The disciples of Jesus never asked Him to teach them how to preach, teach, heal, or cast out demons; they requested that He teach them to pray. The reason; when Jesus prayed He got results every time. Some might say His success lay in the fact that He was God. He was God, but most people neglect the fact that He was also man. In fact, I would argue His success in prayer had nothing to do with the God part and all to do with the man part.
Jesus promised His disciples that they would do the things He had done and even greater things. How could this be if all the things He did were the result of His being God? You or I will never be God, and if we follow that logic, we will never do the things He did (makes me wonder which logic the church is following). Everything Jesus did was the result of being a man fully surrendered to God and filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to fulfill Adam’s original mandate, and in doing so, He provided each of us with the opportunity to do all that He did and even more.
Jesus responded by giving them a model prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) from which they could build a life of prayer. All the elements of a balanced prayer are there—praise, petition, confession, and intercession. Jesus’ intention was not that it be memorized and mindlessly repeated from rote; rather, His desire was for us to learn to pray from it much like many of us learned to read from the Dick and Jane books.
Jesus came praying God’s kingdom come, as well as preaching His kingdom was in their midst. The kingdom exists wherever the King is enthroned. It is future, but it is also right now. You and I have the opportunity to bring the kingdom of God to bear in any situation or circumstance we face. It resides in us and can flow out of us as we pray and practice the life and work of Jesus on a daily basis. But, we must re-discover and learn anew what Jesus taught His disciples—prayer is warfare.
How is your prayer-life? Is it passionate and powerful or impotent and inactive? Are your prayers being answered, or do they seem to fall on deaf ears as they bounce off brass heavens? If you find some inconsistencies and frustrations, join me for a few weeks and we will take a walk into a new realm of prayer—kingdom prayer.