In each of these categories of praise, seeking God’s will and asking for our needs, forgiveness and safety from temptation and evil, there will be different things to concentrate on and pray for in different circumstances through life but this prayer provides a “menu”, framework or pattern of what should be our priorities in prayer. You cannot say the “Lord’s prayer” and say “my” or “me” as it is “our” and “us”. This is clearly telling us that we should not just be praying for ourselves but also for others and Jesus was concerned that we would pray in unity with other believers. The church prayer meeting is not supposed to be an optional extra for a few keen Christians but a time when we join our hearts together to seek God. Matthew 18:19-20 “if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Jesus is of course everywhere by his Spirit and is with us when we pray by ourselves but he is saying that he is especially present when Christians come together to pray even if it is only a few. This is a special promise to answer united prayer and therefore a strong encouragement for us to pray together. Ephesians 6:18 “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Just in case we were not aware of the importance of prayer, Paul mentions “all” or “always” four times in this one verse! How can we pray in the Spirit at all times? This obviously cannot be in words, and certainly not set prayers, as we have to concentrate on whatever we are doing at the time but it can be an attitude of heart that is looking in dependency to God for the strength we need to live life his way. 61
- Can we be lost again? - What makes prayer work? - How can we overcome temptation? - How can we know God's guidance?