Evangelistic Prayer

It is no small thing that the apostle Paul, uber church planter, would ask the churches to pray for his effectiveness in spreading the gospel. I never had a course in logic, but I figure if Paul needed the Spirit’s help, then we do too.

Below are Paul’s evangelistic requests, summarized in four key words. We can’t go wrong adopting his requests as our own. We should pray for:

OPPORTUNITY

“At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.” (Col 4:3)

CLARITY

“[Pray] that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” (Col 4:4)

BRAVERY

“[Pray] that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.” (Eph 6:19)

RECEPTIVITY

“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.” (2 Thess 3:1)

Father, please open a door for me to speak of Christ crucified and risen. And when that door opens, give me the boldness to walk through it and the ability to make the good news of salvation clear. Finally, grant a receptive heart in the hearer so that your word may be honored through repentance and faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

King David Had Ups and Downs

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. (Psalm 4:7)

I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. (Psalm 6:6)

In some days happiness. In other days sadness. In all days prayer.

Jesus Left Out “In Jesus’ Name”

image

When Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, he left out the phrase “in Jesus’ name.” Was it an oversight? A slip of the divine mind? Everyone knows that a prayer doesn’t count without saying those words! Yet in the Lord’s Prayer–our model for praying–Jesus doesn’t include them.

Father,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread,

and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

And lead us not into temptation.

(Luke 11:2-4)

Though the phrase “in Jesus’ name” isn’t present, the Lord’s Prayer is a prayer in Jesus’ name. The first word makes it so, and every successive line depends upon it.

Father – How can one rightly address God as Father? Only through Jesus. By trusting in the Son of God, you can pray as a child of God. The Son’s Father becomes your Father when you receive the Son by faith (cf. John 1:12; Gal 3:26). Outside of Jesus, you can’t get past the first word of the Lord’s Prayer.

Hallowed be your name – Can a person honor God as holy while dishonoring Jesus? Jews and Muslims try to do so. Yet “no one who denies the Son has the Father” (1 John 2:23). To hallow God’s name necessitates hallowing Jesus’ name.

Your kingdom come – Is there any other way for God’s kingdom to come except through Jesus? It’s a laughable question. Jesus is the King.

Give us each day our daily bread – Through whom do we receive all the blessings of the Father? Jesus has purchased grace for every need.

Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us – Is any sin forgiven apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus? God pardons our sin in no other name.

Lead us not into temptation – On what basis does the Father empower us to escape temptation if not through the Spirit of Jesus, who triumphed over sin and Satan?

Jesus didn’t include the phrase “in Jesus’ name” in the Lord’s Prayer, but he didn’t have to. From the opening address to God as Father, through each petition that follows, the Lord’s Prayer is profoundly dependent upon the person and work of Jesus.

So, don’t think of “in Jesus’ name” as a mechanical, or even a magical, conclusion to prayer. Much better would be to pray your entire prayer with Jesus in mind, because you grasp how gloriously central he is to everything God is doing in the world and in your life.