When I look back over my lifetime it is easy to see, I have been learning to pray. As a boy, I was taught, Now I lay me down to sleep and God is great, God is good… the solid foundational beginnings of a promising prayer life. Then came the beginners prayer… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. I call it the “beginners prayer” because in Luke 11, at the request of one of his friends, “teach us how to pray”, Jesus got his disciples off and running with the equivalent of our elementary school’s pledge of allegiance. It was an invitation to citizenship in the Kingdom, a description of how the Kingdom works and a declaration of allegiance and alliance to a sacred way.
If you want to see how Jesus prayed, you have to go to John 17. Oh, all the elements of The Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11 are in there, and yet, much much more. I believe Jesus’ prayer is recorded in the Gospel not just to show us that He prayed but to show us again, how to pray…
...My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified...
And so, I continue to learn. I have had many teachers along the way: Oswald Chambers, John Wesley, A. W. Tozer, Neal Anderson, and Dallas Willard to mention a few. None greater though than the Holy Spirit… God within me. He continues to reveal how the Kingdom works, who I am in it and How To Pray. In his new book, Moving Mountains1, John Eldredge writes,
I’m not going to try to convince you that you ought to pray. If the struggles of those you love, the heartache of the world, or your own dreams, desires and afflictions do not move you, nothing I say here would be more compelling... There is a way things work.
Learning how things work, including prayer; learning from the expert, Jesus himself, makes you and me apprentices. Gone are the days of making a list of what I need and slipping it under heaven's throne room door hoping He gets to it. The more and more I learn, the more and more oriented I become (learning who I am, where I am and the good God is up to in my life), the more I believe that what Paul asked us to do is possible.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
If prayer is a conversation—not a monologue—and above all else, I am to be connected to the one whose Image I bear, and it is His desire to communicate with me—guide, counsel, teach and correct—then learn I must. As if Life depended on it.
Dear God, Holy Trinity, you alone are worthy of praise; you alone are worthy of our heart’s alliance and allegiance. We pledge again today, hallowed be your name.
Father, we consecrate ourselves again today to the mission and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, here and now. We proclaim and set out to see your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We confess again our sin; forgive us for our unfortunate ability to wonder off. Thank you for your forgiveness, thank you for separating our sin from who we truly are. Thank you for growing us and training us into our truest selves. We confess, we need your forgiveness and love this day. We receive your forgiveness and love again this day that we would forgive and love others.
Jesus, thank you for ransoming us. Thank you for redeeming us. Thank you for your work, affording us an abundant life. We receive your Life this day. We align our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls with you, Jesus, the Author and protector of our faith. We declare we need your protection. Deliver us from evil, protect us against our enemies—the flesh, Satan, and this fallen world. Suit us up with your full armor, Jesus. Teach us how to intercede, how to pray AND what to pray as we enter into the mission of Life and Freedom today.
Holy Spirit, guide us into all truth today. Grant us discerning hearts. We pray your power and presence Holy Spirit over Zoweh, the mission, the team, and all our allies today. We pray for your power and presence over the Heart of a Warrior Weekend, all the invitations going out, all the men stepping in. We bring every aspect over the HW initiative—the book, DVD series, the journal workbook, and the weekend—under your Kingdom reign and rule. Reveal the glory of your ways to men’s hearts... grow us in Kingdom ways with eyes to see and ears to hear how to pray, what to pray, and when to pray.
Dear God, we love you and thank you and we proclaim, Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever and ever. Amen and AMEN!
Thank You, BraveHearts. Thank you for entering into the mission and ministry with us. We are so grateful to have your sword and shield, your heart, and your prayers. We are learning together and it's a new day. Come Jesus Come! Teach us how to pray.
1 Eldredge, John. (2016). Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.