I have been in a series of messages named Pray More. We’ve talked about praying with confidence, the tabernacle model for prayer, and praying with persistence. Today, my message is about dynamic prayer and I am using the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13.
Jesus’ disciples were not foreign to prayer but even they struggled with prayer. Luke 11:1 records them asking Jesus to show them how to pray. I find it interesting that, after all they had seen Him do, the thing they specifically asked Him to teach them was how to pray. This tells us there was something special about how He prayed.
Jesus unpacked this dynamic prayer for them. Prayer should not be ritualistic (bland). Prayer is about a loving relationship (dynamic). When I think of ritualistic prayer, someone praying in King James English comes to mind, or an expectation of rewards based on a point system. I think of feeling guilty if I don’t pray enough or handing God a list of wants. Imagine, if I woke up each morning, leaned over to Christine, and proceeded to list all the things I needed her to do that day. I would get a whole different reaction than if I wake up, lean over and tell her how much I love and appreciate her. The disciples knew ritual prayers, but Jesus knew Father God personally, He had a relationship with Him. God wants to give you answers and impart power to you. He wants to intimately share truth with you. Dynamic prayer is personal
- Start with God’s Personhood - His name (Our Father) and His address (in Heaven). We don’t just throw something out there hoping someone catches it. It’s a dialogue, talking to Him and listening to what He is saying. Jesus' secret was that He was talking to his father. Why does this matter? We can’t get closer to God than our concept of Him allows. In my case, I thought God was looking for what I did wrong all the time. I was always begging for forgiveness. Settle in your heart that He loves you. He is not annoyed when you approach Him. He instinctively adores you. You are precious to Him. When you’re aware of this, it’s easy to enter into prayer.
- Seek God's Presence (Hallowed be your name). To hallow means to honor. This is a reminder that you are addressing the One who rules and reigns. His name is holy, sacred and to be respected. Jesus Christ is not a curse word. He was the One crucified for you. When you do this, you are worshiping and your faith is activated. What is your focus? Focus on the One with all power, Who knows all, Who has all wisdom and authority. No circumstance you may find yourself in is ever overwhelming to Him. Magnify the Lord during prayer. Focus on Him knowing He is bigger than all your problems. We tend to magnify our problems but worship opens the door to His presence and empowers our prayers.
- Shift to God's Priorities (Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven). We like things our way but to surrender, we have to shift to His way. God’s Kingdom refers to God’s spiritual and eternal reign in our life. Prayer is not God moving toward us, but us moving toward Him, toward His way, toward His will in all aspects of our lives. Lack of prayer says “You’re not invited. I can handle this without You.” It will help to understand that God wants better for you than even what you want for yourself. Do you believe this? If you only knew what He has prepared for you, you wouldn’t want your own way. You would want God's way. Your life, submitted to God, is always better. It is the life you’ve always wanted.
- Solicit God's Provision (Give us this day, our daily bread). When you don’t ask, you make yourself your own provider. Will you worry or will you pray? This is a choice of peace vs. stress. Worry causes poor decision making and strife. But God won’t let you down. If a problem is big enough to worry about, it’s big enough to pray about. Believe God is loving and loves to provide for His children. If you have this mindset, you won’t hesitate to go to Him. God loves caring for His kids. Don’t rob Him of what He loves doing.
- Secure God's Pardon (Forgive me as I forgive others). When we sin, the natural response is to hide from God but take your sin to God. His work covers the past, present and future. You are not what you’ve done. You are the righteousness of Christ and no longer a slave to sin. When we go to God with our sin, we are ensuring our closeness with God. Be mindful as you do ask for God to forgive you, that you need to let go of any unforgiveness. Holding resentment will restrict your relationship with God. Read this scripture again, ‘as we have forgiven.’ You are praying,‘God measure out grace to me in the same measure I use.’ God will honor this prayer. Don’t let the worst relationship of your life (the one that hurt you the most or negatively impacted you the most) ruin your best relationship (your relationship with God). When you hold onto resentment that is what happens. When you receive God’s forgiveness, know you have power to forgive others.
- Stay in Step with God's Plan (Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil). This is asking God for help when temptation comes, for Him to show you the way out. One of the most important decisions you make every day is who you will take guidance from. Every day, the Holy Spirit and the enemy offer to guide you. When you pray, it is like taking the Holy Spirit’s hand so He can lead you into His direction and protection. Give the Holy Spirit permission to help you step into God's plan for your life.
By the time to the end of this prayer, you are charged up to declare, “Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever”. This means “let it be so”. There’s certainty because the whole prayer is centered on a person, our Heavenly Father and His authority, holiness, power, wisdom, purpose, provision, forgiveness, and goodness. This whole thing shifts prayer from a rigid requirement to a rewarding relationship. When approached from your relationship with God, prayer is not an obligation. It’s an opportunity to know Him personally. Prayer based in relationship with God is dynamic and our personal prayer is the start of revival in our life, our church, our region and our nation.