Becoming a Man of Prayer

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    Becoming a Man of Prayer Robert L. Beltz

    Permission is granted to download and print one copy to use.

    ISBN 978-0-89109-981-9 1996 by Robert L. Beltz. All rights reserved.

    To order copies of this resource, see www.navpress.com .

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    PrayB c ming a MaB o B B e l t

    A S v n-W k St at gy Bas n th Ins

    ISBN 978-0-89109-981-9 1996 by Robert L. Beltz. All rights reserved. To order copies of this resource, see www.navpress.com.

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    1996 by Robert L. Beltz All rights reserved. With the exception of pages 140-141 as speci ed on page 24, no part of this publication ay be reproduced in any for without written per ission fro NavPress,P.O. Box 35001, Colorado Springs, CO 80935.

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Nu ber: 96-22565

    ISBN-13: 978-0-89109-981-9

    Cover illustration: Ji Frisino

    So e of the anecdotal illustrations in this book are true to life and are included with the per-ission of the persons involved. All other illustrations are co posites of real situations, and

    any rese blance to people living or dead is coincidental.

    Scripture quotations in this publication are taken fro the Holy Bible: New InternationalVersion( ). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by per ission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Another version used is the

    New A erican Standard Bible ( ), Te Lock an Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977.

    Beltz, Bob.Beco ing a an of prayer : a seven-week strategy based on the instructions of Jesus

    / Bob Beltz.p. c .

    Includes bibliographical references (p. ).ISBN 0-89109-981-6 (pbk.)1. PrayerChristianity. 2. Lords prayer. I. itle.

    BV215.B417 1996248.3'2dc20 96-22565

    CIP

    Printed in the United States of A erica

    7 8 9 10 11 12 13 / 15 14 13 12 11 10

    NavPress is the publishing ministry of The Navigators, an internationalChristian organization and leader in personal spiritual development.NavPress is committed to helping people grow spiritually and enjoy livesof meaning and hope through personal and group resources that arebiblically rooted, culturally relevant, and highly practical.

    For a free catalog go to www.NavPress.comor call 1.800.366.7788 in the United States or 1.800.839.4769 in Canada.

    ISBN 978-0-89109-981-9 1996 by Robert L. Beltz. All rights reserved. To order copies of this resource, see www.navpress.com.

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    Contents

    Foreword 7

    A cknowledgments 9

    IntroductIon 111 BecomIng A m An w ho PrAys 13

    2 the need For A strAtegy 19

    3 gettIng stArted 25

    4 gettIng Focused 34

    5 exPerIencIng dIvIne InterventIon , P Art one 45

    6 exPerIencIng dIvIne InterventIon , P Art t wo 58

    7 PrAyIng For ProvIsIon 70

    8 exPerIencIng ForgIveness 79

    9 develoPIng sPIrItuAl ProtectIon 91

    10 FInAl Issues 101

    11 Beyond the B AsIcs 108 A PPendIx A: s weet h our oF PrAyer 116

    A PPendIx B: exAmPle oF A PrAyer noteBook 127

    A PPendIx c: d eveloPIng y our PrAyer noteBook 139

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    T y th r, Jul S tt,

    wh frst t u ht t pr y

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    E E E Becoming a man o P a e

    his book on prayer, intended for men, discusses in sequence the well-known petitions in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples. I dontknow of any other book that, as it deals with the why, what, andhow of praying, so powerfully motivates the desire and decision topray.

    VE G , chancellor, enver eminary

    Prayer is the most vital part of ministryif you expect change to take

    place on a spiritual plane. B m Pr y r ef ciently lays outthe need for a strategic, purposeful prayer life, and offers suggestionsto plan your prayer life in order to see your world changed for Christ.

    E. H P, regional director,Prison ellowship inistries

    I know of no one personally who has studied the subject of prayermore or sought more to implement the concepts of this book intohis daily life than Bob Beltz. I have known Bob for more thantwenty- ve yearsand he truly is becoming a man of prayer. hisbook is a must read for those who struggle or desire to learn moreabout this most strategic area of their Christian walk.

    ICH . BE CH, president and CE ,oulos inistries, Inc.

    B m Pr y r is a refreshing study on an often writtenabout subject. If indeed God created us for communion with Him-self, our hearts can only be restless until we discover and practice theart of prayer. ur individual lives and the merican church will neverexperience revival until prayer power is part of our daily experience.

    JI G E , founder and president, Worldwide eadership Council,Inc.; past president, Youth for Christ International

    r. Bob Beltz is one of the best Bible teachers in the nited tates.He has a tremendous gift for cutting to the heart of issues with menand challenging us to walk in a manner worthy of our high calling.B m Pr y r will be a great tool to help any man godeeper with the living Christ.

    H E , Washington ellowship/International oundation

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    Foreword

    mericans love how to books. rom gardening to stock mar-ket speculating, self-help books that teach people how to dosomething theyre interested in or how to achieve some form of desired success are always popular. B m Pr y r issuch a book. It is lled with good ideas and practical advice onone of the most signi cant subjects of life . . . prayer. r. Bob

    Beltz offers answers to questions that have perplexed all of us,including, among other things, how to overcome the internalmonologue that makes it almost impossible for God to speak tous and how to avoid becoming distracted when praying.

    But as you read this book youll discover that it offers muchmore than how to advice. Bob has written a moving, personalaccount of his own experiences, including a dramatic encounter

    with the living God. It is a powerful af rmation that God hearsand answers our prayers.

    In the pages that follow, Bob demonstrates again and again why he is one of the greatest teachers in merica. He has a won-derful gift for making signi cant theological concepts accessibleand relevant to everyday experience. He succeeds in portraying

    7

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    prayer in its rightful context: simple, direct, and incredibly pro-

    found.I believe you will enjoy this book. I know you will be blessedand inspired and perhaps, like me, a bit humbled. But moreimportant, I pray that, as a result of what you are about to read,

    your prayer life will be greatly enriched.

    W IllIAm . rmstrongormer . . enator

    f o r e W o r d

    8

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    1 1

    IntroduCtIon

    Home Improvement is one of my favorite television pro-grams. n the show, comedian im llen plays the host of a c-tional public television program called ool ime. im loveshis tools! en love tools. Without tools, simple jobs becomeimpossible. With the right tools, tough jobs often become easy.

    We live in a time when God is moving in a mighty way in

    the lives of men. In 1995, more than 700,000 men attendedPromise Keepers conferences across merica. any of thesemen are new to the life of faith. Both rookies to the faith andseasoned veterans alike are being encouraged and challenged todevelop their prayer lives. any men desire to become men of prayer, but dont know how or where to start. hey need a tool.

    In 1989, after years of struggle in my own prayer life, Ibecame the object of a special work of grace. God helped medevelop a more satisfying and meaningful prayer life. He gaveme a strategy that helped put my motivation into action. ohelp other men who struggle with this same area, I began todevelop a tool that would help men pray. B m Pr y r is designed to be such a tool,

    ISBN 978-0-89109-981-9 1996 by Robert L. Beltz. All rights reserved. To order copies of this resource, see www.navpress.com.

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    providing both a working model and a practical strategy to

    enhance and deepen your experience of prayer. his approach hasbeen eld-tested during the past ve years in the spiritual lives of hundreds of men with exciting results. B m Pr y r balances a theological understanding of prayer with practicalexercises to put that theology into practice. It has been my experience that by using the model presented in this book,

    your prayer life can become dynamic, vital, life-enhancing, and worldchanging. You become a man of prayer!

    I r o d I o

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    1 3

    I HE P I G 1992, I was touched by God. It hap-pened on a small island in the Puget ound where I had gone tospend twenty-one days in silence and solitude. What happenedon that island changed my life.

    here are two kinds of men in the world who claim tohave had such encounters. ne is mentally ill and in fact has

    had no encounter with God, however real his experience may seem. he other is a very normal human being who has had anauthentic experience with the living God. I will leave it to youto determine into which category I fall.

    It is nearly impossible to describe what happened on thatsmall island. In many ways it de es description. I had embarkedon this spiritual adventure hoping to have an experience withGod of biblical magnitude. I have to confess that in my mindsuch an experience needed to be either audible or visible. I g-ured that if you couldnt have a biblical-type of encounter aftertwenty-one days of solitude, prayer, and total isolation, thensuch an experience was probably not to be had in our day. Whathappened to me was not visual. It was not audible either. What

    1BeComIng AmAnwhoPrAys

    i pr y r.PsAlm 109:4

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    I did experience was greater than either an audible or even a

    visual experience of God.he only way to describe what happened on that island is tosay that God broke through to the core of my being with Hisbeing. I experienced what many of the more mystical Christian

    writers throughout history have called u with God. It hap-pened a number of times during my three weeks on the islandand has happened periodically ever since. I made contact withGod. ctually, God made contact with me. It was an experience

    that I had desired for years. It was a reality that I am convincedeveryone who seeks to know and love God desperately longs for.

    Why me? I promise you it was not because of any holiness oradvanced spirituality on my part. I would call myself the chief of sinners had not one more worthy than I already taken thetitle. I am convinced that what happened to me on ox Island

    was the culmination of several years of learning to pray in a way that led to this experience with God. I am also convinced thatGod desires to break through to any man who will properly position himself to receive such contact. You can make con-tact with God. he vehicle designed to facilitate such contact iscalled pr y r . In the following pages I hope to share with you

    what I have been learning about this wonderful spiritual vehicle.

    T Turn n P nT

    It should have become an embarrassment much sooner. How many times had I responded to inquiries concerning my spiri-tual life with a statement like, Its going great but I really needto work on my prayer life. or almost twenty years I had foundtime to read and study the Bible. uring that same time I hadread a small library of books on the subject of spirituality, hadcompleted both a masters degree and a doctorate in pastoralministry, and had even been working in full-time, vocationalministry. nd yet my prayer life was not what I desired it to be.

    ont get me wrong. y life was not prayerless. I alwaysspent some daily time in prayer and went through periods of more intensive prayer as well. I had even spent half-days and

    whole days in prayer. But I had never been able to develop a

    B e o m I A m A W o P r A S

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    consistent, effective, satisfying discipline of prayer. oo often, I

    felt like prayer was a one-way communication. I believed God was there, but I rarely felt His presence. s I struggled with this area of my relationship with God, it

    became apparent to me that I was not alone. he usual response tomy confession of inadequacy was an empathetic e too! ostmen struggle to have a consistent discipline of prayer in which they not only believe God is engaged in the process with them, but in

    which they experience His presence and have the sense that in a

    very real way they are making contact with the ivine.In a L magazine article entitled Why We Pray, researchers

    indicated that an incredible percentage of mericans pray regu-larly.1 Ironically, as many as 10 percent of those who report they dont believe in God still prayjust in case. What the article failedto say is that most of these prayers have little to do with the corepurpose of prayer. Prayer is intended to be a vehicle for fellow-ship and communion with God. But, over 55 percent of thoseresponding to the research reported that they pray less than veminutes each day. ot much time for fellowship and communion!

    What prayer has become for most men and women is a quick plea for a bit of divine intervention in the need of the moment.In fact, most people never really pray. urprisingly, the secularperson in the workplace and the religious man or woman whooccupies the pew on unday often have the same problem. hey

    dont know h w to pray in a way that brings them into the expe-riential presence of God and leads to His intervention in theirlives and the needs of the world. I know. I was one of them.

    In light of what appears to be a rather dismal picture, Imust say that I am encouraged. bviously, not by the past stateof affairs, but by what I see happening at a grass-roots level allaround our world. omething is up, and I have a hunch thatGod is behind it. new hunger for a life of more consistent andeffective prayer is being blessed by the touch of Gods pirit,enabling men to respond to the call to pray with a new level of conviction and excitement. o put it simply, there is a transfor-mation taking place in the spiritual lives of multitudes of men.

    nd this same transformation can happen to you!

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    B e o m I A m A W o P r A S

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    A P r nAl P l r A

    I usually end up doing those things I am highly motivated todo. s a follower of Christ the Bibles instruction in the areaof prayer should be suf cient reason to pray. Whatever caliberof prayer life I have maintained over the years has been moti-

    vated by such obedience. he problem with such an experienceof prayer has to do with the quality of prayer produced by themotivation of obedience alone. Knowing our hearts, God hasother ways to motivate us if He sees suf cient willingness and

    desire lying dormant within.Because I have many friends who know of my interest in things

    of the pirit, I am regularly given books that someone assures me Ihave to read. y schedule and limited supply of physical, spiritual,and emotional energy keep me from reading many of these books.Because of this dilemma, I consider it a work of grace that I didread rank Perettis Th s Pr s t D rk ss .2

    Perettis novel is about the reality of the unseen universeand how it constantly affects the universe we can see. t onelevel, the plot of the book describes events occurring in the

    ctional town of shton. trange and bizarre things are happen-ing. he moral and ethical environment of the community is ina state of deterioration. he small college located in shton isbeing in ltrated by professors who advocate strange metaphysi-cal beliefs and practices. In short, numerous unhealthy dynamics

    are at work in the community. While the primary plot is developing along these lines, a sec-ond level of plot is introduced. he genius of Th s Pr s t D rk-

    ss lies in Perettis ability to portray the reality of the unseenspiritual realm. spiritual con ict is in progress over shton.

    he angelic host of heaven is engaged against the spiritual forcesof evil. he temporal effects in the lives of the citizens of shtonand the events transpiring in the city are the byproducts of this

    war in the spiritual realm.he most signi cant message of the book lies in the fact that

    the outcome of the battle in the heavenlies is largely in uencedby a group of adults in shton. t a little church in shton, asmall group of believers begin to pray for their city. s these men

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    and women pray, the power of the host of heaven is increased.

    nd when they fail to pray, the demonic forces of evil prevail. s I read the book, one thought kept hitting home. I wasrepeatedly reminded of how prayer is intended to be effectualin in uencing heavenly realities. In turn, those heavenly realitiesin uence earthly realities. his truth began to rekindle a strongdesire in me to become more of a man of prayer. I had the motiva-tion, now I needed a strategy to turn that motivation into action.

    I began to study the way Jesus taught the disciples to pray.

    he pivotal moment in my study came as I was looking atatthew 26:36-46, where Jesus took His three closest friends

    aside in the Garden of Gethsemane and asked them to keep watch with Him while He prayed. You know the scenario. Jesusprayed; the disciples slept. When Jesus discovered that they wereasleep, He asked this question: Could you men not keep watch

    with me for hour?I began to have the uneasy feeling that if my present experi-

    ence of prayer were to continue, Jesus might ask me the samequestion someday. I had been sleeping.

    hat day I made an important decision. I decided to wakeup! I resolved that by the grace of God, and with the help of His

    pirit, I would become a man who prays. I didnt mean the fouror ve minutes a day I had been prayingI decided to learn topray for one hour. I meant it, and I did something about it! I

    linked my motivation to a commitment. hen, I added actionto that commitment.hat day, I looked at my watch and prayed, ord, by the

    power of Your pirit, help me pray for fteen minutes today.o you know what happened? I prayed for fteen minutes. It

    was easy and enjoyable. he next day I prayed, ord, by thepower of Your pirit, help me pray for thirty minutes. I prayedusing the seven concepts in the next chapter as a pattern. WhenI was nished praying I looked at my watch. hirty minuteshad elapsed. he next day I asked for forty- ve minutes. I fur-ther developed the strategy you will learn and easily prayed forforty- ve minutes. inally, four days into my new commitmentI prayed for one solid hour! uring that hour, I repeatedly

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    B e o m I A m A W o P r A S

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    experienced Gods presence in a fresh way.

    hat week marked the beginning of an exciting journey. Ibegan to have a more exciting and signi cant prayer life. I dontalways pray for an hour and I dont always pray for extendedperiods of time. But, I can tell you this: the prayer dimensionof my relationship with Christ has been transformed. hat wasmore than six years ago, and what I learned is as valuable to metoday as it was then.

    et me ask you a very important question. How is y ur

    prayer life? If it is great, if it is satisfying, effective, ful lling, andproductive, you probably dont need to read this book. Giveit to a friend. But if you are struggling with this area of yourspiritual life, if you are not spending time with God in prayerand experiencing Him in a way that is lling the hunger of yourheart, then this book is for you! s you read these chaptersand work through the seven assignments, I believe your prayerlifeand your relationship with Godwill be transformed. It

    will require a decision and a commitment on your part. re youready to do what it takes to become a man of prayer? hen letme challenge you r ht w to make the following commit-ment:

    E1. Why We Pray, L , arch 1994, p. 58.2. rank Peretti, Th s Pr s t D rk ss (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books,

    1986).

    th r, by ur r d w th ur h lp, i r s lv th s ______ d y _________ th y r ________t d wh t v r t t k s t b pr y r.

    S d:________________________

    B e o m I A m A W o P r A S

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    1 9

    HE P WE Y- IVE YE I have been on anexciting journey with Jesus Christ. s I struggled with the prac-tice of prayer, I realized that I needed a teacher to help me learnhow to pray. I discovered others on the journey who had thesame need. hey were twelve men who spent three years withthe greatest teacher in history. ne day the disciples came toJesus and asked Him to teach them to pray ( uke 11:1).

    his was an interesting request, especially in light of its his-torical context. I am sure that by the time the disciples made thisrequest they had spent quite a bit of time and energy attemptingto pray. hey were all Jewish men who had prayed since their

    youth. Is it possible that they were feeling as frustrated as youand I in their efforts to pray? I am convinced that in the yearthey had spent with Jesus up to that point, they came to recog-nize that He provided a model that challenged all their previousassumptions about prayer.

    Jesus was always praying. hey would wake up in the morn-ing and He was gone. Where? He had risen before dawn andgone off to pray ( ark 1:35). t other times He prayed allnight ( uke 6:12). ometimes He sent the disciples on to their

    2theneed For AstrAtegy

    L rd, t h us t pr y.l uke 11:1

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    next destination while He remained behind to pray ( atthew

    14:23). early every critical event in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ was preceded by times of extended prayer. ne day as Jesus was praying in a certain place, the disciples had seenenough. each us to pray, they asked ( uke 11:1).

    A TrAT y In response to their request, Jesus taught the welve a patternof prayer known as the ords Prayer. It might be more accurate

    to call it the disciples prayer. It was given to them by Jesus tomake their prayer more productive and effective.

    Biblical scholars hold two distinct opinions as to the inten-tion of this prayer. ome believe it was given as a r prayerto be used liturgically and repetitively. hose who hold such a

    view claim that the use of liturgical prayer was common amongthe rabbis of Jesus day.

    thers believe that the prayer was intended to be a p tt r or utl that provided the disciples with topics about whichto pray. hose who believe this also agree that the patternapproach to prayer was a common practice among the rabbis of Jesus day. But they point to the passage in atthews Gospel

    where the ords Prayer is preceded by a warning against the vain, repetitive prayers of the pagans ( atthew 6:7).

    Both uses of the prayer have proven valid throughout the

    history of the church. In my life, the pattern approach becamethe very strategy I needed to see signi cant change in my prayer life. I had the motivation. he motivation was evenlinked with a commitment. I was ready to take action. But Ilacked a strategy to make my motivated, commitment-basedaction effective. sing the ords Prayer as a pattern providedsuch a strategy.

    or many men, this is the missing factor that can make theirprayer lives more relevant and exciting. ew men question thatprayer is one of the most important dynamics of spiritual life.

    We are convinced. We are motivated. We are even committed.But we dont know h w or wh t to pray. nce we see how todevelop each component of the ords Prayer into a dimension

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    of our prayer time, well have the strategy needed to experience

    a relevant and exciting prayer life.T PATT rn

    s a common mans theologian, I love teaching the life of Christ. uring such courses I have often analyzed the compo-nents of the ords Prayer. nfortunately, having analyzed, Ifailed to adequately incorporate these components into my ownprayer life. hat has changed. I have developed and integrated

    each of the areas Jesus addressed into my times of prayer. heresult has been a fresh and exciting approach to prayer.

    he ords Prayer can be found in two places in the ew estament: in the ermon on the ount in atthew 6 and

    in uke 11. If you put these texts together, you will nd thatthe pattern Jesus gave the disciples has seven components. heprayer, thus constructed, looks like this:

    1. our th r h v ( atthew 6:9),2. h ll w d b y ur ( atthew 6:9, uke 11:2),3. y ur k d ,

    y ur w ll b d ( atthew 6:10, uke 11:2) rth s t s h v ( atthew 6:10).

    4. g v us t d y ur d ly br d ( atthew 6:11,uke 11:3).

    5. r v us ur s s (debts), r w ls r v v ry wh s s st us ( at-thew 6:11, uke 11:4, variations on sins anddebts to be discussed later).

    6. a d l d us t t t pt t ( atthew 6:13,uke 11:4),

    but d l v r us r th v l ( atthew 6:13).7. r y urs s th k d d th p w r d th l ry

    r v r. a (contained in later manuscripts of at-thew).

    Isnt it amazing that these are the very words given by Jesusto twelve men like you and me? If you take each phrase of the

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    prayer and categorize the intention of the instruction, you have

    a brief outline of the sevenfold strategy. In the following chap-ters I will attempt to develop each of these components in a way that will give you an idea of how to incorporate it into your ownprayer time. or now, let me give you a brief overview: 1. Father. Prayer begins with a conscious act of seeking toenter into the presence of God. I call this component Getting

    tarted. 2. Hallowed be your name. Having entered into the pres-

    ence of God in prayer, Jesus instructs us to direct our attentionto God Himself. his component becomes a time I call Get-ting ocused. 3. Your kingdom come. s a third component of prayer,Jesus extends the invitation to appropriate His intervention inour lives and the needs of the world. In light of this, our thirdarea will be called Experiencing ivine Intervention. 4. Give us this day . . . It is not until this fourth com-

    ponent is reached that our focus shifts from Gods agenda toour agenda. Praying for Provision becomes the time we pray about our own needs. 5. Forgive us our sins. nder the category Experiencing

    orgiveness we will learn to utilize the resources made avail-able by the nished work of Christ to keep our lives in line withGods moral imperatives. 6. Deliver us . . . he sixth component is labeled evel-oping piritual Protection. his area of prayer will become atime to build a spiritual defense system around our lives andfamilies. 7. Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

    forever. he seventh and nal component of the pattern is aclosing time of theological af rmation. Having moved throughall the dimensions of the pattern, it is appropriate to bring ourtime of prayer to a close with the declaration that God is theKing and His is the kingdom. hese will be our inal Issues.

    u

    hese seven components form the framework of a workingstrategy designed to help us become men of prayer. In one short

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    lesson Jesus taught the disciples an incredibly effective and thor-

    ough pattern of prayer. What I want to show you in the comingchapters is how to develop each of these components into amore comprehensive strategy for developing your own prayerlife. If you made your decision to become a man of prayer, getready to start an exciting adventure!

    nT AcT nearning b ut prayer is important. But learning to pray requires

    action. hroughout this book I will attempt to teach you agreat deal about prayer. I also hope to be your spiritual coachand give you helpful assignments to put into practice what youlearn. Here comes your rst assignment.

    or the next week I am going to ask you to pray for only veminutes a day. You can pray longer if you want, but the assign-ment is only ve minutes. I would like these ve minutes to bepatterned after the seven components in this chapter.

    I also want to introduce you to two tools that will help you immensely as you learn to pray. he rst is a B bl . WhenI work out physically, I always need a little time to warm up. I

    nd that I have the same need when I pray. y favorite time topray is early in the morning. I get out of bed, get a cup of coffee,and head for the spot I have set aside to spend time alone withGod. I open my Bible and read a short passage to get my mind

    focused on spiritual things.I nd reading a chapter from the book of Psalms to be agreat way to warm up. I usually also add a chapter from someother book of the Bible. or your rst ve days, read uke 11:1-13 daily, and Psalms 15, one psalm per day.

    he second tool that this book is designed to help youdevelop is a p rs l pr y r t b k . You will notice that theappendixes at the back of this book contain an example of my prayer, a copy of my prayer notebook, and blank pages for youto use to develop your own notebook. his notebook will be

    your guide as you pray. It is designed to help remind you of thecomponents you will be developing in the next seven weeks.

    You will nd that along with being a great reminder, it will

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    also help you overcome what is one of the greatest problems in

    prayerdistraction. You will need to make multiple photocopies of appendix C,so that you will have at least seven blank pages to use for yournotebook. hen, you can easily add pages when you run outof room. ( imited permission is given to copy pages 140-141for use in conjunction with your study of B m Pr y r . o pages in any other part of this book may be copied,nor may those pages be copied for any reason other than your

    actual use with this book.) sing the copies youve made of appendix C, number the seven blank pages with oman numer-als I to VII. ow go back and label each page with one of theseven phrases of the ords Prayer and its title. or instance,

    your rst page should be labeled: I. Getting tarted ather.or the next ve minutes, slowly pray through each of the

    seven phrases. hink about what each phrase means to you. If something comes to your mind as you re ect on the phrase,turn it into a topic of prayer. n example might be that as youpray Give us this day our daily bread, you realize that youneed help meeting a nancial commitment. sk God to help.

    By the time our seven weeks are nished, these pages will belled with new ideas and items you want and need to pray about

    regularly.

    A n nT n1. ead uke 11:1-13 daily and your psalm for the day.

    2. eview the commitment you made at the end of chapter 1.

    3. utline the seven components of the ords Prayer in yourprayer notebook.

    4. sk God to help you pray ve minutes a day, ve days this week.

    5. sing your outline, pray!

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    2 5

    I . I believe it is one of the most challenging jobsin the world. ew do it well. I am constantly aware of how my performance as a dad impacts the emotional, physical, andspiritual well-being of my children. I usually feel that I am doingan inadequate job, regardless of how much time and energy Iinvest in my role as a father. ost of my male friends who havechildren feel much the same way.

    Part of the reason I am so concerned about my performance

    as a father is undoubtedly rooted in the emotional void in my lifecreated by the lack of a stable, loving, and nurturing relationship with my own father. I dont have many conscious memories of my early childhood. What memories I do have of ad are mixed.I remember some good timesplaying catch in the yard andlearning to throw a football and catch a baseball. In later yearsI remember his showing up to watch me play football and runtrack.

    I also remember a lot of painful times with ad. I remem-ber that he had a very dif cult time keeping a job. I rememberoverhearing him and om ght. I remember times when he

    would explode in ts of rage and how I would hide in my roomand cover my ears until the explosion settled down.

    3gettIngstArted

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    I dont remember the day om and I left to go live withmy grandparents. I was eleven. hat was one of the hardest

    years of my life. n eleven-year-old boy really needs a dad!I remember ad coming to visit us in aint ouis and how

    excited I was when I found out that om and ad were goingto try again. I remember how it didnt work out too well anda year later, oms telling me they were getting a divorce. Idont remember the day ad left for good. But I remembernever having a normal relationship with him again.

    I remember the morning in 1978 when the phone rangand my sister told me ad was dead. I remember when theshock wore off and the tears came. Im not sure who the grief

    was really for. I had a sense I had lost forever something Inever really had.

    he need for a caring, nurturing father is foundational foremotional and spiritual development. I see this clearly now that Im a father. Children need a dad who is there for them.

    hey need a dad who cares and nurtures. heir love tanksneed to be lled daily. hey need a dad they can count on. young child with the same needs still lives in each of us.

    he truth is that our need for a dad can never be fully met by a human father. o one degree or another, all earthly fathers

    will let us down and disappoint us. ost families have somedegree of dysfunction. But there is a relationship designed tomeet this need.

    We were created to relate to God as our heavenly ather.

    He is a p r t ather. He is always present and available. Heis loving, caring, and nurturing. He is committed to meetingour physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. o time in ourday is more important than the time we spend with Him.

    s I began to use the ords Prayer as a pattern for prayer,the fatherhood of God became more of a reality in my life. Irealized that even though I confessed and af rmed that God

    was my ather through Christ, I had very little experience of

    this truth in my life. Ive talked with many other men aboutthis issue and found it to be a common dilemma. ost of usneed a vehicle whereby the theological truth of the fatherhoodof God can become real in our experience. his is why it is sosigni cant that the rst component of our strategy grows fromJesus teaching that we should begin prayer by addressing God

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    as ather. uthentic prayer is an expression of a father-childrelationship.

    FAT ror many of us, addressing God as ather seems pretty normal.ost of us were taught to pray this way since childhood, even

    if our families were not very religious. his was not the case inJesus day. quick trip through the great prayers of the ld

    estament will reveal that even the most holy men of the oldcovenant did not address their prayers to God the ather.

    I recently reread the ld estament. here are some incred-ibly powerful and moving prayers in that part of the Bible. any of the psalms are beautiful prayers of King avid. ometimes

    avid prayed God. ometimes it was ord. t timesof special intimacy he prayed y God, or y ord.But nowhere will you nd avid addressing the living God as ather.

    aniel was also a man of prayer. His prayer life was so pow-erful that the angel Gabriel was sent to respond personally to

    aniels great prayer recorded in aniel 9. Yet he did not addressGod as ather.

    he patriarchs, the prophets, and the priests of Israel were allmen of prayer. But they never addressed their prayers to God as ather. hat privilege is uniquely ours because of who JesusChrist is and what He has done on our behalf. hrough Hisdeath and resurrection, Jesus gave believers the right to becomechildren of God through our relationship with Him. nd Hehas instructed us to begin our prayer with a focus on God as ather.

    By beginning our prayer time this way, we start praying within the framework of a father-child relationship. ur initialthoughts are on God, our heavenly ather, and on our relation-ship with Him. I think of this time as a period of getting properly positioned before God. or me, this means working throughseveral factors.

    P w r nTIn omans 8 the apostle Paul tells us that we dont know how to pray like we should. I heartily af rm this truth! uthentic

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    prayer, in which genuine communication takes place, is a gift of

    grace. You and I do not have the ability to create this spiritualreality. Paul goes on to explain that part of the ministry of theHoly pirit is to help us in this area ( omans 8:26-27). It isessential to acknowledge this inability and to ask for the prom-ised help of the Holy pirit. I might begin by praying somethinglike this:

    th r, i w uld l k t sp d s t t d y w th u pr y r. u k w th t i d t k w h w t pr y r h v th

    b l ty t pr y w y th t s pl s t u d s f- t r . Th r r , i sk th H ly Sp r t t h lp pr y

    s th B bl pr s s.

    God w ll answer this prayer. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important this step is in the process of developinga signi cant life of prayer. part from this supernatural enablingI do not have the ability to pray in a way that feels authentic.

    I also use this period of positioning to pray about the quality of my prayer time. I have a tendency to become distracted whenI pray. ometimes my attempts at prayer have seemed ineffectiveand even boring. You might have experienced the same prob-lem. If so, it is appropriate to ask the Helper something like this:

    H ly Sp r t, h lp k p r b d str t d s i pr y.m k th s t fll d w th s s r l ty.

    emember, the Bible tells us that we do not have because we have not asked (James 4:2). ost men have never thoughtabout praying about their praying. his preliminary part of ourprayer time sets the stage for what follows.

    r lAT n PHaving asked for the helping ministry of the Holy pirit, itis now time to focus our thoughts on our r l t sh p withGod. Prayer is primarily a vehicle of relationship. I use my prayer notebook to accomplish this objective as I begin work-ing through the strategy. I consciously enter the athers pres-ence as I call out to Him, bba.

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    wo important ew estament words teach us about the

    unique relationship we have with the living God. ne appearsin both the atthew and uke texts where Jesus taught thedisciples to pray. his is the Greek word p t r , appropriately translated father. he other is abb , the word Jesus used toaddress the ather in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane( ark 14:36). abb is actually an ramaic word communicat-ing intimacy and endearment. It is probably best translateddaddy. he Bible tells us that the presence of the Holy pirit

    in our lives is a spirit of adoption by which God gives us ourspiritual birthright ( omans 8:16, Galatians 4:6). s one in whom the pirit dwells, I now have the privilege of coming toGod as both P t r , ather, and abb , addy.

    I am the father of two tremendous kids. tephanie is sixteen,at the time I am writing, and Baker is ten. I will always be theirfather and I hope they will always know they have the privilegeand right to climb into my lap and call me addy. he inti-

    macy of our father-child relationship is a source of incredibleeven indescribablejoy.When my son was young, he was one of those children

    who decided not to talk. he specialists we saw thought he wasdelayed in his speech development. We were quite concerneduntil he uttered his rst words at the age of two and a half. y

    wife had taken him to a hot-air balloon demonstration. WhenI came home from work, my delayed son looked up at me

    and declared, ire makes the balloons go up. ot bad for rst words!ne morning shortly after this incident I was up early to n-

    ish preparing for a class I was teaching for a group of business-men. Baker awoke early and came out of his bedroom to nd mesitting on the sofa reviewing my notes. He climbed up next tome on the couch and began to drink from his bottle. uddenly,a light bulb went on in his mind. He looked up at me with a bigsmile, put his index nger on my arm, and declared, Bakersdaddy! t that moment he could have asked me for anything inthe world and I would have given it to him! I was thrilled by thissimple recognition and af rmation. It was a tremendous illustra-tion to me of how God feels about you and me. He delights

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    when we come to Him as our bba . . . ather . . . addy.

    By directing our attention toward God and calling Himather, we consciously enter His presence. heologically speak-ing, we are always in Gods presence, but prayer is rst and fore-most a spiritual vehicle whereby we consciously spend time withGod. We enter Gods presence for fellowship and relationship

    with our heavenly addy. his is what I mean by sp r tu l p s t . It sets the tone for all that follows.

    I am a teaching pastor, a kind of theologian-in-residence at

    Cherry Hills Community Church. y teaching load requiresan intense preparation schedule. Because of this schedule, my administrative assistant guards my time zealously. hus, it is dif-

    cult to reach me on the phone at times and, during periods of preparation, even more dif cult to schedule an appointment withme. ometimes a call will come into the of ce asking to set upan appointment with r. Blitz. y administrative assistantsimmediate response to such a call is to assume that this is prob-ably someone trying to sell me something I dont need and cantafford. he probability of such a person getting an appointmentis less than zero.

    nother typical call might go something like this: Id liketo see everend Beltz. Ive never been to your church, but Iknow a guy whose aunts cleaning lady once heard about some-one who thought he might be interested in this new minis-

    try Im raising a million dollars for. ny chance we could gettogether? gain, pretty slim odds of getting an appointment.ome people get a little warmer: ell r. Beltz Im a mem-

    ber of Cherry Hills. Ive never been to one of his classes but would like to get together to discuss sublapsarian Calvinisticantinomianism. o you think he might have a few minutes?

    Warmer, but probably still no appointment.ow a few folks get hot: ell Bob Im a regular attendee

    at his Bible class. I need a few minutes of his time. his person will probably get an appointment as soon as Im free.

    But, what if the call sounds like this: addy, I need tosee you!? Guess how I respond. here are two people on theplanet for whom I generally will drop everything Im working

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    on to be with. hey are the two people who call me addy.

    Know this: You have a addy in heaven who is perfect, lov-ing, interested, involved, gentle, present, available, concerned,kind, wise, caring, and good. He delights in your desire tospend time with Him. In light of this truth, you might continueto pray something like this:

    th r, i pr y th t i ht xp r ur pr s t d y.H lp l v th r- h ld r l t sh p w th u. H lp

    xp r ur l v r . H lp xp r u t d y s y abb , y D ddy.

    I have come to believe that this relationship, not only af rmed but experienced, is critical to a healthy and vital prayerlife. s I pray with this component in mind, slowly but surely Ibegin to sense the loving touch of God on my life. His father-hood becomes real in my life. Prayer has become the vehicle

    that bridges the gap between what I know in my head and whatI experience in my life. I believe you will nd the same begin tohappen in your own life as you spend time developing this rstcomponent.

    AuT nT c nc unT r I had been praying this way for about two years when I took my spiritual journey to ox Island. fter the rst week, I was

    frustrated about my lack of contact with God. ne night early in my second week, I was re ecting on the origins of abb . Icould almost picture a small ramaic child calling out for hisfather, bba . . . bba. uddenly, abb was no longer simply a theological concept, but the cry of a young child for his father.

    s I thought about this my conceptual framework startedto shift. I imagined someone holding me. It was Jesus. He

    was there. hen came the rst breakthrough. o longer wasI imagining this scene. In an unexplainable way, I was experi-encing it. I w s being held by God, and He penetrated all the

    lters that kept me from experiencing His real presence. tthe depths of my being I experienced the touch of His being.I was overwhelmed by the touch of God in the core of my

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    person. It was the most powerful experience of the presence

    of God I had ever had.his encounter was repeated a number of times in the daysthat followed and periodically since then. You may wonder

    whether my experience was valid or a function of some mentalor emotional disturbance. I can only say that for me it was anexperience I had longed to have for more than twenty years.I experienced real contact with God. In retrospect I am con-

    vinced it began with learning to pray the way Jesus taught, and

    particularly by positioning my prayer in the father-child rela-tionship.ow it is time for you to seek contact with your heavenly

    addy. Go to the rst page in your prayer notebook (which youcopied from appendix C, see page 24). nder oman numeralI, divide your page into two sections. sing the capital letter in an outline format, write Empowerment. You will want tospend time daily acknowledging your inability to pray and asking

    for the Holy pirits help. otice on my notebook (appendix B,pages 128-138) how I keep a record of the biblical texts that sup-port the various areas of prayer. You might want to jot down the

    omans 8 text at this point.Go about halfway down the page and put a capital B , again

    in outline form. Write the word elationship. Carefully gothrough the assignment below, writing on your notebook pagespeci c issues to pray about in order to get yourself properly

    positioned in your relationship with the ord.With our inner lives properly positioned, and having enteredinto our athers presence to spend time with Him, we are now ready to get our hearts and minds focused on Gods agenda in prayer.

    he next section of the strategy will help us accomplish this task.

    A n nT Tw1. ead Ephesians 1:1-13, omans 8:12-17, and Galatians

    4:1-7 every day. ( emember to read a psalm a day. sePsalms 714 this week.)

    2. sk the Holy pirit to help you pray ten minutes a day,ve days this week.

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    3. ivide your page into two sections. nder capital , list

    your preliminary needs in prayerthat is, empowermentand focus. nder capital B, list your needs for relation-shipthat is, the athers love, the lordship of Jesus, andthe ministry of the pirit. ( se the copies you made fromappendix C.)

    4. Pray through the rst component of prayer.a. sk for the pirits empowerment to pray.

    b. sk for the pirits help in staying focused.c. e ect on your relationship with God as ather.d. Pray about your father-child relationship with God.e. Pray about:

    D Walking with the atherD he lordship of JesusD riendship with JesusD Giving the Holy pirit control of your life today

    5. Pray brie y through the other components of the patternusing the pages developed for your prayer notebook inchapter 1.

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    3 4

    I G HE WE Y- E Y I spent on ox IslandI learned a great deal about myself and my lack of encounters

    with God. y rst lesson came on the very rst day of thisintensive experience.

    Imagine for a moment that you have own to a strangecity where you are met at the airport by a person you do notknow. his person drives you to a place you have never been.

    He gives you a map and the keys to a well-used car. You fol-low the map to a bridge that takes you across a small body of water to an island. gain, following the map you arrive at anisolated cabin where you are going to live without television,radio, telephones, newspapers, books, magazines, fax machines,or computers for three weeks.

    You might think this sounds wonderful, but let me assure you, it can be unnerving. In my small cabin on ox Island Iexperienced absolute quiet. We live in such a noisy culture that

    we hardly notice the background of white noise. Without it, Ifelt lost and anxious. It took most of the rst day to adjust tothe quiet of total isolation.

    I anticipated something of this external adjustment during

    4gettIngFoCused

    r y u h v x lt d b v ll th s y ur d y ur w rd.

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    my time of solitude. What I didnt expect was that this external

    silence would highlight the internal white noise that mustnearly always be going on inside our heads. I felt that I wasengaged in a constant internal monologue. o wonder Godcould not speak to meI never gave Him a chance.

    If we are going to learn to communicate with God, we needto learn to quiet not only the external noise of our lives, butalso the internal noise. he latter is much more dif cult. Prayerrequires focus. his second component of the strategy develops

    focus; it concentrates our hearts and minds on Gods agenda.We have already observed that prayer is primarily a timeof communication and relationship with God. In light of this,Jesus taught the disciples to pray, Hallowed be your name.

    ttempting to understand and implement this instruction willbring our prayer experience into sharper focus.

    T nA

    In the culture of Jesus day a name carried great signi cance. persons name was a re ection of his character. ften, whenGod had a powerful encounter with an individual, He wouldchange that persons name to re ect the change in characterproduced by the encounter. Gods name is also a revelation of the nature and character of God. o h ll w means to treat withgreat reverence. It requires contemplation of Gods person andHis naturein other words, who He is. ocusing our thoughtsin this way will help lead to a response the Bible calls w rsh p .

    s I began to develop this dimension of prayer, I had sev-eral important insights. I was immediately aware of how littleof my previous, ineffective prayer experience was focused onGod. ost of my prayer time was devoted to telling God whatI needed and asking Him to do things. I was neglecting a criti-cally important dimension of prayer. I needed to x my atten-tion on God and who He is in order to know how to pray about my needs. In the words of Jesus, I needed to seek frst his kingdom and his righteousness ( atthew 6:33, emphasisadded)to get my mind in tune with His pirit. o accomplishthis objective, I implemented a simple plan to use Gods namein prayer.

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    If you have taken a course in improving interpersonal rela-

    tionships, youve probably been told how important it is toremember peoples names. When people remember my name itcommunicates to me that they have invested a certain amountof caring energy into cultivating a more signi cant relationship

    with me. ames are important. o you know the name of God?he word g d is not a name its more like a title. We use the

    title as a name, but it really isnt. In the Bible, God makes Hisname known and repeatedly expands this revelation.

    he book of Exodus contains the story of oses. In Exodus3 we read how God called oses to go back to Egypt to leadthe nation of Israel out of bondage. oses responded to thiscall by asking God a very important question: Who shall I say sent me? (see Exodus 3:13). oses is asking God to tell himHis name. God answers oses question: ell them I Am hassent you (see 3:14). In the Hebrew manuscripts Gods nameis written using four Hebrew consonants. What we translate as

    I Am can be transliterated out of the Hebrew as HWH . I havea book in my library entitled HWH is n t d St t m lw uk . How true! HWH is the proper name of the livingGod. If we add vowels to the consonants we might pronouncethe word as hw h . ater in biblical history, the vowels fromthe Hebrew word d , which means lord, were added tothese consonants and the word J h v h was developed to expressthe name of God.

    What does this name tell us about Gods nature? HWH is a form of the Hebrew verb to be. It can be translated inseveral different ways. I Am is a statement primarily expressingexistence or being. It communicates that HWH is the God

    who is. It also is an expression that can have a causative sense. When understood this way it would be translated as I cause tobe. ne nal possibility is to translate this name as expressingthe thought I will be who I will be. In this case, the name isan expression of Gods sovereign power. he name of God car-ries all three of these realities. God is the God who s , who us s t b , and who w ll b wh H w ll b . He is the ne who is incontrol of the universe and my individual life. hinking aboutGod in this way gets my focus on Him.

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    T nA s you move through the ld estament, following the rev-elation of Gods name in Exodus 3, God reveals more of Hisnature by adding descriptive words to the name HWH . Eachof these compound names reveals something more of Godsnature, and provides a great resource for focusing our mindson God.

    In my prayer notebook I have entitled the second sectionGetting ocused. he rst subsection is devoted to focusingon the name for God and expressing gratitude that my heavenly

    ather and bba is actually HWH , the sovereign, omnipotent,and benevolent God of the universe. he second subsectioncontains seven de nitions of the ld estament compoundnames of God. I pray through each of these names by re ectingon their signi cance in my life and then thanking God for eachof these characteristics of His love for me. If you look in appen-dix B (pages 129-130), you can see how I have developed eachname into a moment of my prayer time.

    o help you gain an appreciation for these names, let megive you a brief introduction to the God who is:

    YHWHtsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6)wo of these compound names relate to Gods redemptive activ-

    ity in human history. HWHts dk u means the ord ourrighteousness. his name reminds us of Gods gift of salvationin Christ. sually at this point in prayer I remember that Jesusname in Hebrew was shu , which means God is salvation.I thank God that when I had no righteousness of my own and

    was in a desperate situation of need, Jesus Christ died for me. Heis now the source of my righteousness. here is a very real sensein which Jesus is the ful llment of the name HWHts dk u (1 Corin thians 1:30). I pause and think about what Christ hasdone for me. His atoning death and resurrection are the basison which all of life takes on meaning and signi cance. I thank God for this gift.

    YHWHmkaddesh (Exodus 31:13, Leviticus 20:7-8)ot only is the ord the source of my righteousness, He is also

    the ord who sancti es. In conjunction with declaring me

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    right in His eyes because of Jesus, God is also at work in my lifeto change me and make me, in my character and experience,more the person He created me to be. e ecting on this nameof God reminds me of how desperately I need the Holy piritto work in my life each day.

    I am eternally grateful for Gods gift of forgiveness. I amcon dent that the death of Christ was fully adequate to pay theprice for the forgiveness of my sin. y forgiveness and Godsdeclaration of my rightness in His sight is nished business.

    But in my day-to-day life I need help. I need to be changed.I am painfully aware that I am powerless over the results of my previous separation from God. part from His intervention,my life is unmanageable and unfruitful. Gratefully, as I think about the signi cance of Gods name being HWH k dd sh ,I acknowledge that He is at work me to restore sanity andproductivity.

    YHWHshamma (Ezekiel 48:35)Having focused on Gods transforming work in my life, I amreminded that the agent who makes my personal transformationpossible is the Holy pirit. ll that the ather purposed and the

    on provided is made real in my experience by the ministry of the pirit. Because of the ministry of the Holy pirit, God isthe ord who is present.

    he most sacred piece of real estate in the land of Israel hasalways been the top of ount Zion where the temple of the

    ord stood. he real importance of the temple was not to befound in what people did there. he unique characteristic of the temple was found in the fact that God had chosen to mani-fest a tangible expression of His presence there. lthough thein nite God cannot be contained in a building made by humanhands, in love He gave His people a visible manifestation of

    Himself in the innermost room of the temple called the Holy of Holies. here, over the ark of the covenant, Gods presence wasrevealed in a visible way. he Israelites called this manifestationthe Sh k h , a Hebrew word meaning residence.

    God no longer makes His presence known in a building

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    made of stone. His great desire since the dawn of creation has

    been to dwell in the lives of believers. Because of the indwellingpresence of the Holy pirit, the Bible tells us that our bodieshave now become the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians3:16, 6:19). Jesus is our ImmanuelGod w th us. He is pres-ent. I thank Him that He is present by the Holy pirit and ask the pirit to in uence every ber of my being with that pres-ence. God promises that He is with us always ( atthew 28:20),and that He will never leave or forsake the one who belongs to

    Him (Hebrews 13:5). He is w th me and me because He isHWHsh .

    YHWHrohi (Psalm 23:1)Classics are usually classics because they are so . . . well, classic!

    hat is certainly true of Psalm 23. How many of us have read,memorized, quoted, and re ected on this psalm without everrealizing that the opening declaration of avid is one of Godsnames? HWHr h is translated in most English Bibles by thephrase the ord is my hepherd. God relates to His childrenas a shepherd to his ock. shepherd guides his ock; Goddesires to guide us. shepherd provides for his ock; God is

    willing to provide for us. shepherd protects his ock; Godprotects us. shepherd is the source of security for his ock;God can be such for you and me. nd in the ew estament we

    are told that Jesus is the Good hepherd (John 10:10).s you think about this name of God, pause and give thanksfor each of these characteristics of a shepherd. Pray that this day the ord would shepherd you by guiding, providing, and pro-tecting you. He is your hepherd. Praise and thank Him thatHe is HWHr h .

    YHWHjireh (Genesis 22:14)ne of the great revelations of the nature of God is found in

    the life of the patriarch braham. Having waited until the ripeold age of ninety-nine to have a son who would ful ll Godspromise, braham must have thought it was incredible thatGod could actually want him to s r f Isaac, his beloved son.

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    s braham and Isaac trooped up ount oriah, Isaac

    must have been a bit suspicious. He asked his dad an obviousquestion: he re and the wood are here, but where is thelamb for the burnt offering? (Genesis 22:7).

    You probably know the story. God saw brahams willing-ness to sacri ce his only son. We can assume that this was whatGod was really looking for. God provided a ram caught by itshorns in a thicket for the sacri ce. In response to this divineintervention and provision, braham named the place HWH

    j r h , the ord will provide. ur God is a provider. He meetsour needs. His name reveals His nature. He promises His pro-

    vision. his promise nds its ful llment in the work of Christand His providential care over our lives. s Paul wrote to thePhilippians, y God will meet all your needs according to hisglorious riches in Christ Jesus (4:19).

    ot only is God our provider, He is a d provider. Every good and perfect gift comes from His hand (James 1:17). ndHe provides freely: o good thing does he withhold fromthose who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11, nAsB ). hinkingabout and re ecting on this name of God should move us tothank Him for His provision and faithfulness in our lives. He is

    HWHj r h .

    YHWHrophe (Exodus 15:26)

    God also provides through healing. s the nation of Israel wascoming out of their bondage in Israel, God made a wonderfulpromise. hey had crossed the ed ea and traveled three daysinto the esert of hur. he people were desperately in need of

    water, but could nd none. hey came to a place called arah where there was water, but it was bitterun t for humanconsumption. God used oses to perform a miracle of healingon these waters to make them sweet or healthy. God used thisevent to reveal a new dimension of His nature. He promisedthe nation that if they lived in obedience (which they failed todo), He would keep them from being af icted with the diseasesof Egypt. hen he spoke His name: HWHr ph , I am the

    ord who heals you.

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    I have to confess that the area of supernatural healing is

    a complicated one that I dont fully understand. I have beenblessed to have experienced repeated instances in the life of my family when I have seen Gods healing nature expressedin response to prayer. In my times of prayer, I thank God andpraise Him for those experiences. I am extremely grateful thatGod is HWHr ph .

    YHWHnissi (Exodus 17:15)

    HWH ss means the ord is my banner. his name of God was given to an altar that oses built after Israel defeatedthe malekites during the time of their exodus (Exodus 17:15).

    he signi cance of the name lies in the recognition that God isthe source of victory and success in our lives. He is there to helpus ght the battles we face. When we let Him become the sourceof our salvation, sancti cation, security, provision, protection,guidance, and healing, we no longer need to fear. He has bro-ken the curse of the law and the sources that create our fear of failure. He has promised us hope and a bright future (Jeremiah29:11). He has shown us how to live a life of spiritual prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8). ur lives will not be free of dif culty,but every dif culty can become an opportunity to experienceHis intervention and the victory that only He can give. He is

    HWH ss .

    YHWHshalom (Judges 6:24) s you focus on the names of God in prayer you will nd yourmind ooded with thoughts about the particular dimension of Gods nature you are thinking about. ften these thoughts andinsights are part of an answer to a prayer. You asked the Holy

    pirit to make your prayer time real and meaningful. ow He isinteracting with your mind and giving insights as you pray. eelfree to stop and re ect and meditate on these thoughts. I havehad days when it took over an hour just to pray through theseeight names of God.

    he nal name is something of a summary name. HWH sh l means the ord is peace. ost of us remember the

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    story of Gideon because of his famous eece experiment with

    God. We often fail to remember that Gideon had a powerfulencounter with the angel of the ord prior to this. In responseto this encounter, Gideon, grateful that he encountered Godand lived, built an altar. He gave this altar the name HWH sh l (Judges 6:24).

    Gideon was used in this instance to reveal a profound truth: he ord is peace. he Hebrew word sh l is a much morecomprehensive term than our English word p . It encom-

    passes the concepts of well-being, contentment, harmony,ful llment, and wholeness. It communicates a total state of

    well-being, which is a byproduct of a proper relationship withGod. In the ld estament the sh l of God was intimately related to the blessing of God. he great liturgical blessing of God given to the evites in the book of umbers demonstratesthis relationship:

    Th L ord bl ss y u d k p y u; th L ord k h s sh up y u

    d b r us t y u; th L ord tur h s t w rd y u

    d v y u p [sh l ]. (nu b rs 6:24-26)

    he blessing of God brings the peace of God. If you have

    entered into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, Heis the source of your peace (Ephesians 2:14). Peace is the resultof Gods pirit working in your life and bearing spiritual fruit(Galatians 5:22). s you pray, ask for the peace of God in yourlife. ocus on this dimension of Gods nature, rememberingthat your well-being and wholeness ultimately come from Him.

    hank Him that He is the God of peace, HWHsh l .

    T r u T AT And nT T c urTocusing on Godhallowing His namecan become an

    incredible source of joy in our lives. his is the missing ingre-dient in prayer for many men. s we x our thoughts on whoGod is, we will often nd ourselves experiencing a desire to

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    respond by giving God praise. his is worship. Heartfelt wor-

    ship is intended to be foundational to the prayer experience.he psalms were written as songs of praise and worship. Each isa tangible expression of the psalmists prayer life. s I began tofocus on God and worship Him in my times of prayer, I expe-rienced a shift in my sense of awareness. I began to sense that I

    was in the presence of God.his shouldnt surprise us. Psalm 100 instructs us to enter

    his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (verse 4).

    s we spend time focusing on Gods attributes and character, weshould begin to sense that we are in His presence. ur focus andresponse bring us spiritually through the gates and into thecourts of heaven. Prayer becomes exciting and joyful becausein hy presence is fulness of joy (Psalm 16:11, nAsB ). hisfocus in prayer helps move us into the experience of Gods real-ity.

    ocus is a vital part of an effective prayer life. omething

    happens in our hearts and minds as we spend time concentrat-ing on who God is. If you put energy into this early part of yourprayer time you will nd that prayer becomes vital and exciting.

    You will have consciously entered Gods gates with thanksgiv-ing and His courts with praise. Having moved into His pres-ence and sharpened your spiritual focus, you will be spiritually prepared to take on the next component of prayer. We are now ready to place many of the critical areas of our lives under His

    will and to ask for the coming of His kingdom in our lives.his chapters assignment involves developing this focuseddimension of prayer. You are challenged to move your prayertime up to fteen minutes a day for at least ve days this week.If you spend the time working through each of these names of God, you will probably nd that fteen minutes is inadequate.

    What a great problem to have!

    A n nT T r1. eaf rm your commitment to pray (see page 18).

    2. sk the Holy pirit to help you pray fteen minutes forve days this week.

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    3. evelop the Getting ocused section in your prayer

    notebook.a. ake HWH the rst subsection of this page.b. eview the meaning of HWH and make note of any

    dimension of this name that you want to pray about orrespond to.

    c. utline the eight HWH names of God.d. Jot down what each name means to you.e. Write the words pr s and th ks v at the end of

    each section to remind you to respond.

    4. Pray:a. Pray through your positioning issues.b. Pray through the HWH names of God with deliberate

    praise and thanksgiving.c. Brie y pray through the rest of your outline developed

    from the ords Prayer.

    5. ead Psalm 100 daily this week.

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    4 5

    E C I CE I these days: We could all use divineintervention in our lives. Prayer makes such intervention possi-ble. Jesus instructed us to pray for the kingdom of God to comeand the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    uthentic prayer brings heavenly realities to bear on earthly situations. Ill explain what I mean in this chapter and the next.

    und r TAnd n T K n do fully appreciate and apply this component of prayer, we need

    a proper understanding of the kingdom of God. he concept of the kingdom of God permeated Jesus life and teaching. romthe beginning of His ministry when He declared, epent, forthe kingdom of God is at hand (see ark 1:15), until Hisascension when the disciples asked, Is it at this time that you

    will restore the kingdom to Israel? (see cts 1:6), Christs min-

    istry was about the kingdom.In the ew estament, k d is used to translate theGreek word b s l . his word is used in two different, yetimportant ways. ften the word refers to the realm of a king.

    When you and I think of the concept of a kingdom we usually

    5exPerIenCIngdIvIneInterventIon,

    PArtonec ll t d i w ll sw r y u.

    JeremIAh 33:3

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    think of it in this way. or Western thinkers, kingdom usually

    speaks of geography. We assume that if there is no geographi-cal landmass over which a king reigns, there is no kingdom. omany people in Israel during Jesus time, the concept of thekingdom was primarily connected to a military essiah who

    would overthrow the oman oppressor and reestablish a politi-cal kingdom over the same geographical area King avid onceruled.

    In biblical times, this same Greek word ( b s l ) was also

    used without reference to a geographical realm. In these casesthe word emphasized the reign or dominion of a king without the necessity of a geographical realm. In this sense thekingdom exists wherever the king reigns, whether over a chunk of nearly barren land in the iddle East or in the heart of aperson.

    When Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is within you ( uke 17:21), He was using the word to indicate reign or

    dominion. It was in this context that Christ challenged His fol-lowers to seek rst the kingdom of God and His righteousness( atthew 6:33). He was not instructing them to go on a searchfor an elusive piece of real estate. He was encouraging them toseek the rule and reign of God in their hearts as their highestpriority. When they sought and achieved this objective, they

    would experience the reality of the kingdom. Gods priorities would then dominate and dictate the agenda of their lives.

    God ultimately reigns over the entire universe. But for themoment there appears to be one piece of turf in the cosmosthat is not operating under His reign. You guessed it . . . asmall, insigni cant planet in the western spiral arm of the ilky

    Way galaxy, populated by, among other organisms, a peculiarcarbon-based life form called humans. ollowing certain trans-actions that occurred in what is often referred to as primevalhistory, the dominion over this piece of real estate was forfeited

    to a character who himself had rejected the reign of God some- where before the dawn of time as we know it. You and I have the fortune (or misfortune) of living on

    what C. . ewis called the silent planet. 1 ne day what JesusChrist has already accomplished through His atoning death and

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    triumphant resurrection will be fully consummated. n that day

    the kingdom of this world will once again be the kingdom of our ord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever( evelation 11:15). ntil that day comes, we have been givenan incredible opportunity. hrough the vehicle of prayer, wehave been invited to appropriate unseen kingdom realitiesthepower of God intervening and impacting earthly affairsfor thepurpose of bringing them to bear on earthly situations. Prayerenables us to ask for direct divine intervention.

    T n And n w long with our understanding of the r versus r l empha-sis of the kingdom concept, we also need to understand some-thing of the kingdoms timing. here is de nitely a futuristic oreschatological dimension to this prayer concerning the comingof the kingdom. or years I believed that the signi cance of praying for the kingdom to come involved the second coming

    of Christ and the ful llment of evelation 11:15. Certainly, thatis one dimension of what Jesus was teaching. But we live in aunique period of history where it is possible to experience whattheologian George add called the presence of the future. 2

    hrough Jesus Christ the kingdom of God has made asecret invasion of human history. In the ld estament thepeople of God understood history in a relatively simplistic, lin-ear fashion. hey knew that their time and history had been

    seriously warped by humanitys distorted relationship with Godand the consequences of the all. hey also knew that a time of incredible upheaval was coming in the future when God wouldoverthrow the current regime and establish His kingdom. histransition period was referred to as the ay of the ord (see theillustration below). ollowing this period of upheaval the king-dom of God would be rmly established in the age to come.

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    dAy F T l rd

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    Jesus Christ changed our understanding of historys

    redemption. t a pivotal point in His ministry, Jesus was cast-ing demonic spirits out of human beings whose lives were underthe controlling in uence of these evil spirits. ather than beingecstatically happy about these events, some members of the reli-gious establishment accused Jesus of casting out demons by thepower of a demonic character named Beelzebub.

    Jesus response went straight to the point. If atan werecasting out atan, he would be destroying himselfa nonsensi-

    cal idea ( atthew 12:26-28). Jesus went on to announce boldly that if in fact He was casting out demons by the power of theHoly pirit (which He was), then the kingdom of God hadcome upon them (which it had). he future had arrived. Heav-enly realities were intervening in earthly situations. his new reality can be illustrated by the following schematic.

    What does all of this kingdom theology have to do with your prayer life? Everything! here is an exciting, present appli-cation of the prayer your kingdom come.

    T K n d And PrAy r We live in a time when the presence of the future is a con-stant possibility. We have been given the amazing privilege topray that God will intervene and in uence earthly affairs. Jesustaught us to pray for the coming of His kingdom and for the

    will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In the Greek text, there is a degree of urgency and entreaty that borders on asense of command in this grammatical structure. here is a w-

    ss to these requests. When we pray this prayer, we are callingupon God to intervene in our lives and in our world.

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    > This Age

    n a nationKingdomof od retu n of ch ist

    Age to come

    Presence of the uture Consummation

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    We come to this point in our time of prayer only after aperiod of extended spiritual focus where our hearts and mindshave been set on God Himself. Even as we shift from a heavenly focus to the initial stages of what we might call intercession,

    we are still concentrating on Gods agenda. ur intercessionremains focused on His kingdom and His will. his time of prayer begins with a spirit of relinquishment. We are saying tothe ather, ot my will but Yours. ot my kingdom rst;

    Your kingdom rst! his spirit of relinquishment is then fol-lowed by an authoritative entreaty.

    When we pray for God to in uence earthly situationsthrough His kingdom realities, we should expect that this willhappen. Jesus didnt instruct the disciples to pray this way with-out the expectation that their prayers would release His poweron earth. et me illustrate.

    In cts 12 we learn that Peter was arrested and thrown intoprison. ince Herod had just put James, the brother of John,to death, we might assume that Peter was in serious trouble.

    What was the churchs response to Peters predicament? We aretold that the church was earnestly praying to God for him( cts 12:5). What do you think that they were praying for? Idont believe that they were asking God to help Peter accepthis circumstances. I dont even think they were praying thatPeter would be comforted in his hour of need. I dont believethey were praying that Peter would accept his imminent depar-ture from the land of the living. I believe they were praying ford v t rv t . hey wanted to see the power of heavenintervene in Peters earthly circumstance!

    We are also told h w they were praying. he church wasr stly praying . . . for him ( cts 12:5, emphasis added). It

    appears that with a degree of appropriate authority they werepraying, Come! Come kingdom of God on Peters imprison-ment. Perhaps they believed that it was not Gods will for

    Peter to die yet. If so, they were praying for Peters deliverance.he results were exciting.Blatant divine intervention occurred. God answered the

    prayers of the church. He sent an angel who woke up Peter(without waking the guards he was chained to), released thechains that bound him (still without waking the guards), and led

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    Peter right out of the prison. Peter and the angel walked by theguards, who were apparently blinded, and out of the iron gateof the city (which opened all by itself). Peter was free! Heavenly realities in uenced earthly circumstances in d r t r sp s tothe prayers of Gods people. his was not a Hollywood specialeffect. his was real. he event was so extraordinary that noteven Peter believed it was actually occurring. he text tells usthat he thought he was having a vision ( cts 12:9).

    Peter then went to the house where the men and women

    of the church were praying for him. hey were still praying while Peter stood at the door knocking. When the servant girlreported that Peter was at the door, their response was classic. Youre out of your mind, they told her ( cts 12:15). hechurch didnt have faith that God would actually do what they had prayed about. Im afraid that I can relate too often! ean-

    while, Peter was still knocking. inally, they opened the door.he text says they were astonished. I believe that is one of

    those great biblical understatements. aybe the lights nally went on. Wait a minute! Peter gets jailed, we pray, God springshim! God answers prayer! Gods kingdom had come and His

    will had just been done. I have a feeling that the prayer of every-one involved in this episode took on a whole new vitality.

    Heres the point. Jesus gives those who bear His namethe privilege of appropriating or claiming divine interventionthrough prayer. ont get me wrongwe do not changeGods will. It is not our kingdom we are praying for. We af rmthe will of God through prayer and bring the reality of Hiskingdom into our lives. What an exciting privilege! I hope youcapture a sense of the incomprehensible opportunity that Godhas placed at our ngertips, which awaits our appropriation andapplication.

    With these facts rmly established, lets look at how we canapply these dynamics to several strategic areas. I have identi ed

    ve general areas where I desire to see God intervene on a daily basis and where, I believe, He desires to see His will accom-plished. We will explore two of these areas in the remainder of this chapter and the other three in chapter 6.

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    Ar A n : PrAy n F r ur P r nAl l v

    Jesus Christ has given us permission to seek divine interventionin our personal lives. He delights in our desire to experience Hisintervention. Consequently, part of our time in prayer should bedevoted to praying for our own spiritual needs. We can beginby af rming