home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 June 17 Praying Prayers


The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

¶ Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1


Put simply, prayer is talking to God. It can be done by speaking audibly to God. It can be done silently. It can be done in writing. For those who do not understand what prayer is, it is – at least what they think is – a way to make God do what they want. While it is true that we can submit our requests to God in prayer (Phil. 4:6), true prayer actually begins by submitting ourselves to God first (Rom. 12:1). The person who begins to pray by telling God what to do is bound to be disappointed with God when they eventually discover that it is God who wants to tell them what to do! Perhaps this is why “unanswered prayers” is offered as one of the main reasons why atheists do not believe in God (even though it reveals the gravitational pull on every human soul to seek and connect with God).

Prayer is a mystery. Why does the all-powerful Supreme Being invite us, His creatures, to have direct access to Him through prayer? This is astounding! But even more astounding is that He invites us to share in His government over our world through prayer to Him! Notice the opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer:

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:9-10

It is almost like the parent who has not only provided their growing child with a comfortable bedroom in a comfortable family home that they can call (and to some extent, make – by their decorations and furnishings) their own, who then must ask their child for permission to enter. Even after they have told their child to tidy their room, the parent still enters after their child has left for school and does the last of the tidying up that their child didn’t notice (and still doesn’t even afterwards). There are times of course, when the child may be overwhelmed by the task to tidy their room. In those moments they may call out to their father, “Can you help me?” I sometimes see this as being like our prayers to God. He has given us our lives; He has given us our world; He has told us to keep them tidy; and, there are times when it is just too overwhelming to do it. It is in these times that we call out to Him for help. And just as our earthly parents love to help their children, our heavenly Father loves to help His children who call out to Him for help. 

Our prayers express our trust in God. When we pray to God we are acknowledging our dependence upon Him. The highest prayers we can pray sound very similar to the highest prayers ever prayed which were recorded by the Gospel writers, Matthew (Matt. 26:39) and Luke, who recorded what Christ prayed just prior to Him entering into His suffering for the sins of the world:

[Jesus knelt down] saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Luke 22:42

This is the greatest example of a prayer ever prayed. It models exactly what prayer is about – 

  1. surrender to God “not My will” (this is the essence of worship); 
  2. trust in God “but Your will be done”;
  3. talking to God “Father…”; and 
  4. then submitting a request to God “remove this cup [of suffering] from Me.”



Jesus taught His followers how not to pray. 

¶ “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.¶ “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:5-7

Praying is talking to our heavenly Father. It is not done merely to impress others. Jesus called this type of praying hypocritical. It is not a matter of having the right words, more words, long words, or even many words. Our praying should come from our hearts to God. Because praying is firstly an act of our surrender to God, we do not pray with a tone of telling God what He must do or how He is to do it. When we pray, we are not talking to the devil or any evil spirit – we keep addressing our heavenly Father when we pray. And when we are praying we are addressing the Only One who declares and decrees what will be, therefore we do not declare to the air what things must happen or how they are to happen.



Jesus praying.Jesus spent time by Himself and prayed for certain people. This is remarkable. Jesus told Peter that He had been praying for him that his faith would not fail and that after he had been restored he would be able to strengthen his fellow disciples (Luke 22:32). How much more then, should we be praying for one another? When Jesus reached the tomb of His dead friend Lazarus, His praying for this moment had all been done. Thus, His prayer before raising Lazarus from dead was remarkably short:

So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that You sent Me.”When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
John 11:41-44

It’s also amazing to me that as well as Jesus praying for Peter – and each of His other disciples (John 17:9-11) – He also prayed for all future believers yet-to-be-born!

¶ “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
John 12:20-21

This tells me that I can pray for my great great great grand-children who are yet to be born to love God and walk after Him with all their heart. It also tells me that I can pray for our church family who, in two or three or four hundred years time, will be a witness to their community just as we are being a witness to ours now.

And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.
Luke 10:2

Jesus often spent time on His own praying (Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; 11:1; 22:41). He prayed for the will of God to be done and taught His disciples to do the same (Matt. 6:10). Perhaps this may mean that praying to God does something profound to us in the process. Quite possibly, praying for God’s will to be accomplished in the earth transforms our hearts and minds to be conformed to God’s will in the process. If this is the case then it might be worth our while examining the prayers that were prayed in the Bible – particularly by Jesus and His apostles as recorded in the New Testament epistles. By praying these prayers we may also become conformed to them and discover two beautiful things. Firstly, our hearts enter a rest with our Saviour even in the midst of any turmoil we may be encountering. This is what we see Jesus doing in Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed. Secondly, our souls find peace with God as we openly and transparently commune our petitions to Him and ask our Daddy to join us in our moments of overwhelming mess to help us to clean up what we could never manage on our own. This is why we should pray these prayers. Let’s pray.

Your Pastor,


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Perhaps I was a little unfair to this gentleman though, because it is a well established fact that all men are born with selective hearing (as every wife can testify to) and perhaps this may sometimes spill over into incidents such as the one I just recounted(?). But I also suspect that some women have a similar deficiency.

A few years ago the kids and I were a little concerned about Kim’s hearing difficulties. As it turned out, one day outside a shopping centre that we had just arrived at, there was a government sponsored mobile hearing clinic. We urged the reluctant Kim to go in and have her hearing checked. Much to the utter shock of myself and our children the clinician told Kim that she had “perfect hearing”! This then proved that even women may be able to imitate the innate ability of a man to produce selective hearing 🙂 Therefore, there is a high likelihood that both men and women are equally subject to hearing difficulties.

The problem with any hearing difficulties is that it inevitably leads to the far more serious problem of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is at the heart of nearly every relationship problem that anyone will ever face. Misunderstandings due to mis-hearing or mis-communication frequently leads to disputes that if not handled correctly, which it is mostly not, is likely to lead to relationship breakdowns. But there is a different – almost secretive – way to deal with misunderstandings. Let me explain by using several pictures that will make my point. 


Mark Lowry is normally comedic. But his now classic Christmas song is no joke! It presents baby Jesus as the eternal God the Son, the creator of heaven and earth, the Saviour of the world, the Redeemer of all humankind who turn to Him, the all-conquering Lamb of God, and the Great Judge of all people, the I AM. The event of His miraculous conception is known as the incarnation (God becoming human). But the incarnation was not Jesus the Christ’s first entrance into our world. In fact, it is as though He felt a divine right to enter our world any time He chose. These various appearances of Jesus prior to His incarnation are referred to as theophanies (appearances of God) or more particularly as Christophanies (appearances of God the Son). I want to highlight one of these in particular…


We have all seen parents abruptly terminate conversations with other adults to keep an eye on their children. Children can wander about easily. They could get involved in acts that are detrimental to themselves. Parental instincts, often reflected more in the mother, is one of those protective gifts that ensures children are kept safe.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 6 – The deGorified Newborn The ReGlorified Lamb of God

One of my favourite stories of concealed identity hiding in plain sight is from Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Miserables, where the escaped convict, Jean Valjean, is pursued for years by now retired Inspector Javert. As it turns out Jean Valjean, who had changed his name to M. Madeleine has now become a successful business man and the Mayor of Toulon. Javert arrives in Toulon and is immediately recognised by Valjean. But Javert does not recognise the now clean-shaven, genteel aristocratic Mayor of Toulon as his nemesis. But when he observes the compassion of M. Madeleine he recalls the time in prison when Jean Valjean had also displayed a similar extraordinary compassion for unfortunate fellow prisoners. The more he observed such acts of kindness and generosity from M. Madeleine the more Javert became convinced of the true identity of Madeleine. There is something about this idea of concealed identity that comes from the story of Christ. The prophet Isaiah foretold that when the Servant of the LORD would appear He would be largely unrecognised – there would be no form, no beauty, that we would desire Him (Isa. 53:2). But how on earth was this possible? How in God’s Name  could those who were created by Him in His image not recognise Him for who He was? The answer to this great puzzle lies in one word: the kenosis.


Andrew, on occasions, used to wistfully say, “You know, all I really want is…” then he would say some ephemeral pleasure, like ‘a drink of coke’, or ‘quiet’, or ‘to get something finished’. So, one day I decided to ensure that his greatest desire (‘all I really want’) was met. This time all he ever wanted was a coffee, so I bounced up and brought him the best cup of coffee I could make and added a little yummy treat to compliment it. A few days later he once again said, “All I really want…” and I interrupted to finish his sentence for him … “was the cup of coffee that I was able to make for you the other day. I bet it was the best ever. I’m so glad I could meet that greatest desire you have.” He never said, ‘All I really want’ again!


THE LORDSHIP of JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 5 – He is the Creator of Heaven & Earth and all things Visible and Invisible
While the pagan religions in the days of the patriarchs, judges, and kings of Israel, all conceived of their gods as territorial, the God of Israel, Yeshua, declared that He was the Creator of all things and that He was Lord of Heaven and Earth. And He still is.

Freedom in Christ encompasses Freedom FROM and Freedom FOR

God offers freedom to those who turn to Him in faith, and this, as Pastor Andrew says, deserves a Toyota jump. It is worth celebrating. The freedom the New Testament speaks of is not just any old freedom. In Romans 8:21 Paul speaks of ‘the glorious freedom of God’s children’ (NET). In the same way you might savour a piece of chocolate as it slowly melts in your mouth, allow your spirit to savour the meaning of the freedom that is yours in Christ in all its richness. This single word freedom is densely packed with meaning, and we benefit from taking time to unpack just a little of what it means for believers.


Throughout the Old Testament, God made certain promises to the patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob/Israel) that their descendants, the nation of Israel, longed to see fulfilled. These promises centred on having a holy Homeland and a Messiah. Over the centuries that followed their expulsion from their Land which sent them into exile into Babylon initially and then into Persia, the Israelites became known as Jews. Their expectations of how these divine promises would be fulfilled became greatly embellished with powerful military overtones.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 3 – Before He was Incarnate, He was the Eternal LBefore He was Incarnate, He was the Eternal Lordord

For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.


The One who spoke the world into existence entered materially into His World and “split time in half”. He came to rescue the world because a great betrayal occurred. One of His chief agents was filled with self-deception and conceited envy and manipulated a serpent to his bidding in destroying the very last and highest of the Lord’s “very good” creation. Disappointingly she fell for it – and her husband who supposed to protect her failed in his most basic of responsibilities. Their fall from innocence and into grace plunged that was momentarily and formerly under their vice-regency. The world had now gone rogue. When the Eternal Son of God submitted to His co-LORD, the Holy Spirit placed Him into a virgin’s womb by uniting his consciousness and sinless essence with the ovum of this young virgin. In doing so, Immanuel relinquished none of His sovereign power or prerogatives but chose to lay aside His glory and become fully human. And for those who came to recognise who He actually was, it ever caused them to fall down at His feet in adoration, or shrink back from Him in terror. The side-effect of those who who adored him was a new ability to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of worries, you too can discover how an acquaintance with the Lordship of Jesus the Christ can also help you to sleep better.