The Lord Teaches Us to Pray: The Lord's Prayer, Part 2 (Matthew Sermon 17 of 151)
May 23, 1999 | Andy Davis
A few days ago, my wife and I were at Jamestown,VA. W were standing on deck of the Susan Constant, a replica of the boat that took the settlers from England all the way to Jamestown. My mind was fixed on a couple of pumps in the middle of the Susan Constant, the bilge pumps. I said, "What a perfect illustration of prayer." You see, most of us look on prayer the way that we might look on those bilge pumps. You use it only when you really need it. When the boat starts taking on water and it begins to sink, that's when you get out the bilge pump. You only pray when you really, really need it. I really think that we should only pray when we really, really need it. But my goal is today to show you how constantly we need prayer. I began to ask questions about the bilge pump. I asking about the bilge pump, and I said, "Now, would you only use this during a storm?" He said, "No, they used it everyday, all the time." I was disappointed. “There goes my illustration.” But actually the Lord showed me the water was seeping in all the time through boards at the bottom. What they would do is they'd pump a certain number of times as they came out and count the number of pumps per hour or whatever. Then if they had to pump maybe 60 times in that hour or 60 times maybe a day or something when they first came out, and then maybe later in the voyage they're pumping 300 times, they know they've got a problem. This is way it is in our lives, I think. We're always taking on water. Is there ever a day we don't need to come to God in prayer? We should be using it all the time. So maybe prayer is like a bilge pump, it's just we don't use it properly. We overestimate our ability to make it through our lives without praying.
Prayer is a mystery and Jesus calls us to it. He teaches us how to pray. He says, "This then is how you should pray, 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.'" Let's remember our context here. We're in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, and the whole thing began with a simple statement— earth shattering, perhaps, "Blessed are the spiritual beggars for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." What is the language of a spiritual beggar? Prayer. Do we pray just once when we come to faith in Christ and then we're done with it? No, we are constantly needy, constantly spiritual beggars. So Jesus teaches us how to pray.
We see that the Lord taught, in just very, very few words, a simple prayer, a pattern prayer, a model prayer, if you will. It is broken down into three divisions when we're addressing God properly, speaking to Him. We're saying, "Our Father in heaven." He is our Father and He's very close to us. He is intimate with us. He's actually adopted us right into His family through faith in the name of Jesus Christ. The most extraordinary blessing that God has ever given us is adoption into His very family. But that He should tell us to call him Father, how great is the love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. This is balanced with the statement, "Our Father in heaven." He's a heavenly Father. And we saw in Ecclesiastes chapter 5 the statement that Solomon made. "You are on earth and God is in heaven. So let your words be few." There's a separation between us and God. He's an exalted being far above our ability to comprehend. He's powerful, He's in heaven, exalted above us. So there's that balance, intimacy and exaltation. Because of that balance, prayer is effective. In James chapter 5 it says, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and," what? "Effective." Prayer is effective because God is a Father, and because He's in heaven. He's our father, and He cares about our needs and therefore He will listen when we speak to Him. It's effective also because He's in heaven, He's powerful, He can do anything, so that there's no request we can bring to Him that He cannot deal with properly.
Earlier in Part 1 of the teaching on the Lord’s Prayer we looked at three spiritual petitions: "Hallowed be your name." "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." the focus immediately is on God's kingdom, God's name, God's glory, God's exaltation. Hallowed be your name is a prayer that God's revelation of Himself be lifted up here on earth, that people would not worship idols any longer, false representations of who He is, but that we would understand how God has revealed Himself to us in His word, and that that name would be lifted up, hallowed, exalted, held to be holy. Then there's the prayer that God's kingdom would come. We saw that God's kingdom came when Jesus entered the world. When he did that ministry, he cast out demons in His name. "The finger of God is upon you, the kingdom of God has come," said Jesus. The kingdom comes when Jesus is there with power doing his ministry. And then as he preaches, he says, "Repent." Why? "For the kingdom of heaven is at hand. It's time to repent." If you want to enter the kingdom of heaven, you must repent. And so the kingdom of heaven came, in one sense, when Jesus entered the world.
But then it advances. Remember, we saw the kingdom of heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it permeated or worked through the dough. The kingdom is advancing little by little. Each of you who have come to faith in Jesus Christ, who have crossed over from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of the son that God loves, you have made that journey, you have entered the kingdom, and the kingdom advanced a little bit more the day you came to faith in Christ. Who knows but today for some of you who don't know Jesus, the kingdom may advance when you yield to him, when you bow your knee and say, "I want Jesus as my Lord and savior." And thus, the kingdom would advance a little bit more. It’s a missionary prayer, for “your kingdom come” means let your kingdom advance throughout the world. It's also an end time prayer, that the end of the world would come, and that Jesus would return and establish His kingdom. "Your kingdom come. Amen. Lord Jesus, come," it says at the end of the Book of Revelation. At the end of I Corinthians the Scripture says, "Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come”— a prayer for the end of the world. And then finally, it expresses a burning desire that God's will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. How is God's will done in heaven? — All the way, right away, with a happy spirit. Anything short of those three is disobedience. The angels obey all the way. They do everything God says, not 90% of what God says, they do it all. And they do it right away, they don't drag their feet, they don't procrastinate, they just do the will of God, and they do it joyfully because they trust in the Father. That's what we looked at in most of the first few petitions.
Focusing on our Needs, on God, and our Dependence on God
Now we are going to look at more human-centered needs, petitions of our everyday life. But before we do, let's look at some general thoughts on the second division of the Lord's prayer. Note number one: Look at how all inclusive these petitions are. The focus is on our needs. Your Heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Our needs are basic needs: “Give us today our daily bread." Secondly, forgiveness from past sins: “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." Thirdly, protection from future sins.: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." That's the way a child of God should pray. That's the way a member of the kingdom of heaven should labor requests and petitions before God. The world tends to focus on daily needs, does it not? It cares very much about daily needs. It also cares very much about material wants and desires. And in praying, if they ever do pray, there's a selfish motive, so we could rearrange those worldly requests like this, "Give me today my daily bread. And while you're at it, give me today my daily cake; give me my luxuries. Give me my sweet things, the things I enjoy." Is that what this is about? This is about needs. We're not to pray that way, not as the world prays.
The second note is the order of petitions in the Lord's prayer. It's not an accident that we begin with the spiritual focus upon God. "Our Father in heaven. May your name be exalted, God." Do we need to say that to God? Do we need to exalt the name of God? Yes, we do. If we don't, everything gets backwards, doesn't it? It all gets confused. Life gets so complicated at that point. We get focused on ourselves, on our needs, on our cravings, and we forget that there was a Heavenly Father who created everything, who sits over everything and rules over everything. And it is needful for us to come and remind ourselves that there is a God and that His name should be exalted above all things, and that His kingdom should come and His will be done. So there's an order to this. Spiritual first, the kingdom of God and all that, and then our needs second.
But then within that second division, there's an order, and I think this may be a little surprising. We might expect that God would deal with our spiritual need first before the physical need —that we would ask for forgiveness, etcetera, and then we would pray for our daily bread. But that's not what Jesus does because he knows we are physical, and if we don't have a physical life, then there's not much point in continuing with these needs. So we should pray that our physical needs will be met first. Not that they are of a higher priority logically, but just because that's the way Jesus did ministry. Remember when Jesus fed the 5,000 in John chapter six? The next day, he teaches them the spiritual truth. He said, "Do not work for the food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which I will give you." It wouldn't make much sense to go to a famine stricken area and start preaching the gospel while there's people laying emaciated on the ground. There's basic physical needs first, we'll pray for that, and pray that our bodies would be sustained, and then comes the spiritual needs.
The third note is our total dependence on God for everything. Prayer is an act of humble dependence. It's an act of bowing the knee and saying, "I can't, but you can." And in that way, it's very humbling for us. Give us today our daily bread. Do we really need to ask God for our daily bread? I remember on a mission trip in Kenya, I ate well. The Kenyan people have good crops, etcetera, but there isn't what we would say the variety of bread,for example, that you're going to get at your average grocery store. When I came back, I was absolutely stunned by the different varieties of bread in an average American supermarket. English muffins, rye, wheat, multi-gain, cinnamon —much variety. Do we really need to come and ask God that he would provide us our daily bread? Yes, it’s at the local supermarket. Yes, but where did it come from? God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. How easy it is for us to forget that. Maybe we should read the early chapters of Deuteronomy in which God gave the people a warning, He said, "You know, when you come in there and you settle in cities you didn't build, and when you eat and harvest crops you didn't plant, you're going to forget me, and you're going to think it was all right here." Has that happened to some Americans? Oh, yes. "Give us today our daily bread" is a humbling prayer. We tend to rely on our technology with schools of agriculture that teach us how to hybrid wheat and other things so that we will always have a harvest no matter what. We rely on our technology. We don't need to ask God for food, we just know how to do it. When we were in Japan, we saw a large building at the Osaka Pharmaceutical plant where they had grown over many years, out of one seed, a tomato vine which reached three or four stories high, totally climate controlled inside with special lighting that they had designed. They were reaping many tomatoes. They give you a bag if you just stood there. Just every day, these big rich tomatoes. What I thought was outstanding was the arrogance behind it as they were describing it. They said, "We don't need the sun. We don't need the rain, we just can harvest tomatoes all the time." I'm sad to see that same attitude sometimes in our own hearts. We don't need God for our daily food anymore. Jesus says otherwise. "Give us today our daily bread." So, humble dependence on God for everything.
The Focus of the Lord’s Prayer on our Needs
Let's look a little more carefully at each of these petitions. We've been talking about them in general. Let's look in more detail. It says, "Give us today our daily bread." We're talking here about basic necessities, and yes, bread, to some degree symbolizes everything we need. Look at your body. What would you say your body needs to survive? You need air to breathe and water and food. Nutritionists tell you that you need all different kinds of food groups, different vitamins and other things. We don't really just need bread, do we? We need a whole realm of things, and God knows what we need before we ask. But “bread” symbolizes basic physical needs. Water to drink, air to breathe, all these things provided as we pray and as we seek God in this matter. We need God to give it to us. If He doesn't give it to us, we won't have it. That's the whole point. Humble dependence. It also says, ”Give us today our daily bread." Daily bread. It reminds me of the story of the collection of the manna in the Old Testament. The Israelites were out in the desert and there was no food. God knew what they needed before they asked. He said, "I know what you need. I will provide for you." They woke up the next morning and there was manna on the ground. All they had to do was go out and collect it, but they were under strict orders that five days of the week that would collect only one day's rations, only enough for their family for one day. Now what would happen if they collected two days worth of bread? It got moldy and had worms and maggots. What was God teaching? You have to come to me every day. You can't store it up, alright? Day after day after day, and then you don't need me anymore. That's the very problem we meet at the end of this chapter in Matthew 6 that birds do not sow, or reap, or store away in barns. We store away in barns. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you start to trust in the barn and you lose trust for God, then there's a problem. This brings us back to humble dependence again. When we sit down and eat and say thank you, we've seen an answer to prayer, "Give us today our daily bread."
Notice I think the remarkable, the even amazing juxtaposition, the side by side of these exalted prayers for God's kingdom and God's will. "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread." Do you see the range there? That the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of God and that everyone would do His will, and that along the way we'd have enough to eat. Isn't that remarkable, the scale of God? Does God really care about great things and little things? Yes, He does. I've actually talked to people before as I've witnessed and reached out, and some people say, "God is too busy spinning the planets, too busy out there running the universe to care about my little needs." Do you know what this seemingly humble statement is doing? It's putting a limitation on God. They look on God somewhat like He were an inefficiently-run government agency, where your request is stacked up in an inbox and He'll get to it as He can, allow six to eight weeks for delivery, that kind of thing. Is that God? God says that a sparrow doesn't fall to the ground apart from the will of your Heavenly Father, and even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. God's not like that inefficient government agency that can't get around to the requests in time. He can handle it all. "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread." The whole thing God can handle, everything. Yet He begins by lifting our minds up off of our earthly needs, our temporary needs unto His exaltation. That's where we need to start. "Hallowed be your name."
Also notice the corporate concern here, the body language. “Give us today our daily bread." There are people starving in the world and that's a real problem. I don't think a preacher would be fair in not dealing with the issue of starvation, of world hunger. This is the beginning of the answer, when we have a corporate view of this. We're praying not just that I would have enough to eat, but that we would have enough to eat. Give us today our daily bread. It's not just whether I have enough, but does my Christian brother or sister have enough? Even my non-Christian neighbor. As it says in Galatians 6:10, "Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers." Priority first to the kingdom of heaven. But then as we reach out, we meet physical needs of others just as Jesus did.
I'd like to underscore something I spoke of earlier. The world focuses on daily needs, does it not? It cares very much about daily needs. It also cares very much about material wants and desires. And in praying, if the worldly ever do pray, there's a selfish motive, so we could rearrange those worldly requests like this, "Give me today my daily bread. And while you're at it, give me today my daily cake. Give me my luxuries. Give me my sweet things, the things I enjoy." Is that what this is about? God does not promise us luxuries. He does not promise us a comfortable, easy life. This is about needs, not about wants. How easy it is to forget Genesis 3:17. This is a statement made by God to Adam, "By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken. For dust you are, and to dust you will return." Are we still under that? Yes, we are. We have to wrestle, struggle for our daily bread, but God does provide it for us. So we're not talking about luxuries. We're not talking about an easy, comfortable life. We're talking about a humble dependence on God for our basic needs. Paul says this, "If we have food and clothing, with that we will be content. “I’ve learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want, I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Contentment comes when you're able to discern the difference between a need and a want, and trust God for your needs and for your wants as well, but not be too concerned whether you're leading a luxurious comfortable, easy life.
The Focus of the Lord’s Prayer on Forgiveness
The second petition that we're going to look at today is forgiveness for present sins. "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors." This is a tremendous need — forgiveness of sins from God. Guilt for sin is a very real force in our lives. One Christian psychiatrist asked the question somewhat humorously, "Why is it that people feel guilty?" Because they are guilty. That's the reason we feel guilty because we do wrong things. If we didn't, we wouldn't feel guilty. And so we do need to pray this prayer, "Forgive us our debts, Lord." It cleanses us from guilt. It cleanses us from a feeling of guilt before God. Guilt is like a cancer that eats life out from the inside. Have you ever met a really bitter or unforgiving person? Are they happy? Their life has been eaten up from inside. "Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” We have two main difficulties here. Question number one is, why should I confess my sins if I'm already forgiven? Why do I need to confess my sins if all my sins, past, present, and future are forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ? We read in Romans chapter 3 that we're justified by faith in Christ alone. So we have to ask, "I mean, if I'm really cleansed then why do I need to do this?" Shouldn't we cut this little section out of the disciples' prayer and just leave it out? Jesus left it in there. This is for those who say, "Our Father in heaven." Those who are already children of God need to pray, "Forgive us our debts." We need to have cleansing and ongoing cleansing.
The second question is, "Is God's forgiveness of me dependent on my forgiveness of other people?" This question really comes more acute in verse 14 and 15. It says, "If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Doesn't that seem in some way that we are, either one, working our way to salvation by being forgiving to others, or, two, that we could lose our salvation if we start being unforgiving to other people? Let's look at these difficulties. The first thing in terms of confessing of sin is best illustrated by the foot washing of Peter’s feet by Christ. It was the night before Jesus died and the disciples were together and the conversation right before the foot washing was an argument about which of them was greatest. The night before Jesus dies on the cross for their sin they're having an argument about who's greatest. And what does Jesus do? Instead of saying "now you shouldn't argue about these kind of things." What does he do? He gets up, he takes his robe off, puts that servant's towel around his waist, gets a bowl of water and begins to wash the disciples’ feet. How humbling. Would you let Jesus wash your feet? To see Jesus down there so humiliated, washing my feet.
He comes to Peter who says what everyone else is thinking. That's Peter, he's a mouth piece, he just says what people are thinking. He says "Lord, you shall never wash my feet.” Moments later, Jesus is washing his feet. So much for Peter's prediction of the future. Why didn't he want Jesus to wash his feet? … It's humbling. Jesus simply said , ”If I don't wash you, you have no part with me. I have to wash you, I have to cleanse you from sin. "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me, you can't go to Heaven. So Peter, the extremist, goes the other way, "Alright then Lord, not just my feet, but my hands and my head as well. Give me the whole bath then, Jesus, because I really want to be with you." Jesus has an answer for that as well. He said, "A person who has bathed needs only to wash his feet. His whole body is clean, and you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you." Because they believe the gospel, they're clean, but their feet need to be washed. We're talking a kind of symbolism here. As we walk along life, our feet get dirty. You should say yes to Jesus’ foot washing. It says in 1 John 1:8, "If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned we make God out to be a liar and His truth has no place in our lives." Christians do need to confess sin so that we can continue walking in fellowship with God, so that we can, as it says in Galatians 5, "Keep in step with the spirit, stay close to Him and walk with Him." Sin separates us from God and we need to confess our sin to get back right with Him.
Now, in terms of whether our forgiveness of sins is dependent on whether we forgive other people or not, I think that whole thing gets it backwards. Let's look at it this way. He who has forgiven much, loves much. He who has forgiven little, loves little. He who has forgiven not at all, what? Doesn't love at all. So we could say that anybody who's truly forgiven by Jesus Christ will be a forgiving person, characterized by forgiveness. And you know why? Because God, Jesus Christ is going to take your spiritual arm and put it behind your back and move it up like that and say, "Now listen. I forgave all that debt of yours because you begged me to. How is it you can't forgive this brother or sister?” He'll use a preacher like me or somebody else to just use the word of God. Remember the example in Matthew 18, "You owe 10,000 talents." Remember that story? "10,000 talents. More than the gross national product of the Roman Empire, As in the parable, God says “That's what you owed, and I cleansed you from all of it. How can you possibly not forgive when somebody else comes to you for forgiveness?" He's going to make you forgive, because the Holy Spirit lives in you and it's a spirit of forgiveness. And so we say, "Blessed are the merciful. For they, and they alone, will receive mercy." We need to get the logical order here. We do not forgive, or God does not forgive us because we forgive others. No, we forgive others because God has first forgiven us. Understand this, that all forgiveness, "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors," our forgiveness of others, God's forgiveness of us, all of it flows from the same place: The cross of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus just flows down and cleanses us. The blood of Jesus flows through us as we're extending to others the forgiveness. All true forgiveness comes through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The Focus of the Lord’s Prayer on Temptation
The final Petition here is this, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." We live in a dangerous world, and I'm not just talking about shootings. Shootings are dangerous, but there is a greater danger to your soul, and that is temptation, evil. Temptation pulls on you all the time, doesn't it? It pulls you away from God and into sin. Sin is devastating. It's something that should be fought with every fiber of strength you have in your being. So this is a prayer for protection from future sins. We live in a dangerous world because we have a dangerous foe. The right translation of this verse is not, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil." The right translation is, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one." Who is the evil one? It's Satan. Do you know that you have an intelligent, personal adversary or foe who seeks to make your life miserable through his temptations? It says, "Be self-controlled and alert," this is in 1 Peter 5, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”
I get a picture here of a story told of General Norman Schwarzkopf when he was in Vietnam. At one point in Vietnam he wandered into the midst of a mine-field with his men, and some of his men had already been injured, perhaps killed, and he was in trouble. He knew that anywhere his men moved that they might step on a mine, and they might be permanently maimed or killed. The story went that he called in some helicopters, and they lifted the men right up out of that field. That's a good picture for me in this world. As we move into temptation, it's like moving into a mine-field and you don't really know which way to turn. We're praying for deliverance even from the evil one, and deliverance from all of his wiles and his schemes and his plans and plots. We should be aware of what he's doing.
A little while ago, I noticed that my house, which has well water, had no whole house filter in it. The water I was drinking was just a little bit dirty, a little cloudy. Someone told me that I needed a filter. I went and got a filtering system and put it in, and the cartridge worked for a while and did great and the water got cleaned up, and then the cartridge clogged. I looked at all these particles that I had been drinking. That's what a filter does. You're wondering what am I talking about with this filter here. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says this, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” Do you see the words in there? "He will not allow. He will not permit. He will not let you... " That is filter language. He will not allow it to come to you. "He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able to bear, but with the temptation, will provide a way of escape so that you can bear up under it." God stands up there, and for His children, He filters out and says, “No, not that one. No, not that one either. No, not that one either." Do you remember Satan's frustration with God concerning Job ? "God, haven't you put a hedge around Job? I can't get to him." That's right, the protection, the filter. He's not going to allow something to come to you that you can't handle.
Neither is God going to entice you into evil. It says in James 1:13, "God does not tempt anyone to evil, but each one is tempted by his own evil desires. When the desire comes and overthrows and drags us away." We know that. But God is going to filter it out and Satan can't get at you, except as God permits. Don't you feel safe? Don't you feel secure? When you pray, "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one," you're praying that God would do that 1 Corinthians 10:13 filtering in your life. Do it, God. Protect me from evil. Protect me from myself. Protect me from my sin. Don't let my family be destroyed. Don't let my harvest be uprooted. Protect me from sin, God. Keep me safe.
In the New International Version, there is no final doxology. It's in the King James Version, "For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever. Amen." And why isn't it the NIV? It's in a footnote, I think it. Some late manuscripts say, "For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and... " What does that mean, some late manuscripts? The original Gospel of Matthew has been lost. Copies were disseminated. There are thousands of them, thousands and thousands and thousands, some of them very old, some of them a little bit newer. Some of the manuscripts have the doxology, some of them don't. How do you know which is which? I think the general rule is that the the older the manuscript and the better quality it is, the more we can trust it. It is not in the oldest and best manuscripts. Is there anything wrong with it? Absolutely not. It's absolutely beautiful. It's a beautiful way to end the Lord's Prayer. So go ahead and pray it. When you finish the Lord's Prayer say, "Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever and ever." And don't trouble yourself too much about manuscripts. It's a beautiful way to end, a doxology, a word of praise that refocuses your mind back on God and on His Kingdom and on what He desires for us.
You have not because you ask not. You should be on your knees praying. May I urge you to plan out your prayer life? Vacation time is an illustration of this. How many of you would go on a two-week vacation without planning? How many of you would say, "Hey, let's jump in the car and let's just go"? Would you ever take a vacation that way? Well, why do you treat your prayer life that way? Why do you do nothing to attend to your prayer life? Why do you not assess your prayer life and say, "How is it going? Am I growing in prayer or am I sliding back? Am I stronger in prayer now than I was a year ago or weaker? How are my intercessions? How's my faith? Am I trusting God for anything?" Assess your prayers. Say, "God, make me a prayer warrior, change my prayer life." Plan it out. Don't just assume it's going to happen. But when you pray, pray like this, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine, for yours, is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.”