The Real Lord's Prayer

August 6, 2022

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You” . . . (John 17:1).

The subject of prayer is extensive. Numerous books have been written on prayer. Some of the greatest insights into prayer have been written by some of the greatest prayer warriors in Christianity: Andrew Murray, Oswald Chambers, O. Hallesby, E. M. Bounds, George Mueller, D. L. Moody, etc. Thomas Watson (1620-1686) wrote, “A godly man cannot live without prayer. A man cannot live unless he takes his breath, nor can the soul, unless it breathes forth its desire to God.” Andrew Murray wrote, “. . . when we learn to regard [prayer] as the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work, we shall see that there is nothing that we so need to study and practise [sic] as the art of praying aright.”

Prayer is the heart-cry to God. “It is the cry of God’s people to their gracious, compassionate heavenly Father” (MacArthur). It expresses the soul’s longing for God first and foremost, not just for the things God can provide. It is the opening of the mind, heart, and spirit to God for His examination. 

Jesus gave the disciples a model for prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), but here He gives the disciples His example of prayer, His ‘High Priestly Prayer’. It is rich. It is theological. It is practical. It is profound because it is intensely personal. In this prayer Jesus opens His mind, heart, and spirit to the Father - fully, completely, unreservedly. It is the greatest prayer ever prayed.

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said. . . . This is as prayer ought to be. It is not really for the benefit of those who hear us pray, though in the hearing they may be encouraged by it. Prayer, in its purest form, is communion with God the Father. In lifting up His eyes to heaven, Jesus shows us the attitude of prayer - it is to the Father, it is for the Father to hear and to consider. Jesus was with the 11 disciples when He prayed (Judas Iscariot had left them in the upper room to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin). But the only audience in the mind and heart and spirit of Jesus at that moment was His heavenly Father. That is as prayer ought to be.

Over the course of many years in church, prayer meetings, and conferences, I have heard innumerable prayers. But the ones that moved heaven and earth in my mind, heart, and spirit, were those prayers where the one praying prayed as if they were standing before the very throne of God. I remember the prayer of Major Ian Thomas, who was keynote speak at a pastor’s conference I attended 30 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. At the close of his presentation, it was time to leave the conference hall for our rooms. Before we left, he prayed. When he concluded praying, an hour had passed, but it seemed mere moments had passed. I went away spiritually refreshed, renewed, and reinvigorated because he brought me to the very throne-room of God and there, time stood still. Lord, teach us to pray was the desire of the disciples (Luke 11:1). To this day that continues to be my desire as well. Amen.
Pastor Martin

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