Prayer isn’t mastered in the Classroom. Prayer that gets results comes through experience especially with those who have learned themselves how to touch the throne of God. My best learning was OJT, in labs or “practicums,” where I actually did the things we were told about. That’s what we need in the church—leaders who pray themselves and train others to do the same.
What About the Lord’s Prayer? When the disciples asked the Lord to teach them to pray, Jesus spoke the Lord’s Prayer. That prayer is the outline, the formula for effective prayer—the beginning not the end. All the ingredients for effective prayer are found in it.
- Vertical Praise and Worship: Holy be thy name. Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory
- A Team Approach: Our Father, Give us our daily bread. Forgive us; Lead us.
- A Global Vision: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven
- Intercession: Thy kingdom come,thy will be done, on earth as in heaven
- Petition: Give us this day our daily bread. Lead us not into temptation
- Confession: Forgive us our debts.
- Horizontal Love for Others: As we forgive our debtors, God will forgive us.
The Lord’s Prayer is like the skeleton that waits for muscle and sinew. Veterans who know how, can help others put flesh on the bones and learn to pray for results. Effective prayer may be learned on the knees, sitting or standing , but must be by the side of others who know how.
I have read the book of Acts often and find it strange that those first believers never used the Lord’s Prayer. However they did follow the elements in that prayer. They banded together in intercessory prayer, winning victories, achieving their mission and building solid communities of faith and love.
Holy Spirit is Vital. We can do this today, but we must ask for and receive the fullness of God’s Spirit first. Without the Spirit of Christ praying with us and through us, effective prayer isn’t possible. But the Spirit alone doesn’t make us into seasoned intercessors. We must be also be trained . Otherwise, why did Jesus take two or three years to train his disciples?
How Can This Be Done? I can think of three ways this can happen in a local church.
- Spiritual leaders, bring disciples into your prayer closet, get on your knees with them and pray with them. Let them hear your praise, your thanksgivings, your confessions, your petitions and intercessions. Let them feel your passion, your urgency, your faith, your belief that Christ will honor his word and answer.
- Or, after intense prayer for guidance, recruit disciples (as Jesus did) to participate in a prayer workshop in teams of, say, five or six. There you train them in the nitty-gritty of how to pray together for results and get them doing it.
- If your spiritual leader doesn’t do either of these, it is up to you to go to them, as the disciples went to Jesus and ask them, “Will you teach us how to pray?”
O Lord Jesus, fill us with your Holy Spirit. Please, Lord, raise up men and women who are hungry to learn how to pray for results and raise up others who can teach them how.