Anglican Morning Devotion for 28 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches Worldwide
“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. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3Give us day by day our daily bread. 4And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (LUKE 11:1-4; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
This is not a direct commentary on the Lord’s Prayer as we have covered that in other devotions, but rather upon certain points germane to our petitions we make to a Sovereign Lord.
In the above text, the disciples ask to be taught to pray as John the Baptist had taught his disciples. Our Lord had already given the perfect format for prayer in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:9-11; however, He here renders an abbreviation of the first prayer for the sake of simple minds. The disciples desired some sort of formula for prayer, but simple prayer is always the best formula. One salient point stands out in this exemplary prayer the Lord taught us – we ask for nothing beyond the daily needs for bread, and then, for forgiveness of our sins, for the latter is always expedient to the petitioner.
When and where we pray may be learned from the personal characteristics in prayer of our Lord. He most often prayed alone away from the intrusions of the world – in His closet (His veil over His face), on mountains (more secluded from opposing attractions), in a ‘certain place’ (an accustomed place that was His resort), or even to the wilderness. Outward refinement was not a characteristic in the Lord’s praying. He prayed in places both desolate and secluded for His focus was not on the surrounding environment, but upon the high Throne of His Father. (see also Luke 3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; & 9:28-29) Luke mentions the prayers of the Lord more than any other of the Gospels.
So, taking our counsel of both the Lord’s Words and of His example, perhaps we can glean some particular points on praying that might aid us in our approach to prayer.
First of all, it is important to know that the heart’s best hope is not in the words we pray, but the need out of which we pray: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (MATTHEW 6:7-8) No manner of polished speaking can impress the Author of the Holy Bible Himself.
- Get alone with God: When we pray, seek out a place in which there is the least intrusion of the noise of commerce and worldly conversation. The Voice of the Holy Ghost may be drowned out by the vulgar noises of the nightclub. Get into a place at which you can listen for God’s response to prayer. “Pray to thy Father which is in secret.” (Matthew 6:6) If God is in secret, perhaps we should be as well.
- Pray always in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (JOHN 14:13 et al)
- Ask with precise meaning: “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?” (LUKE 18:41) Though the Lord knows our needs and desires before we ask them, He loves to hear our requests as a father loves to hear the appeals of his children.
- Pray with importunity: “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” (LUKE 11:5-8)
- Pray with incessance: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” (LUKE 18:1)
- Pray in the spirit of truth and love: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
- Pray expecting and accepting the answer whether ‘yes’ or ‘no’. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (LUKE 11:9)
One last point, prayer from a heart that regards iniquity will not be heard. (see Psalms 66:18)