A monthly column by farmer, preacher and writer for Jesus, Angus Buchan
Prayer is very prominent and pre-eminent in my life, after having experienced possibly the largest Christian prayer meeting this world has ever seen, which took place in Bloemfontein April 22 2017. How will we ever forget that day? I seem to be spending more time in prayer than in preparation for preaching, because I am finally understanding after walking with Jesus for almost 40 years the importance of James 5:16 (NKJV), The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
The Lord’s Prayer
I remember the disciples desperately asking the Lord Jesus Christ to teach them how to pray. Then Jesus taught them the Lord’s prayers found in Matthew 6:9-13,
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
It is an absolute complete prayer. There’s nothing needed to add to it and there’s nothing to be taken away from it. Many new Christians say to me that they don’t know how to pray when they have their ‘quiet time’ and I encourage them to pray the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a good starter and I am still praying that prayer after all these years.
What saddens me sometimes is when I go to church services and people never seem to pray the Lord’s Prayer. It is a fundamental part of Christianity and we have to pray the Lord’s Prayer. It’s like saying you’re not going to have Holy Communion any more. These are the pillars of which our faith is built upon. I want to encourage fathers to teach their small children to say the Lord’s Prayer every night before they go to bed. Some people say that our prayers must not be repetitious — that is true, Jesus said that Himself too, but if you teach your children when they are young how to pray the Lord’s prayer, then when they grow older and especially when they are in dire straits, and in trouble they will remember that beautiful prayer.
The other important thing is to mean what you pray. So, if you ask the Lord to forgive you of your trespassers and you are not prepared to forgive your brother who has done you harm, then the Lord’s Prayer is not effective in your life, because we need to implement what we are praying.
God answers prayers
Prayer is not something easily to attain, because it appears that it is one-way traffic and you are not hearing from God, but I can assure you that the more you pray the better you will become at it. When I pray I will stop and take time to be quiet, and God will answer my prayers. Not audibly (never had that privilege), but He will answer my prayers with the peace that He gives me in my heart, the confidence that He gives me through reading The Word of God systematically and sometimes just out of the blue getting a phone call from a man, or woman of God that I respect greatly and they will actually confirm just what I had been asking God, and that is of course miraculous. There are other times when there is no answer and by the way, no answer is also an answer.
Some of us pray, but we are expecting God to answer our prayers in the way in which we want. It doesn’t work like that. God is God! He is not our equal. He is our Creator and He knows what’s best for us. He will sometimes answer a prayer in a manner that we do not want. For example, if you fall in love with a young man and you want God to make a way for you to get married, but the Lord closes the door. You might get highly upset with God, only to find out a year down the road that the right man comes into your life and you thank God that He didn’t answer your prayer the way in which you had wanted. Otherwise you would have been married to the wrong man and you would have had a terrible life.
So we need to ask God and then trust Him for the answers. The more you walk with the Lord the more you need to pay. I can measure a man’s depth of Christianity by the amount of time he spends in prayer. If he spends five minutes a day communing with God, I doubt if he is even born again. Smith Wigglesworth the famous Yorkshire plumber, who God used to literally raise the dead, used to say “I don’t pray for any longer than half an hour. However, I do not let half an hour past without praying.” Prayer must become part of our lifestyle and it must not be an issue. We can pray when we are in the aeroplane, on the tractor, on the farm, at school, at University, at home, at hospital or even in prison. Remember the old saying, “When men work, they work, but when men pray God works.”
If the Lord’s Prayer was good enough for Jesus Christ it is good enough for you and I.
May God bless you as you start to pray that prayer regularly.
Yours in Christ
Angus and Jill Buchan