Lesson #4 / part 3
(Please see Lesson #4 / parts 1 & 2 for preceding Lesson content…)
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:
- I must pray every day…without fail to delight in God
- I must pray every day…without fail with confession of my sins
- I must pray every day…without fail for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way
- I must pray every day…without fail for the salvation of those who are lost
- I must pray every day…without fail for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, elders, and leaders of my church
- I must pray every day…without fail interceding for pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know
- I must pray every day…without fail for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – Christlikeness
- I must pray every day…without fail for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities
- 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…]
- 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…
2. I must pray every day…without fail with confession of my sins
Prayer Prompter Words: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”
I’m bringing in this prayer prompter second because it just kind of naturally flows from and follows after the first one. It doesn’t come immediately after our addressing and approaching God as “Our Father in Heaven…” in The Disciples’ Model Prayer, but it does follow logically in our frame of thinking…
I cannot address God and call Him “Father” without simultaneously recognizing that I am the sinner He loves and has saved! When I call God “our Father in Heaven” and recognize how holy, hallowed, perfect, and sinless He is, then I must immediately also recognize that I am the exact opposite!
Luke 18.9-14: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”
I must pray every day…without fail with confession of my sins and for Christ’s mind, life, and power to be dynamic in my thinking and will to turn away from and forsake my sins.
And so, Jesus teaches us, His disciples, to pray daily and continuously “…forgive us our debts/sins…” The forgiveness of our debts/sins against God is the only grounds on which we stand and the only means by which we come into the Presence of the Holy God and our Heavenly Father.
Our sins are called ‘debts’ because our sins or transgressions are violations against the very Holiness, character, and Name of this God we are calling “our Father in Heaven.”
When we sin, we are robbing God of the glory and the honor and the praise that He deserves. God deserves to be loved, to be worshiped, to be served by every one of His creatures. But, we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3.23]. When we break God’s holy law, we become debtors to His justice and Holiness. “O, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!”
And, not only do we transgress and violate God’s holy law and character, but we also violate His love for us.
Still, though, God forgives us! And so, we pray “Forgive us our debts… forgive us our trespasses… forgive us our sins…” and the Father does forgive our sins!
1 John 1.8-9, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 2.1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
And so, I must pray with self-examination of my heart’s desires, my conduct, my temptations that I know about, and my actual transgressions. I must make a full, open, and honest confession of every sin that God convicts me of … and He will convict me of my sins that need to be confessed and repented of!
This is something else we need to emphasize and focus on in our praying: our praying is one of the simple, common, daily means of grace that God has given us to deal with our sins. And, our sins are daily. And, they must be dealt with. We all are way too negligent of dealing with our sins. We think way too highly of ourselves.
Far too often, we just get into the rut and the habit of tacking on the obligatory and perfunctory cliché at the end of our prayers: “…and forgive us of our sins and all the ways we have failed You…” Sometimes it’s almost as if we are saying, “Oh, and please forgive me if and when I’ve sinned … though none come to mind right now…”
But, Jesus means to teach us that everyone of us struggles with sin on a daily basis … continuously all throughout the day. Every thought we think, every word we say, every act we perform, every choice and decision we make – in all these activities we are subject to sin … and we often do. Probably every one of us struggles with particular sins that dog us, plague us, stick to us, harass us. It may not be the same sin for every one of us, but every one of us has to fight that fight continuously every day. I know what mine are; you know what yours are. Deal with it when you pray. That’s one of the prayer prompters Jesus gave us to pray.
And so, when we pray, we open up our lives and our consciences to our Father in Heaven. We openly and honestly confess to Him what He already knows much better than we ourselves do: that we have sinned. We confess it, repent of it, forsake it, and ask for forgiveness.
Here is God’s faithful promise … I’m going to repeat it again: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1.8-9.
And I must also pray that God will search my heart for hidden sins and blind spots that I am too willing to either accept, excuse, or self-justify. I must diligently seek a pure heart, clean hands, and an ever-growing and increasing love for Christ which purify my heart and conduct.
Pray that God will make your conscience just as sensitive to your sin as your sin is to the heart of our Father in Heaven.
And, you must do this every day – all day long of every day. John Flavel, the 16th-century Puritan has said, “The careless heart is an easy prey to Satan in the hour of temptation; his principal batteries are raised against the heart; if he wins that he wins all, for it commands the whole man: and alas! how easy a conquest is a neglected heart! … It is the watchful heart that discovers and suppresses the temptation before it comes to its strength.”
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 – – and do this without self-pity or self-defense.
Prayer Prompter Words: “…as we also have forgiven our debtors…”
OK, so hold on for this next one … let’s read again this prayer request that Jesus taught us to pray: I must pray every day…without fail for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way – and do this without self-pity or self-defense.
These are Jesus’ own words: read the verses immediately following this Disciples’ Model Prayer – Matthew 6.14-15: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus’ words are serious, sobering, convicting!
Mark 11.24-25: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Now, what I want every one of us to do right now is this: think of that person or those persons in your heart right now who have violated you, hurt you, or offended you the worst. You know who they are. We all bleed from those persons and those experiences.
Those painful experiences will mark us for life, and if we’re not careful, and if we don’t deal with them the way Jesus is teaching us to deal with them – they will destroy us.
One of the most resilient of our sins, one of the most stubborn of our sins, one of the most resistant of our sins to all our efforts to eradicate it is the sin of unforgiveness … resentment … bitterness … grudge-bearing. And, we may as well confess it and recognize it, that one of the reasons why it is so stubborn and resistant to being eradicated is because – we nurse it and coddle it. Too many times, we don’t want to let it go, we don’t want to deal with it because we are still secretly holding out and wishing that at some time the score may be evened.
We may not be so brash and bold as to seek revenge, but we are just waiting for God to mete it out. And, we want to see it and know about it when He does.
Why, if I forgive him/her/them, then I can’t hold out hope for the satisfaction of seeing them get theirs at some future time!
But, Jesus requires us to forgive our debtors of their moral debts against us just like our Father in Heaven has forgiven us of our debts against Him!
Listen to these words from Ephesians 4.30-32:
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
And the same words again in Colossians 3.12-14:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
This is another one of those prayers you will need to pray every single day. These are among the sins you will need to confess over and over again. You will have to deal with it daily – because it simmers and stews and smolders all the time.
You need to cultivate what I have learned to call “the love, do good, bless, & pray rule.” I get it from Jesus’ teachings in Luke 6.27-28: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
You will have to come to the place where you are willing to pray something like this: “Our Father in Heaven, you know and I know what so-and-so has done to me – but that is nothing compared to all I have done against you … and you have forgiven me. So, Father, I release them from being accountable to me, and I’m turning them over to you. And, if you choose to bless them with your love, grace, and favor – then I’m willing and happy for you to do that.” Love like you have been loved, do good to them as God has done good to you, bless them as God has blessed you, pray for them as you have been prayed for.
You have to do this.
I must pray every day…without fail for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended me and violated me in any way – and do this without self-pity or self-defense.
Here is the pdf version of these lesson notes:
Here is the link to the YouTube video lesson:
Episode 7 – Spiritual Exercises / Matthew 6.5-15 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 2
https://youtu.be/G4_CtVuTxUs / Length 29:19