Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Powerful Prayer

From the Journey Blog (
When asked, Christ gave his disciples an outline for praying powerfully. We call it the Lord’s Prayer. I learned it at an early age, surprisingly enough, while playing sports. Several different coaches I had would end practice or pre-game speeches by calling everyone in close to recite the Lord’s Prayer. In Matthew, Jesus warned us not to “heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do” in the verses just preceding the prayer, showing us that it is to serve as an outline, not a vain repetition, as if there is some mystic power in the very word combinations themselves.
There are a lot of good devices to help us pray. One that is very well known is the A.C.T.S. method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). But the one that has served me very well for the last 15 to 20 years is Christ’s model prayer. Here it is in five steps:
1. Acknowledge your privileged position. He is your Father! He loves you and wants to hear from you. You are never interrupting him! You have his ear.
hallowed be your name,
2. Affirm his “Awesomeness.” Tell him of your love and awe for him. This is a great time to both praise him for who he is and thank him for what he has done.
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
3. Align your priorities with his: his Kingdom is first. The heart of Christ’s outline is that we pray that God’s rule and reign be realized and that his will and way be accomplished. Don’t miss this. This is where we pray for God to revive his church and awaken people to be born again. This is where we pray that God will pour out his Spirit and transform our culture! Imagine in your mind what God’s “will be[ing] done on earth as it is in heaven” might look like! Long for this in your heart! Ask him to do it!
Everything else we pray should be “according to his will” with the advancement of his Kingdom in mind. Jesus said, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (John 5:14-15). That’s the kind of prayer God WILL answer!
Give us each day our daily bread.
4. Ask him to provide for needs. This is where you pray for God to provide for our physical needs: food, shelter, clothing, health, etc. Christ came to this physical earth and knows that we have these needs. He cares for us and will provide! Also pray for others you know who have needs.
5. Address sin. Even though Jesus lived without sin, he told us to spend a good portion of our prayer dealing with our daily struggles with it.
Forgive us our sins, Confess your sins to God.
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. Forgive others’ sins.
And lead us not into temptation. Ask God to guide you away from sin.
We’re going to make some cards available for you to pick up at church with this outline. But if you know the Lord’s Prayer, you already have it in your heart! Take your time and walk through these five steps with your Father. I can hardly do it in 30 minutes—in fact, it usually takes me a full hour! Try it and see for yourself. God moves when his people pray.
Chad Sparks

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