When we work, we work. When we pray, the Father works. Foster says ‘All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.’ This can be seen by David (Psalm 63:1 KJV), the apostles (Acts 6:4) and men of faith throughout the ages. Martin Luther declared, ‘I have so much business I can not get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.’ John Wesley said, ‘God does nothing but in answer to prayer.’ And backed this up by devoting two hours daily to prayer. For these men of faith, prayer was no little habit in their lives, it was their lives.
Out of this conscious and constant sense of need, as we also seen yesterday, there arose a continuing attitude of prayer: a continual expectation that if anything was to be done, the Father must do it both by way of initiative, and wisdom, and power. Now if this was true of David , the apostles, Luther and Wesley, but also Jesus, how much more shouldn’t this also be true for us? Indeed, prayer according to the pattern of the Jesus is to be a vital goal of true disciples.
The disciples saw in Christ’s life, not only prayer, but a prayer life which demonstrated a dependency upon and intimacy with the Father unlike anything else they had ever seen and they wanted to know the secret of this in Luke 11.
I believe the request “teach us to pray.” Was not just how to pray, the MECHANICS, but how in the sense of the MOTIVATION. The how aspect is included by Christ in His answer in Luke 11:2-13.
- Prayer should demonstrate a total consciousness of our need, a sense of our complete inadequacy along with a sense of God’s complete adequacy and willingness. 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
- Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of God’s ever present willingness.
- Prayer is not for emergency use only, when we get in a pinch and need someone to bail us out.
- Prayer is not an “Aladdin’s Lamp” or a trip to the wishing well for our wants.
- By contrast, prayer is a means of intimate communion, fellowship, and dependence upon God the Father who has promised to work in and through us through His Son, just as God worked through Him.
- Prayer is for everyday living, moment by moment.
- Prayer is a means of claiming God’s promises and knowing and becoming abandoned to God’s will.
In John 14:10-14, note the relationship to prayer “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
There is no activity in the life of a believer which does not require a prayerful attitude—a prayerful dependence on and an expectation that God is at work and will work according to His purposes and leading. In ourselves we can do nothing. Christianity is living by faith in the Creator God who dwells in us, and prayer is God’s means for us to draw upon Christ’s miraculous life. Christianity is as Paul expressed it in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” Faith for a committed believer is expressed in intimate, prayerful living.
In practical terms what exactly does this means? As an illustration let’s look at the miraculous catch of fish in Luke 5:5-11. Probably Peter thinking something like, “Lord, you’re a great teacher, you’re the Son of God and Messiah, but we can handle this ourselves; we are expert fishermen. We have been fishing these waters for years. Besides, Lord, we fished these waters all night and we know the fish are simply not biting now.” But you see, biblical Christianity is living by faith and prayerful dependence upon God and under the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ regardless of how things appear to us.
Biblical Christianity is never a matter of living by who and what we are—our insight, our background, our experience, our training, our giftedness, etc. Rather it is a matter of living by faith in God’s Word, biblical insight, and by faith in Jesus Christ, the Creator God and His availability to work through us as we are available and submissive to Him. But such only happens when we live by intimate prayerful dependence upon the Father through a life of prayer, a life of praying without ceasing, and a life devoted to special times of prayer alone with the Father and His Son in the power of the Spirit.