We teach our children to pray before meals and before we go to bed. Do you pray at other times?
The disciples of our Lord were taught much concerning prayer while He was with them on the earth. They felt their ignorance and asked Him to teach them to pray in Luke 11.
“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. 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.”
In response, He gave them what is usually called the Lord’s Prayer, but it is the disciples’ petition.
We, too, should pray as Jesus taught the disciples to pray. We recite this prayer at many church worship services or Bible studies or prayer meetings. I say “recite” because we have come to say the words often times without praying the prayer. May I suggest that you consider the following?
I cannot say OUR if I live in a water-tight spiritual compartment. I cannot say OUR if I think a special place in heaven is reserved just for me and my own little group.
I cannot say FATHER if I do not believe that He is actually my spiritual Father.
I cannot say WHO ART IN HEAVEN if I do not believe in a hereafter.
I cannot say HALLOWED BE THY NAME if I, who am called by His name, do not want myself to be holy.
I cannot say THY KINGDOM COME if I am so occupied with earthly things that I am laying up no treasure in His kingdom.
I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN if I am not prepared to devote my life here to His service.
I cannot say THY WILL BE DONE if I am questioning, resentful or disobedient to His will for me.
I cannot say GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD if I am only asking Him to erase my past mistakes and do not ask for strength and guidance for today.
I cannot say FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS if I harbor a grudge against anyone.
I cannot say LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION if I deliberately place myself or remain in a position where I am likely to be tempted.
I cannot say THINE IS THE KINGDOM if I do not accord the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.
I cannot say THINE IS THE POWER if I fear what men may do or what my neighbors may think.
I cannot say THINE IS THE GLORY if I am seeking glory for myself.
Jesus provided the disciples with what should be the sincere considerations of their hearts as they concerned themselves with facing life each day. They, and us, need only to lift up this disciples’ prayer to God knowing full well He knows what is in our hearts and minds as we pray the words.
If this is the Disciples’ Prayer, what is the Lord’s Prayer?
In Matthew 26 we read, “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
“And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me. And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done. And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”
After the Lord’s Supper was over, Jesus took His disciples out to Gethsemane so He could be in prayer. While the disciples were to be waiting and watching, they fell asleep. This is when Jesus prayed after the Last Supper was over while the disciples were sleeping, the “Lord’s Prayer.”
“O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer by saying “NEVERTHELESS, not My will but Thy will be done.”
He then returned to find the disciples sleeping. He then prayed, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.
He then returned to find the disciples sleeping again, and He prayed the same words again. Just as we repeat the Disciples Prayer over and over again, so did Jesus repeat the Lord’s Prayer of “nevertheless not My will, but Thy will be done” three times.
When we pray, we must be persistent as we pray in faith. As we seek the will of God in our lives, let us pray the Lord’s Prayer of “nevertheless not my will, But Thy will be done.” We find comfort that even when we are fast asleep Jesus is praying for us and the world.
Matt. 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.