Prayer: Christ's Model for Believers

9 - How Is Your Prayer Life?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Jesus' model prayer for believers confronts us with life-changing questions.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part nine of a nine-part series. Read part eight.

Jesus' model prayer for believers confronts us with life-changing questions.

Summing Up

There is so much more we could say on the subject of prayer in general, and on Jesus' model prayer for believers in particular. But as we sum up, let me ask you some questions about your own prayer life. These are questions that all come directly from Jesus' discourse in Matthew chapter six.

  • First and foremost, do you make a priority of prayer? Do you make a time and a place for regular fellowship with your heavenly Father? Prayer is mentioned over 400 times in Scripture. God's Word places a priority on prayer. You need to place a priority on prayer.
  • Second, do you pray from the heart? Do you pray extemporaneously? It is easy for us to unthinkingly fall into ruts in prayer. You may not pray a set prayer day after day, but you can easily fall into the same patterns of words day after day, so that prayer can become almost a robotic kind of activity. You can easily reach the point where you are really not thinking very much about your praying. Prayer takes time and thought. You need to take the time to express your reverence and worship for God through prayer. You need to take the time to express the thoughts and desires of your heart to God.
  • Third, when you pray, do you keep in mind the nature of the God to whom you are praying? Do you pray to the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit? Do you remember that you are praying to the all-powerful God of the universe, who knows your every need far better than you do, and even before you come to Him? And yet the Father wants you to come. He commands you to come -- to "pray without ceasing", that is, incessantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He promises "grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 6:16). Do you come before the Father in reverence? Do you come to your Father with concern for the holiness of His name? Do you come before God the Father with your relationship in mind? Are you mindful of your great privilege of having been reconciled to God the Father through the blood of Christ? Are you continually reminding yourself that it is on that basis alone that you have the inestimable privilege of coming before Him in prayer?
  • Fourth, do you come before God with His kingdom in mind? Is the furtherance of your Father's kingdom at the forefront of your mind as you pray? Do you have His will in mind? Are you willing to submit to His will as you present before the throne of grace your needs and the desires of your heart?
  • Fifth, do you come to the Father with an attitude of dependence -- the recognition that you are utterly reliant upon Him, that there is nothing you have or ever will have that does not come from the Father's hand?
  • Sixth, do you come seeking the Father's protection from the evil one? Do you understand how much you need that protection? Do you understand that you are not on your own in the battle, but that God the Father has made and will make every provision for your rescue from the evil one, both in this present life and for all eternity?

Be Convicted - But Not Discouraged

I do not believe that a preacher has really preached to others unless he himself is first convicted by his own message from God. These questions certainly bring conviction to the heart of this writer. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once rightly observed that most preachers find it far easier to preach than to pray. And no doubt, believers in general find it far easier to do a thousand other things in the course of a day than to spend time before the Father in prayer.

Indeed, the Word of God should convict us about our deficiencies in the matter of prayer. The Word is "a discerner (in the original, a critic) of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account" (Hebrews 4:12-13).

But Biblical conviction is not designed to bring discouragement. On the contrary, after writing such convicting words, the writer to the Hebrews says, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Let Us Therefore Come

In other words, let us come "because these things are so." What things? The writer is saying, let us therefore come, because "there remains therefore a rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). Let us therefore come, because we need to cease from reliance on our own works (verse 10). Let us therefore come, because we need to be diligent to enter into our rest in Christ (verse 11). Let us therefore come, because God's Word reveals who we are and what we are (verse 12). Let us therefore come, because God knows us intimately, and we can hide nothing from Him (verse 13). Let us therefore come, because Jesus is a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses (verse 14). Let us therefore come, because Jesus was tempted in all points just as we are, yet without sin (verse 15). Because of all these wondrous facts, let us come!

Let Us Come Boldly

And not only that -- "let us come boldly". The word that is used here does not mean that we may come brashly, or presumptuously, or without proper respect or reverence. Rather, this word tells us about two aspects of our coming -- first, how we may speak to our Lord; and second, the attitude with which we may come before Him.

The word "boldly" means that you may have freedom in speaking as you approach the Lord. It says that, within the bounds of reverence, you may be unreserved in your speech. You may, and indeed you should, speak to your God openly, frankly, and without concealment.

The word "boldly" also speaks of your attitude in coming to the throne of grace. It says that you may come with free and fearless confidence; with cheerful courage; with assurance that as a believer in Christ you have the right to come, and God wants you to come to the Father through the Son. "For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." (Hebrews 9:24)

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