By: Robert Perry
I was a missionary in Hong Kong for 15 years. One of my areas was intercession. I led prayer meetings on a regular basis for many years. Through this experience, I learned why I some times found these meetings to be a bit depressing. Jesus was very clear in Matthew 6:9-13 and again in Luke 11:2-4 on how we should pray. We call this “The Lord’s Prayer.” Actually, it is suppose to be “our” prayer. It is a guideline that is rich in insight and wisdom.
More background: I led daily intercession times of 1.5 hours. We prayed for the mission’s work and workers. I had a few who would come to the meetings and begin their prayers, asking God to forgive us for our many sins. Much of the time was committed to this verbalization of sins the participants believed the community was guilty of. I did not experience much joy or freedom in these prayer times. I believe there is a place for this in intercession, but not until we are in the right frame of mind and heart. I don’t think God wants us to come to him and start confessing sins? Let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer. It is a guideline that instructs us a good order of things when we pray. I believe this to be true in our own personal prayer lives as well as in corporate prayer.
The first 2 words: “Our Father”. I love to meditate on these 2 words. “Our” means we are not alone. We are in a family and we have something very special in common. We have a “Father”. So, the first 2 words should be how we begin to pray or intercede. We acknowledge these facts and praise God for them. We “think on these things” and rejoice in them. God cares about relationship. Spending time with this brings us to a place of gratitude and helps put our focus in the right place.
We go on to recognize that God is in Heaven and thus in control. We worship Him (Hallowed be Thy name). His kingdom come and will be done; not our agenda.
Then we ask for our daily bread (intercession requests) Give us this day.
Now we ask forgiveness. Imagine the the difference in our hearts and state of mind when we ask her rather than at the very beginning. Chances are that if we did it in the beginning we would be in the flesh.
What a difference this makes in the atmosphere of the prayer closet.
I thank God for His wise instruction to us in this simple, but very powerful prayer.