1 Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing.
We make a false assumption believing that God is all-benevolent and will not mind if we put off our time with Him. “Not tonight, Lord,” we tell Him. Read through the Bible and find me any scripture that says “Please fit me into your schedule.” He demands our time. If anything comes between us and Him, we are violating the first and most crucial of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).
I personally spend about an hour a day in prayer. Sound intimidating? It’s much easier than you think. First of all, if you try to do it all at once, you will set yourself up for failure. Instead, try to break it into segments throughout the day. The prophet Daniel prayed three times daily (Daniel 6:10), and I highly doubt he said the exact same thing each time.
I don’t believe that our prayer lives should revolve around our routines, but that our routines should revolve around our prayer lives. Since I spend a great deal of time on the road for my job, I get plenty of time alone with God. I recognize that not everyone has that luxury, but we must find ways to incorporate prayer into our daily lives.
But it must be somewhere where you can be alone with God; He doesn’t want you murmuring to Him while doing laundry or thinking prayers while shopping. Matthew 6:6: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
In the Old Testament, the Holiest of Holies was the innermost room of the temple where God’s presence was the most powerful on Earth. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter once a year, on the Day of Atonement. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: (Hebrews 9:7). A veil separated this sacred room from the rest of the building, because a partition had to exist between God and man. But once Jesus died on the cross, that veil was torn. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; (Matthew 27:51). First, when I get into my prayer chamber, I acknowledge that this place is the Holiest of Holies, and the glory of God is just as powerful there as it was in the innermost chamber in ancient times. And unlike the priest, I am allowed full access to His glory, 24/7.
But when we pray, what exactly do we say? Fortunately, the Bible is our instruction manual that gives us exact direction.
The disciples asked Jesus in Luke 11:1: Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. He answered by giving what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” Over the years, its meaning has been twisted; many churches today believe simply reciting it makes for a legitimate prayer life. During the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, the Puritans used it as a test; if the accused could recite the Lord’s Prayer, they were usually acquitted. But simply spouting Jesus’ words line-for-line has no magical powers. Matthew 6:7: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
The Lord’s Prayer is not something to memorize, but a blueprint for how our daily prayers should be structured.
Matthew 6:9: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. The first step is to praise God. Before you bring any needs before the Lord, glorify His name. Recognize that you are before His very throne, in the highest courts of Heaven. Praise Him for your house, your church, your family; but most of all, for salvation, for which you could never thank Him enough. Hebrews 13:15: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Verse 10 gives us the next step. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. This is a big one, and most of your daily prayer will be spent here. Notice that Jesus doesn’t instruct you to pray for your own needs yet; after praising the Father, now you should seek for His kingdom to come and His will to be done.
What does “Thy kingdom come” mean? It means pray for the kingdom of God to be built up. In other words, pray for souls. This is the great commission we were commanded in Mark 16:15: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. I divide this into steps, and it helps to write everything down on a sheet of paper.
Step 1: Pray for your church. Start by praying for a revival, that souls will come from all over the community and the altars will be so full of sinners giving their hearts to Jesus, that the building will not be able to contain them all.
Now pray for the ministries to be anointed: the elders, ushers, teachers, choir, musicians, nursery workers, sound board operators, cleaners, administrators, greeters, seniors ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry.
Now pray for the pastor and his family.
Now pray for every church member you can, by name. Use a directory if you need to. Pray for all the needs; people who are sick, have unsaved loved ones, etc.
Step 2: Pray for a revival in the nation. As long as we don’t pray for the churches across America, they will keep falling.
Step 3: Pray for world missions. This is a big one, but I can’t stress its importance enough. The world is in desperate need of God. Pray for the missionaries who go to every continent. Pray the anointing on all the Bibles, tracts, literature, etc. that is going forth to bring the gospel to every creature. Ask God to rain down the fire of the Holy Ghost to all the ends of the earth. This is the Latter Rain, the great worldwide outpouring spoken of by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; (Joel 2:28).
Now let’s examine the second part of verse 10: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This is for our own needs, but we really shouldn’t pray for our wants so much as seek His will in our lives.
Step 1: Pray, not for yourself, but for all your unsaved loved ones. Give their names, and call the conviction power of the Holy Ghost on them. Pray for your immediate family: parents, spouse, children, etc. If they are already saved, praise God for it!
Step 2: Pray for your own ministries. Seek the anointing to give you strength to do His calling. Whether it’s singing, teaching, praying for the sick, or whatever, you can’t do it without God’s power. I depend completely on His anointing for my classes and my blogs.
Step 3: Pray for any other needs you have: healing, a financial miracle, guidance at work, or wisdom in any way. If you make this step last, you’ve shown God that you put others above yourself.
Now let’s move to verse 11. Give us this day our daily bread. What is our daily bread? Jesus gave the answer in John 6:35: And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
This is the time to simply be intimate with Him. Acknowledge that Jesus is with you, alone in your prayer chamber. Talk to Him like a friend. Tell Him you love Him; He delights in hearing it. Pledge your devotion to Him. He is the Daily Bread, the Word of God, the Anointed One, and the Messiah. Matthew 11:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. You will be surprised how much happier you will be from just spending a few minutes every day in the presence of Jesus, your heart bubbling over with love and fulfillment.
Verse 12: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. There’s a reason why Jesus said For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15). If you have a single grudge towards anyone when you take that final breath, you will spend eternity in Hell. There are no exceptions. Hate is much of a sin as murder: Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).
Not to sound like a hypocrite, but this is coming from the man who made resentment into an art form. Nobody was as good at holding grudges as I was; and for me, this is why this step is so crucial.
This is your moment to forgive and pray for everyone who has ever hurt you. It’s difficult and requires swallowing much pride, but you have to do it. And as you yield your mind to the Holy Ghost, He will send the blood of Jesus to wash away all grudges, bitterness and resentment. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5). Now ask the Lord to put a shield of protection of the blood around your mind, to keep the thoughts of the enemy out. Psalm 51:10: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
We can break down the last verse into two parts; verse 13 first tells us And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I don’t care what your rank in the church is, or how long you’ve been serving the Lord; any of us can fall. Every Christian, from the new convert to the senior administrator, must pray daily for God’s protection from temptation. Don’t believe me? Look at the great men of God who have failed over the years, from great evangelists to close friends. No one is immune from backsliding.
If the devil tempted Jesus, he will tempt you, too. But the good news is, as long as we put our trust in God, He will not let us fall. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
The second part of verse 13 concludes the final step: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Once again, praise. You should always begin and end your time of prayer in praises to God. Personally, I interpret this last step as an indication to claim victory in advance. Isaiah 65:24: And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Before you even came before Him, God already knew all of your needs, and He was moving. Declare in faith that it’s in His hands.
Here, the Holy Spirit will often take me over in tongues, but this could happen at any moment during the prayer time. If it does, let Him interrupt and take as long as He wants. 1 Thessalonians 5:19: Quench not the Spirit.
Print this blog if necessary. Write down your prayer requests. Break each section of the Lord’s Prayer into daily segments, with the goal of getting through it every day. And watch how your spiritual life changes.