The Most Important Prayer By Jim Stern
Most Important Prayer for Every Circumstance
“The model prayer of our Lord, called familiarly ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ is the universal prayer, because it is peculiarly adapted to all men everywhere in all circumstances in all times of need.”
Edward McKendree (E.M.) Bounds (1835–1913) was a Methodist minister and Civil War chaplain. He considered prayer to be essential to life and as vital as physical breath. During his life, he wrote several books on it and devoted his life to intercessory praying. He felt deeply it had far-reaching influence and effect and blessed people in their everyday lives in so many ways.
Bounds believed the Lord’s Prayer, in particular, is a model that needs no change and is appropriate for every family, people, and nation.
I agree with Bounds. The Lord’s prayer is the single, most important useful outline given to humanity. Nothing compares to it. Interestingly, it is the most widely known in the Bible, but unfortunately, it’s rarely used. In my training and speaking sessions, I often ask my audience how many of them know the Prayer. Every hand goes up. Then I ask how many use it daily, and all the hands go down. I don’t understand why the model for it so it is neglected.
Jesus, the Son of God, gave us this prayer because its truths produce incredible power—a power by which we can live and breathe and know true spiritual life; a power that, when wielded correctly can bring victory into the daily battles of our souls. So why don’t we pray it every day? Why do we let it lay fallow in the pages of our Bibles?
Maybe it’s because we don’t understand the benefits of the Lord’s Prayer.
Intimacy with the Father is the supreme benefit of the Lord’s Prayer. It was for Jesus, and it can be for us. Through it, Jesus opens the door to a transforming personal relationship that will never end. There is no real, sustaining spiritual life apart from intimacy with God. Jesus said in John 5:19,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
Jesus lived in deep communion with His Father. Prayer was the mechanism, the instrument, by which He experienced oneness.
People often feel alienated. They feel estranged, cut off, separated, and their life is unfulfilled. Candidly, only God can provide a pure and abundant love. Only God can be consistent and unconditional. And His Son knew that, and He wants us to know that as well.
Whenever anyone is saved from their sin and brought from death to life, that which separated them is removed so that they are reconnected with the One who created them. Jesus did not go to the cross only to forgive sin; He died to forgive sin so that intimacy could happen! The heart of Jesus’s Prayer is intimacy—it is a chord that begins in and carries through the words he spoke.
In addition to greater intimacy with your heavenly Father, learning the Prayer also multiplies your confidence. How many times do we pray, just hoping that we’re saying the “right” thing? How many prayers do we offer up in “meaningless repetition (Matt. 6:7),” as if God requires a quota of words before He will respond? Practicing the Lord’s Prayer will boost your confidence because you are praying the words of Jesus Himself. How can you go wrong? Both your boldness in prayer and your willingness to pray for others will increase.
As E.M. Bounds reminds us, the Lord’s Prayer is universal. It has many benefits and can be applied to every situation in our life. Praying it will effectively and powerfully equip you to confront the unpredictability of daily life in the anointing of God Himself. For every son or daughter of the Father in heaven, Jesus’s Prayer of prayers unleashes the strength of God and the will of God—to our benefit and for His glory.
Jim Stern serves as senior pastor for CORE Church in Houston, Texas. He is also the founder of TREXO, a consulting ministry that serves churches and ministries in multi-generational disciple-making. Jim is a frequent speaker and the author of several books, including BE: The Way of Rest, the first in a series of books devoted to his greatest passion in the Lord, and a crucial need of the church today–discipling people and sending them to disciple others.
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