The best prayer is useless if it doesn’t express true intentions
Q. James 5.16 talks about “effective prayer.” What is that?
A. The followers of Yeshua asked Him to teach them to pray because they saw that He had results, so He goes into what has been called “The Lord’s Prayer.”
This prayer is not “original” and it was a very typical Jewish prayer. It was a model prayer and that means we should pray as the Scriptures teach us.
This prayer sums up the major themes of what true prayer is.
This also shows us, contrary to what many teach today, that Jews were not hypocrites because “they did not know what to say.”
Their prayers were fine. Yeshua used them in His “model prayer.” The problem was not with the words, the form, the content or the petitions.
All of that was how it should have been. The problem was that did not pray with sincerity and truth. There was no repentance or faith.
The best prayer is useless if it doesn’t express the true intentions of the heart. The Lord looks on the heart and judges any prayer by the faith with which it was offered.
Any Jewish person who heard Yeshua model this prayer would have agreed with its contents and found it acceptable.
However, there is a warning to praying the same words over and over again thinking repetition will gain favor.
This was the mentality of many people in book called “The Didache” that “The Lord’s Prayer” should be said three times a day like Jewish prayers.
This carries a fatal tendancy to turn prayer into a performance instead of the language of faith, love and gratitude. Prayer is a real dependance on the Lord.
That is the true essence of prayer, but the form and content, no matter how orthodox, is worthless if the heart is not humble before the Lord and if the prayer is not the true utterance and expression of the heart.
Yeshua’s prayers were effective and that is why His followers asked Him to “teach us to pray.”
Look at how the Tabernacle was constructed. It starts with the Ark and works its way outward (Exodus 40). This is how God see’s us. It is as if He is in the Holy of Holies looking “out” if you will.
Now, the Tabernacle was a House of Prayer and how it was constructed gives us a clue to effective prayer.
But, when you approach the Tabernacle from the outside going in, the Lord gives us a lesson on how to approach Him. Next week we will discuss this teaching in Exodus and give some insights into effective prayer.