The Lord's Prayer
By David J. Stewart
Luke 11:1, “...Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray. They didn't say “teach us to preach.” They didn't say, “teach us to teach.” They didn't say, “teach us to win souls.” No, they said, “Lord, teach us to PRAY.” Nothing means anything if God's Spirit is not involved. Failure to pray is sinful pride and arrogance.
What's even more interesting to me is the shortness of the Lord's Prayer. It's simple, not complicated and sincere words that could be prayed in under 5 minutes appropriately. The Lord wasn't just teaching His personal disciples how to pray, but all disciples for all time.
In fact, it isn't really “The Lord's Prayer,” because in the prayer Jesus says to pray, “forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4). The Lord never sinned (1st Peter 2:22; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). It is really “THE DISCIPLE'S PRAYER.” Jesus was giving us an example to follow, a general outline. Albeit, I will call it “The Lord's Prayer” to avoid confusion since that's what everyone calls it. It's not wrong to call it the Lord's Prayer, but I wanted you to know that Jesus was teaching us how to pray. It is our prayer.
One of the most silly things I've seen is Catholics praying one-for-word The Lord's Prayer. I once saw a comedy with Steve Martin where he tells a crowd of people to “walk this way.” He walked with a limp due to a disability, so everyone following him also walked with a limp. When he said “walk this way,” Steve Martin meant to follow him, not walk with a limp.
Likewise, when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He didn't mean to repeat His Words in a lifeless recital of an empty religious chant. Catholics are notorious for dead chants, religious recitals and vain traditions. Matthew 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” This is evidence that the Lord did not intend for us to pray long prayers to please God. You can pray a sincere prayer, following the general guideline of the Lord's Prayer, just spending a few minutes each day.
What happens to newer Christians is that they are told by the preacher to pray. So they pray and repeat everything on their list (maybe it's just a mental list). Day after day passes and it becomes so mundane that they quit praying, because they don't see any answers to prayer. To avoid this, just pray for a short time each day as THE LORD TAUGHT in Matthew 6:7. Jesus said the heathens think they'll be heard for their much speaking. What's important is that you simply pray. If you don't pray, then you are sinfully proud and arrogant. God resists the proud. James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
If we don't pray, then we're saying that we don't need God and can make it without His help. We need God's help. Hebrews 4:15-16 teaches for Christians to approach God's throne of grace to obtain mercy to FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED. Amen! I don't know about you friend, but I'm in a time of need every moment of every day!!!
When God Doesn't Answer
I've heard so many people testify that God does not seem to answer their prayers. So the natural response is for Bible students and preachers who don't know any better to start quoting Scriptures why God doesn't hear you. It must be because you're praying to consume it upon your own lusts (James 4:3). It must be because you're fighting at home with your spouse (1st Peter 3:7). These are certainly potential causes of unanswered prayer. However, what if you're right with God and doing your best and it still seems like God is not listening?
King David was frustrated that God wasn't answering. David felt like God had gone to sleep...
Psalms 44:23, “Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.”
Lost your home? Lost your job? Is everything in your life coming apart? Gideon was frustrated that the Midianites were afflicting the Israelites. Gideon cried out... where are all miracles of God that we heard of in the Bible? ..
Judges 6:13, “And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Here's the reason why all those bad things were happening...
Judges 6:1, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.”
America has sinned. We've murdered over 51,000,000 babies by abortion. Same-sex is now legal in new York as of July 2011. Pornography is the law of the land. We are a wicked nation... SIN NATION! This is why our country is being sold into economic slavery. God has given us over to our enemies... THE GLOBALISTS!!! Gideon didn't understand, just as you may not have not until now. America has sinned against the Lord.
The Jews in Egypt were enslaved for 400 years after Joseph died. God raised up Moses to deliver the Jews out of bondage so that they could serve God. Please consider that for 400 years (some say 430 years) the Jews couldn't serve God freely. Most of those slaves were born and died in slavery, not understanding why such evil had befallen God's people. It's not that hard to figure out...
Anne Graham (Billy Graham's daughter) gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She eloquently said,
"I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
In light of recent events... hurricanes, terrorists attack, school shootings, et cetera. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Amen! Anne Graham is 100% correct.
Here is an excellent quote from the mighty preacher and man of God, Brother Lester Roloff, concerning unanswered prayers . . .
The thing that will reveal your faith is praying when no answer comes. That's the supreme test. I've gone over a number of chapters in the book of Job again. In one of them, Job said, "Oh that I knew where I might find Him." He was looking for God. Can you imagine? He was the best man God had and he couldn't find Him. He said "Lord, I want you to show me why you're doing this to me. We've always been on good terms and you've been my best friend. I'm not against you and am not going to turn against you, but I need an explanation and I want you to give it." But the Lord didn't pay him any attention. I imagine the Lord just kind of smiled and said, "Later on. After a while."
So finally Job said "I went forward and He wasn't there. Backward. I couldn't perceive Him. On the left hand where He doth work. I couldn't behold Him. On the right hand where He hid himself and I couldn't see him." That's all the directions isn't it? Forward, backward, left, right. He said "I couldn't get one glimpse of Him." Then he said, "But He knoweth the way that I take and when He hath tried me, He will bring me forth as gold. My feet have held His steps. His way have I kept and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips. I've esteemed His words more than my necessary food." That's the secret of it right there. It was the most severe test he ever had. It wasn't when all of his ten children died. It wasn't when he lost all of his camels, oxen and sheep and goats and chickens. It wasn't when he lost all of his servants. The greatest loss was not when Mrs. Job came and said, "Just curse God and die." That wasn't his most severe test. That was just part of it.
Then three fair-weather friends came and looked at him and they didn't speak for seven days. Not one word. Finally they opened their mouths and skinned him and scalded him and scathed him and ate him up alive. But that wasn't his greatest test. Do you know what the greatest test was? You've never been there until you've reached this place, and that is when you look up to God and there's not any God. You just pray like you used to pray and there's no answer. There's no response. There's no God. There's no feeling and your faith is severely tested. But let me tell you something. You're going to have to learn to believe God when you cannot perceive God. You're going to have to learn to "faith" Him when you can't feel Him. Unless you do, you're going to be in bad shape before this thing's over with. There'll come a time when God reserves the right to cut you completely loose from Him and then see what your faith will lead you to do. "In all this, Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly."
SOURCE: Brother Lester Roloff, from the sermon titled, Something Everybody Can Do
Persevering Prayer Verses Sinful Pride That Hinders God's Power
After teaching the Lord's Prayer, then Jesus tells the parable (Luke 11:5-13) of the man whose friend came to him at midnight asking for bread. So the man went to his neighbor begging bread. The neighbor didn't want to get out of bed and told the man to come back tomorrow. The man stayed and kept begging, insisting that his friend needed bread and he ran out, having nothing to feed his friend who came on a long journey. So the neighbor finally in frustration gives the man bread for his friend.
This type of prayer is very special and different than The Lord's Prayer. This is known as PERSEVERING PRAYER. Dr. Jack Hyles explained it by comparing prayer to a bakery. If you want to simply buy bread, you merely have to go up to the counter and ask. However, if you want to work in the bakery, that's a whole different matter. God tells us to pray daily for our needs. In the Lord's Prayer Jesus said to pray... “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.” Daily!
However, if you want God's power on your ministry, upon your labors for the Lord, then there is a price to pay. The price is not merited by lengthy prayers; but rather, in humbling ourselves so that God can bless us without our pride blossoming. If we don't pray, then the only way that God can bless our labours is to break us with horrible affliction. One way or another, God will humble you if you are His servant! Jonah ran from God and ended up in the belly of a fish, crying out to God. Jonah thought in the belly of the whale (it was a whale) that SALVATION IS OF THE LORD (Jonah 2:9).
James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” A man who wants to accomplish great things for God, who doesn't prayer at length, is like a fireman trying to extinguish a flame without water. Zechariah 4:6, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” It's not by our earthly wisdom, nor by our eloquent speech, nor by our combined efforts that the work of God is done. IT IS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD!!! This is why God requires Persevering Prayer if you want to see God do great things in your ministry and life. God resists the proud, but giveth grace (to help) to the humble. Psalms 127:1, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
God cannot bless a person who is too proud to pray and seek God's face. Throughout the Old Testament we read about seeking God's face. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 PROMISES that God will heal a nation when God's people humble themselves in prayer, departing from their sins while seeking God's face. Seeking God's face means that God is pleased with us (Genesis 33:10).
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8
You Need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS