What I must pray for every day without fail… part 1

Spiritual Exercises

Lesson #4 / part 1


Read Matthew 6.5-15

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 

15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

One of the great difficulties I struggle with in praying is just the vast immensity of what I can pray for – and what I think I should pray for. I mean – there is a whole world out there to pray for! There is so much going on in our own lives, in our immediate community, and in the whole world. There are so many concerns, so many cares, so many needs, so many issues and events that interest us and impact us.

How much of it should I pray for daily?

We know that our Lord Jesus gave us a model to follow in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer,” or “The Disciple’s Prayer,” or “The Model Prayer.”

So, let’s talk for just a moment here at the beginning about what we are going to call this prayer…

The Lord’s Prayer

Of course, this prayer is most often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” If you say “The Lord’s Prayer,” everybody is going to think of this prayer. And, if you quote these words, everybody is going to say “The Lord’s Prayer.” And so, it is “The Lord’s Prayer” in that Jesus, our Lord, teaches us to pray it. But, I’m going to go farther than that and say that it can also be called “The Lord’s Prayer” because when Jesus gave this prayer to His disciples to model their own prayers after it, He also modeled this very prayer after His own praying.

Let’s go to Luke 11.1-4 where Luke records another occasion when Jesus gave these very same words to His disciples and told them “When you pray, say:…” But, on this occasion that Luke records, Jesus Himself was praying to His Father. “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ And He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:…’” and then He proceeded to teach them to pray by these same words.

Now, the point is that Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray just like they had just overheard Him praying to His Father. So, if He gives them (and us) this model, it’s going to be modeled after His own praying.

I know that we have balked at calling this “The Lord’s Prayer” because Jesus would never pray or have to pray “Forgive us our debts…” since He had no sin to be forgiven. But, He did Himself pray in much the same ways He is teaching us to pray. So, in that sense, we can rightfully call it “The Lord’s Prayer.”

The Disciples’ Prayer

It is “The Disciples’ Prayer” in that Jesus is teaching us to pray this prayer as His disciples, His learners, His followers. In the Luke account I just quoted, Luke writes that Jesus taught this prayer to His ‘disciples.’ So, this is His Disciples’ Prayer.

The Model Prayer

It is also “The Model Prayer” in that Jesus teaches us to “pray then like this…” using these words as a model by which to prompt and guide our own praying.

Jesus actually said: “Pray then like this:” … and then He proceeded to give us words to pray by. How much better a model could He have given us?

So, the pressing question is: “What does Jesus mean when He says, ‘Pray then like this’”?

Not a verbatim ritual or formality

This prayer is not so much a verbatim ritual that we must or should repeat. Because just before giving these model words, Jesus had warned them “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then like this…” ~Matthew 6.7-9a. So, Jesus obviously doesn’t mean for us to just repeat these words by rote and ritual.

‘Prayer Prompters’

Rather, I think it is an outline, or a template of what I like to call ‘prayer prompters’ that Jesus is teaching us to think about, and ask for, and act on as the subject matter of what we must be praying for to be His disciples.  

For example, in that prayer, Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.”  But, in that single request or “prayer prompter,” Jesus taught us to ask comprehensively that God’s will shall be fulfilled on earth as it is done in Heaven … and that applies to every single detail of interest and experience, not only in our own personal lives, but in every single activity that goes on in the whole world!

So, what I’m going to do is take every phrase that Jesus gave us in this Model Prayer and use them as prayer prompters to teach us and motivate us to pray for what Jesus teaches us to pray for. They’re not necessarily in the same order in which Jesus spoke them, but we’ll cover them all. 

While we may not be able to express every one of these requests every day, there are some essential requests I must make every day without fail. And, by the way, when I say “every day,” I’m going on what Jesus taught us to pray about giving us day by day our “daily bread,” assuming that these are needs that we have and need to pray about every day.

Here are 10 of them.

I’m going to format this lesson by making these points:

  1. I will list 10 ‘prayer prompters’ or subjects of prayer that I believe we should at least address every day.
  2. Next, I will go back to the Disciple’s Prayer and make a note of the “Prayer Prompter Words” that Jesus taught us to prompt us to pray for that request.
  3. Finally, I will make just a few comments to explain the significance of that prayer request and how we can and should adapt it and personalize it for ourselves.

The 10 ‘Prayer Prompters’

Here is a summary of the 10 prayer prompters – then we will begin to address them in a little more detail as they apply to our own personal particular prayers concerns:

  1. I must pray every day…without fail to delight in God
  2. I must pray every day…without fail with confession of my sins
  3. I must pray every day…without fail for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way
  4. I must pray every day…without fail for the salvation of those who are lost
  5. I must pray every day…without fail for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, elders, and leaders of my church
  6. I must pray every day…without fail interceding for pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know
  7. I must pray every day…without fail for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – Christlikeness
  8. I must pray every day…without fail for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities 
  9. I must pray every day…without fail that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word [this is for me – you will need to adapt it to your personal prayer needs…]
  10. I must pray every day…without fail that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere

Now, let’s talk about each one and how to pray them… (to be continued)

Here is a pdf copy of this portion of the lesson notes:

Here is the YouTube link to the video lesson…

Episode 6 – Spiritual Exercises / Matthew 6.5-15 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 1

https://youtu.be/ixIuo4pQCGU  /  Length 31:25

This entry was posted in Discipleship, I've been thinking, Prayer, Spiritual Exercises, Sunday School lessons and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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