1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:
” ‘Our Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.
this same prayer is completed in Matthew 6 with this:
but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
But, have you considered that we get to partner with God as He brings His Kingdom?? How? Through prayer, also known as “intercession”! More specific, through corporate intercession. If you look at this passage, it really is quite clear.
In the Luke 11 passage, Jesus has just finished praying. It’s not completely defined, but it seems that His disciples were with Him, and perhaps He was leading them in a time of prayer. But, one of them, probably being struck with the power and authority in Jesus’ manner of prayer, asks Him to teach them how to do “that”. Jesus responds by giving them an outline model of how to pray. If you take time to dissect the different parts, it’s really a great study (perhaps for another post?).
Now, we should consider here that Jesus is the “Great Intercessor”. He is the One who has and always will “live to intercede” for us:
but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
Intercession is the way that Jesus runs His Kingdom (also seen in Revelation 4-5). And this kingdom, His government, is ever expanding and increasing (Isaiah 9). As He was praying this day, He was ruling His government, from Earth, through prayer. His disciple was looking for an invitation into this glorious governmental expression.
Jesus was more than happy to oblige. He shows them how to approach God, what the primary focus of this prayer is, and the way it’s meant to happen:
1. Worship the Father (“our Father.. hallowed be Your name”)
2. Focus on the Kingdom (“Your Kingdom come . . “)
3. Don’t just pray alone, in fact, the way to do it is TOGETHER, i.e. corporate prayer.
I hear you saying, “Ok, I get the worship part and the kingdom part, but where do you see corporate prayer?” Well, it’s almost so obvious that it’s easy to miss. It’s through the whole prayer!
Give us . . .
Forgive us . . .
Lead us . . .
Deliver us . . .
All of the words in the prayer are plural pronouns, as if you’re praying this WITH others. It’s a little odd to be praying for “us” when you’re alone, isn’t it? Think about it.
I added in the Matthew 6 version of the passage because it goes even further to illustrate that us doing this TOGETHER and in right relationship with others is essential to prayer working right (if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven).
This does not replace the power and necessity of personal prayer/devotion. Remember Jesus also instructed, “when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and the Father who sees what is done in secret…” (Matthew 6:6). Prayer is not just a show to do the “religious” thing. If the only place you ever prayed was in front of others, you might find yourself in the camp of the “hypocrites” of which He is speaking . .
But, what I’m highlighting here is what I see as the very misunderstood power and necessity of corporate intercession. Am I simply trying to get more people to show up to our weekly prayer meeting. No, but if you understand what is being said, you might just WANT to show up there…. and anywhere else where people are praying!!
It’s our grand privilege and honor to join with Jesus in the ministry of intercession!! Why wouldn’t you want to?