Jesus prayed and through his prayer life taught us invaluable principles and model for praying. It is some of this principles that we will explore in this discourse. There are only 17 references to Jesus praying and most of them are in the book of Luke. We will examine some of them and the principles that they expressed. It is the power combo of prayer and fasting that ultimately changes our spiritual status and levels! It is therefore important to understand the principles that makes both work! So here we study the principles for effective praying.
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Luke 11:1KJV
From the foregoing two things are clear
- the prayer life of Jesus was so infectious that the disciples desired to learn to exude such power and authority in prayers that they saw Jesus experienced! If prayer was such a 'boring and tedious' spiritual exercise, the disciples would have never desired to learn the art! The prayer life of Jesus was exciting, infectious and challenging!
- Having watched Jesus prayed they deduced that there is an art to prayer. Unlike what we have been told, we learn how to pray by praying! Here however, the disciples made us realize that we learn how to pray by been taught how to pray!
Meaning that the art of prayer can be taught. They ask Jesus teach us to pray 'just like John taught his disciples'. They have seen it worked with John and the disciples and so desired the same. Jesus did not hesitate on this as he went forth to enunciate the way to pray and some of prayers basic principles!
'And he said unto them, when ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom comes. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.' Luke 11:2 KJV
Jesus set out here a very important principle in prayer, that of APPRECIATION before petitions - the principle of APPRECIATION!
He said the first move into God's presence should be with a heart of gratitude! A spiritual principle that David enunciated thousands of years before! "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name". Psalms 100:4 KJV
The message translation puts this succinctly: "Know this: God is God, and God, God . He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. Psalm 100:3-4 MSG
When you talk praise, you are at home with the father!!!
Gratitude is what gives you audience with the father! Appreciation is what opens heavens line of communication!
Jesus didn't just taught this, he lived it! Thanksgiving naturally deserts us during moments of challenges! It is natural to be grateful only when things are working! But as we looked at Jesus life we see a man who was ever grateful! Circumstances do not make men of principles to change their principles! Rather, men of principles use their principles to change their circumstances! Jesus said anytime you want to pray the first thing to do was to thank God! And so faced with a hungry crowd in John 6 and with a meal for one or two people! He gave thanks! Hallelujah!
At the tomb of Lazarus after a best friend had died, still he gave thanks! Circumstances mustn't change good principles; rather good principles must be used to change circumstance! On the platform of that heart of appreciation two great miracles were born:
- miracle of multiplication
- miracle of Resurrection!
Great miracles will be birth in your life!
Appreciation will bring multiplication. That's why David said let all the people praise thee, then shall the earth yield her increase and God our God will bless us with fearful blessings!(Psalm 67:3-7). The grateful heart will always be a fruitful life!
'Nothing dies in the hand of a thanksgiver' it has been said, so nothing dies in your hand! So as you pray henceforth, whatever the circumstance may be, gratitude comes first! It is your password that grants you access and makes you feel at home with the father!