Jesus made this sobering statement, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praises from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the father. There is one that accuses you, namely Moses, in whom you trust. For if you had believed Moses you would also have believed me, because he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe my words” (Jn. 5:43-47).
Jesus insisted that prayer should yield visible results. It is not just a Christian concept, but human nature demands it. In his Sermon on the Mount He said this, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Mt. 7:11)? King Hezekiah faced death. He prayed to the God of Israel and the Lord added fifteen years to his life (II Ki. 20:1-6). I, too, cried to the Lord when I was twelve, twenty-one and in my sixties with cancer and God granted me extensions. I am proof that the results of prayer are visible; not just because I am alive, but also with what I am doing to help others answer their own prayers.
I have come to realize, that I lacked insight into my petitions because I do not think l like a child. Jesus stunned the people in his day with these words, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth for hiding these things from the wise and understanding and revealing them to babes. Yes, Father, it pleased you to reveal your will to children” (Mt. 11:25-26).
Paul, the Gentile Apostle, wrote to his Roman Christians, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Ro. 13:8-10). Jesus was far more specific what we should pray for, after we have fulfilled some definite obligations. “And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses” (Mt. 6:12-15).
The second half of the prayer deals with human concerns for food. This one begins with our daily need for bread. Jesus told his disciple to pray thus: “The daily bread, give to us today.” How does God feed us daily? He does not sow or reap, nor does God grind the seed into flour and then bake it in an oven. How then does God feed man or even the animals? We are told that God takes care of the birds that neither sow nor reap or gather in barns (Lk. 12:24). Are the birds sitting in their nests and is the Lord carrying food to them? Of course, He does no such thing. Birds happen to be very busy. They spend most of their time gathering food. They even fight each other over a crumb. It appears, that the birds just exist to fill their little bodies. Man is not like that. He was created for a higher purpose than to gathering only food.
Once the Fathers has been properly addressed and approached through the name of His son, one must then request that His kingdom come to earth and His will be done as it is being done in heaven. This request is like a crossword puzzle. It can only be solved within the framework of the puzzle. In a similar way, prayer can only be answered effectively within the realm of God’s kingdom, which represents his work on earth. Only the kingdom provides the conditions in which prayer can thrive and prosper. It does not mean that the Lord cannot be heard by those outside this kingdom; but those that live within His will have a much better chance to receive both answers and support from the other members of the kingdom. The environment of the kingdom is much more conducive to those in need than the world. The kingdom of Jesus represents a world where people have come from all walks of life, good and bad to find refuge in the arms of Christ their savior and comforter. Here they have been forgiven, reconciled and accepted into the family of God. And it is in the kingdom that they find sympathy and assistance. Jesus, the founder of the kingdom, promised that no one shall be turned away that turns to him and abides within his domain (Jn. 6:37).
Jesus held that we must always pray and never give up. Sooner than later, our heavenly Father will do what is best and what is right for us (Lk. 18:1). He, Himself, prayed after His baptism (Lk. 3:21), often alone before an important decision (Mk. 3:35; 6:46), and before He was betrayed (Mk. 14:32-38). Jesus preferred the “closed to public prayer” (Mt. 6:6), and He was against long prayers with unnecessary words (Mt. 6:5). He believed that prayer was a deterrent for temptations (Lk. 22:40, 46), and that prayer could alter conditions like persecution or tribulation (Mt. 24:20). And Jesus practiced and taught intercessory prayer (Lk. 6:28; 22:32; Jn. 14:16; 16:26; 17:15-20).