PRAYING LIKE JESUS/Ten Principles Of Prayer Part 2 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Principle #7: We are instructed to approach Him with our needs.
(v. 13) "And lead us not into temptation.” Is there a sense here that God would actually lead us into temptation? To understand this you have to understand that this word carries a dual meaning. I guess the Revised Version has a more accurate interpretation for it says, "bring us not into temptation." The first meaning is a trial, sometimes we are given trials that are meant to test our faithfulness. The second meaning is actual incitement, inducement, seducement, and allurement in the direction of causing one to commit an actual sin. In the first case, God does not tempt us, He tries us. James 1:13: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. Understand this, that God will never lead you into anything that He does not plan to lead you out of. In the second case we are subjected directly to the source of temptation, usually the allurements of Satan and we must cling then to the truths of God’s word found in I Cor. 10:13―”No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Principle #8: We are instructed to approach Him with an Awareness.
(v. 13) "but deliver us from evil." It is interesting to me that many of the things we consider to be evil, are not. It has been said that poverty is not evil, Suffering is not evil. The only real evil is sin. It is the evil one who pushes us toward this sin. I’m reminded of this story I read.
Someone told of a church that believed in sinless perfection once you received Jesus Christ into your life and were baptized. A visitor to that church heard this teaching and asked to be baptized. He was tired of dealing with his habitual sin without any success. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of winter and the river was near frozen. The man with much persistence got the Elders to baptize him in the river. After the man and two Elders came out of the freezing cold water, the man was so excited, he said, "I feel so good, I’m not even cold." One Elder turned to the other and said, "He’s lying, we have to do it again." Until we recognize that God is our Father and we are His children we will never understand just how evil sin is. Without a proper prayer relationship with our Father, we are doomed to fall prey to the evil one.
Principle #9: We are instructed to approach Him with helplessness.
(v. 13). "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. " Isn’t it only appropriate that we, give God the credit He deserves? It is all about God, the master creator of the universe. It is His power that brings all good things to conclusion in our lives. It is God and God alone that deserves the glory. For who else but God could actually bring us through prayer to a place of eternal peace and security.
Principle #10: We are instructed to approach Him with genuineness.
Application: What do you ask God to do in your prayer? So many times we are guilty of saying, "God supply my needs", "God supply my wants", "God make things turn out the way I want them to". Have we forgotten that the great God of heaven and earth has needs also? He needs to know that you love Him. He not only wants you to tell Him this, He wants you to prove it by serving Him faithfully. He needs to know that you desire to fellowship with Him. This involves spending time with God. It’s more than just a passing comment. Sometimes it means spending time in prayer talking to Him and sometimes it means shutting up and listening to what He has to say. He needs to know that you are devoted to Him. That means choosing Him when you have a choice.
It’s amazing just to think that God wants to answer your prayers, but He desires for you and me to be in the proper attitude for prayer. In the coming months ahead you are going to be asked to pray for specific things. Do it with the right attitude; do it with the expectation that He is going to do it, and God will answer your prayer.
The Empty Chair
A man’s daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said. "No, who are you?" "I’m the new pastor at your local church," the pastor replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up." "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the pastor shut the door. "I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church, I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head." I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, "Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, "I’ll be with you always." Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now." "So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm." The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange--kind of weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."
Pray like Jesus prayed; PRAY WITH POWER.