From the earliest days of my renewed relationship with the Lord in 1980 I wanted to know how to pray to see results. I began reading books and listening to great teachers, and studying the scriptures regarding prayer.
To me the greatest example of an “apostle of prayer”, other than the Lord Jesus, is Paul who thankfully recorded many of his own prayers. He lived a life of praise and prayer regardless of the circumstances in which he found himself. He didn’t just pray when nothing else seemed to work, he lived out his life as a prayer. What a model.
Paul expressed a heart attitude that has inspired me since my earliest days and it is this: “my circumstances are turning out for the furtherance of the gospel” Philippians 1:12. He expounds upon this view even further in 2 Corinthians 1:6 when he states that whether he is AFFLICTED or COMFORTED it is for the consolation and salvation of others.
If the people of God could simply embrace this view regarding this very temporary life on this earth (again as he states in Philippians 1:12) I believe it could change everything! Embracing this “philosophy” would enable us to shed our “rejection complex”, our fears, our jealousies and fleshly strivings for acceptance and prominence.
There is so much to be learned and experienced in prayer by studying and applying what and how Apostle Paul prayed. He never prayed from a standpoint of fear or uncertainty. He knew in whom he believed and was confident that God was truly able to do exceedingly MORE THAN what he could even ask or think.
His prayer pattern was always one of thanksgiving toward God and for the people in his sphere of influence. His heart was humble and filled with love and faith in all his prayers. I highly recommend studying the prayers for yourself as recorded in the epistles.
Now, I want to share what I have been meditating on this week. I still look for models and patterns in scripture that I can apply in my life.
This is what stood out to me this week. It seems that right now whenever I hear or read something outside of the bible, the highlighted phrase is from the Lord’s prayer.“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
YES! I wholeheartedly agree and often pray it, AND take time to actually reflect on what that means. It is so important to realize what is and is not in heaven and what we are truly asking to manifest on the earth – particularly in our assigned realm, or sphere of influence. (Often we forget that in order to fulfill that prayer there is a process that will also manifest to move us and circumstances toward the desired outcome. Process is not always a “picnic”. We tend to not like that part.)
As I meditated this week upon that passage called the Lord’s prayer, I realized that the prayer primarily does two things. First, it clearly honors the person of our Heavenly Father and His power, rule and Kingdom Dominion.
Secondly, it is basically a pattern of prayer for MY individual daily needs….including provision, protection and pathway.
Well, we must all develop a deeper prayer life than just praying for our own “survival” and blessings.
So, I then spent time in meditation on the prayer of Jesus that is recorded in John 17. Jesus is our high priest and lives to make intercession for us. Did you know that in this prayer record there is no request made by Jesus specifically for the “lost”? Rather the requests that He makes to the Father are for His disciples and those who will later believe through their life and testimony.
(I am not suggesting that we not pray for the lost, unbelieving or backslidden individuals, or nations or governments. Certainly we are instructed to pray for EVERYONE and for those who are in authority so that we can live quiet, peaceable, godly and reverent lives. 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
I am suggesting that there is a prayer pattern revealed in John 17, given by our Lord, that we can implement to deepen our prayer life for those that God has given to us. Those He has given to us may include our family, our friends our co-workers, or individuals we have frequent ministry interaction with.
Ten things in this prayer stand out to me which I will list, but not discuss right now. Holy Sprit may ignite something in your heart to study this passage to see what He will reveal to you.
Remember, Jesus prayed to the Father for those that He, the Father, had given to Him, Jesus.
Here are the things which Jesus prayed that were highlighted to me:
- That the Father would keep them.
- That they would be one.
- That they would have the joy of Jesus in them.
- That they would be kept from the evil one.
- That they would be sanctified.
- That they would be sent into the world as He (Jesus) was.
- That they would be where He is.
- That they would behold His glory.
- That those who would believe through the words of the disciples would also be one.
- That these all would experience and know that the Father loves them even with the same love that He loves Jesus**** ******This last one is deep, profound, and deserving of much reflection, meditation and prayer.
May God Bless you as you reflect and delve deeper into a lifestyle of prayer