This I regard as the most important of all – always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse. Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit. This often leads to some of the most remarkable experiences in the life of the minister. So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing, but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect. You will experience ease and a facility in understanding what you were reading, in thinking, in ordering matter for a sermon, in writing, in everything, which is quite astonishing. Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately, and thank God if it happens to you frequently. –Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones
Prayer is the key element. Examples of prayer in the life of Christ:
Hebrews 5:7 – “…offered up prayer and supplication…”
Hebrews 7:25 – “…lives to make intercession…”
Luke 5:16 – withdrew to pray after healing leper
Luke 6:12 – prayed all night before picking his 12 disciples
Matthew 14:23 – prayed after the 5,000 are fed
Luke 9:18 – for His identity to be revealed
John 17:1-26 – High Priestly prayer
Luke 22:31-32 – prayed for Peter
Luke 22:39-46 – prayed in Garden of Gethsemane
The Lord Jesus as the victor on the cross makes intercession for us – this should show us the value of prayer.
He is there to listen and to execute. He wants to listen to even the faintest cry that would echo in His court room. When we pray we should close the door – meet with the God who hears in secret and rewards in the open. We can pray and ask that He makes us a praying people because we desire to be alone with Him.
A closer look at the beginning of The Lord’s Prayer:
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
“Our Father” – directs us to a sense of His intimacy
A personal possession of Him to me and me to Him.
A father knows how to care for his child, it is a natural thing. Go to Him with our needs and hurts and everything.
“In Heaven” – directs us to a sense of His place
His throne, where we go to pray. We have easy access to the throne of God!
His throne is also a place of authority as we see in Daniel 7:9-10.
It is a place of majesty as seen in Revelation 4:2-11, where He is worshiped.
It is a place of power as seen in Revelation 5:1-14.
When we pray we go to a special place shrouded in authority, majesty and power. We need a sense of this.
“Hallowed be” – directs us to a sense of His holiness
“Hallowed” = reverence; render, set apart from that which is common and consecrate as specifically set apart. This gives us a healthy view of who He is. Everything about the Tabernacle, the OT meeting place of man with God, reminded the people of holiness. He is not to be treated lightly.
In Leviticus 10:1-11 Nadab and Abihu offered unholy fire to God. There was only one way to offer sacrifices to God, but they chose to do it their own way.
We read in verse 3;
And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’”
There is a distinction between holy and unholy and we need to grasp that. Holiness is a necessity in the economy of God. We need to be careful of external influences that mar our judgement and cause us to mix holy and unholy. We need to see the holiness of God.
“Your Name” – directs us to a sense of His person
This is more than a mere title, but shows the person and personality of the title.
5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
8 So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
In John 8 we see the Lord Jesus displaying His character and grace to a woman disgraced in her sin. This Jesus Christ justifies us – He was the only one who could have cast that first stone at the adulterous woman, but He doesn’t.
December 30 – January 2 found our little family at a Bible conference in TN. It was wonderful – the solid teaching, the conversations with old friends, and the meeting of new friends. The overall theme of the conference was Fight Finish Keep and it was incredibly challenging and encouraging. This series of posts this week are a fleshing out of my notes taken from the general sessions and seminars I attended. The work invested in this content is not my own, I am simply sharing the things I learned from these teachers that spent hours and hours studying and preparing to share this. Audio recordings were done of the entire conference and I can find out where they can be purchased if anyone is interested.