal servitude in the ministry of
God. Every prayer then becomes a
surrender of my own desires to God's desires for me.
The Dedication of Jonathan Edwards, leader of the 1st Great Awakening.
I claim no right to myself- no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members-no right to this tongue, to these hand, feet, ears or eyes.
I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own. I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him. I have given Him every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace
I will not fail. I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness, His law is the rule of my obedience. I will fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life. I will adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be.
I receive the blessed Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cherish all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort and assist me. This I have done.
I pray God, for the sake of others, to look upon this as a self-dedication, and receive me as His own. Henceforth, I am not to act in any respect as my own. I shall act as my own if I ever make use of any of my powers to do anything that is not to the glory of God, or to fail to make the glorifying of Him my whole and entire business.
If I murmur in the least at afflictions: if I am in any way uncharitable: if I revenge my own case: if I do anything purely to please myself, or omit anything because it is a great denial: if I trust to myself: if I take any praise for any good which Christ does by me: or if I am in any way proud, I shall act as my own and not God's. I purpose to be absolutely His. -Jonathan Edwards.
Recognition: Of God’s Power in Life
Give us day by day our daily bread.
The next phrase asks God for daily bread. Certainly this looks to our food which ultimately comes from God, but within the framework of this model prayer it goes much further.
Bread was the "staff of life." It was the most important part of the middle eastern diet. Meat, fresh vegetable and fruit were luxuries at most tables, but bread meant they would not starve. "Daily bread" is that bread which is necessary to sustain our lives today. It means we stand upon the promises of God to care for his children and provide for their needs. It does not presume upon tomorrow except to believe that God will as always provide for us once we are there. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says, "The Greek is concise and graphic, 'Keep giving to us our daily allotment'."
This room, in the building of my
house of prayer, is more than the simple idea of "daily bread." It is
an affirmation of God's promise for the necessities of life. It is praying from faith not want. It is
recognizing that it is God who must supply life itself to me.
Look at the following verses in which
the first daily bread was given by God to his people of the Exodus.
Exodus 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
What was the lesson of the manna to the Israelites? It showed God's provision yet it also showed the people's need of faith. God only would provide enough for the day. They had to trust him for tomorrow's provision.
What is the lesson of the manna to us? The daily bread is an object lesson in God's care for us. The greatest thing isn't the bread but learning to trust God.
Reconciliation: Repentance toward God and Forgiveness of Others
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
Now Jesus instructs that each prayer should have a place in which forgiveness is asked from God and because of that forgiveness we also forgive those who have sinned against us.
Very few prayers omit asking for
forgiveness but we often neglect to grant that forgiveness to others. It should be noted that forgiveness is given
by God based upon what Jesus has done for us. No work or righteousness which we
do can have redeeming merit from God.
Yet we must not ignore the fact that these two acts of forgiveness are
tied together. It should seem impossible
to us who have been forgiven all our sin through Jesus Christ, to be unable to
forgive someone else a slight or and offense.
The Forgiveness Parable: Read the following parable told by Christ.
Matthew 18:23-35 Therefore is the
kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his
servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him,
which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay,
his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he
had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and
worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him,
and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of
his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him,
and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his
fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience
with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him
into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw
what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that
was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O
thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as
I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the
tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise
shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not
every one his brother their trespasses.
What is the lesson to be learned from this parable? We who have been forgiven a debt against God which we could never repay, should be grateful and willing to forgive those who have sinned against us. To not do so is to mock and count as nothing the much greater forgiveness we have already received.
The forgiveness of our unbelief against God, is not conditional upon anything except the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and my accepting His death on my behalf. Continued forgiveness from God after I have experience the new birth of salvation may be hindered if I cannot forgive those around me. It is absurd to harbor feelings of resentment and bitterness toward another when God, who has every right to send me to hell for all eternity, willing forgave me and made me his child. What offense against me could be greater than my rebellion against God which caused His own Son to die on the cross?
In practice, the fact that I will not forgive someone keeps me from going to God in prayer. I do not wish to be reminded by the Holy Spirit while in the presence of God that I am asking for forgiveness while refusing to grant it to someone else.
Humiliation: a Cry for Deliverance
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
The final phrase which the disciples were instructed to pray dealt with temptation and deliverance from that temptation. The word temptation can mean both temptation to sin and a test. Indeed a temptation to sin is a test of a moral kind. Jesus is not however saying that God tempts man to sin.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James makes it very plain that God does not tempt in the way Satan tempts.
The model prayer expresses an attitude, it began in petitioning God for His kingdom to come and proceeds with our submission to his will. Now within that submission to whatever God brings into our life, we turn to the One into whose hand our entire being has been given and ask Him to remember that we are human and dependent upon Him.
Lord, Keep us from temptation, protect us in the midst of trials, for we are weak, easily swayed and in our own power easily defeated.
This room in the prayer is one of humility which is entered from the previous room of submission to God. In submission, we show our willingness to accept whatever God’s will is in our life, in humiliation we confess we need God’s protection and strength to succeed in that submission.
I believe Paul is operating in this attitude when he wrote
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
What is the way of escape? I believe Jesus gave us the answer.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Without humility my prayer is only a sham. I must recognize that I am incapable of anything unless God intervenes to keep me from evil. Humility is not weakness, it fact true humility is the key to real strength. For God's strength is not given to the proud but only to the lowly. Real strength is mine only when I realize how weak I really am.