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Devotions > God's Instruction for Prayer

30 Apr 2016

The Lord is at work but it seems clear from the Word of God that He would be able to do more if we would ask.    Jesus Instruction concerning prayer in Luke 11 after giving His disciples the pattern for prayer, and the story of the man begging bread from his friend who was in bed, tells us to ask.  In fact He tells us to ask and to seek and to knock.

Unfortunately we primarily look at these verses from the perspective of getting what we want.   While this is not drastically dreadful, if we look at the context we see Jesus teaching that we should first pray for the desires on the heart of God!   Because of our self centered tendencies we gravitate toward our desires first and often never get around to praying for the things that are specifically “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus clearly taught that after we recognize the position of our Father and after we have hallowed His NAME, we are to ask that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.   Why would Jesus so instruct us?  Like many mysteries there does not seem to be a logical explanation for the fact that while God is completely sovereign somehow for purposes known only to Himself He limits Himself to act primarily in response to the faith filled prayers of His people …. even to do His own will!

So we see from the larger context of Jesus’ teaching on prayer that we are to first consider the desires of our Father.    But there is another instruction hidden in plain sight.  It is the frequency of asking for the desires of the Father.   Jesus said “when you pray.”   That should be understood as generally each time we pray that our first consideration as we bring petitions should be for the good and the glory and victory of His kingdom.   That is, as far as we can discern, what His will on earth is.  

Further there is no doubt much loss in prayer by the praying of self centered prayers.   For if every born again believer would consistently pray as Jesus instructed, it seems likely that the need for many personal requests would be eliminated.   A spiritual atmosphere, one that touches and changes everything in our lives, naturally accompanies the faith and obedience of putting God first  and placing His will and His purposes before our own.

We recently had a discussion concerning the fact that God is not a respecter of persons.   And while this is completely true it is also true that God gives grace to the humble, while opposing the proud.   I wonder if it is possible for us to fully understand the significance that our walk with God and our obedience to His Word has on our prayers and His answers.  (James 5:16b)

Could it be that much of the severe deterioration of spiritual values and the spiritual atmosphere of our nation is directly traceable from heaven’s perspective to the failure of saints to walk in the Spirit and to pray specifically for things that build His kingdom?

But how do we determine what is on the heart of God?   It might be helpful to consider how we find out what is on the heart of our best friend or spouse?   Is it not important that we spend time in their presence and when in their presence find appropriate ways to ask them?   And further there is the source of the Word of God where we are given a great deal of instruction concerning the heart and purposes of God.

For example: Leviticus 20:1-2
1  The LORD spoke to Moses,
2  “Tell the Israelites: If Israelites or foreigners living among you give one of their children as a sacrifice to {the god} Molech, they must be put to death. The common people must stone them to death.

2 Kings 16:2-3 (AMP)
2  Ahaz was twenty years old when he began his sixteen-year reign in Jerusalem. He did not do right in the sight of the Lord his God, like David his [forefather].
3  But he walked in the ways of Israel's kings, yes, and made his son pass through the fire [and offered him as a sacrifice], in accord with the abominable [idolatrous] practices of the [heathen] nations whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites.

Today, in our Nation, we have laws that permit the sacrifice of preborn children to the gods of pleasure, and economic freedom.   As a Nation we permit this horrific human sacrifice and have codified it completely legal.   This horrendous practice has become a huge business that brings enormous financial profit to a few who are blind to the guilt and shame that accompanies such darkness and abomination.

Abortion is not the only deep debilitating darkness from our enemy that is attempting to expand its influence in our land.  You can no doubt name several others nearly as dark and devastating.    But the real issue is are we praying and are we praying as God has instructed?

What do you think would be the response from Heaven if every born again believer would take one hour per day to pray exactly as Jesus instructed?   Of course we cannot directly cause this happen, but wecan heed the Word of God and pray.  We can pray for the will of God to be done.  We can pray against the work of the prince of demons.   We can pray for the spiritual and physical protection of our children.   And we can pray for His bride to pray as He has instructed.

I would offer this challenge to you today.   Read carefully the teaching of Jesus concerning prayer in Luke 11:1-13.  Then spend some time going over this passage  Worshiping God and listening to the Spirit as to how He would have you pray for His will to be done.  Then commit to doing everything the Spirit shows you from His word.

jeff williams