By Wolfgang Schneider
During the last few years I had at different times written a few studies about the topic of prayer which were published either in our Newsletter Wir vom Weg or in Vol 7 of the Series Licht auf meinem Wege, among them “Prayer – Fellowship with our heavenly Father”, “Prayer – the vital element of our life”, “Prayer in the church”, “Take time to pray”, “Praying with the right attitude”. Many aspects of this very important topic of prayer are dealt with and are set forth with examples from the Scriptures.
During the course of the last few weeks I was able to learn some tremendous things about prayer, and I am thankful especially to have gained a deeper insight in the meaning of the so-called “Our Father” prayer which is recorded in two of the Gospels. This knowledge and a number of talks with other believers, as well as reading a very inspiring book with the title “Becoming a man of PRAYER” by B. Beltz, have motivated me to a greater degree than before to expand my prayer life, yes – to even structure it completely new in certain areas.
In this study I will set forth some of the important points which have helped me greatly to renew my prayer life and to pray more effectively to God, my heavenly Father.
The basis for this study is really the so-called “Our Father”, which is part of an instruction about prayer which Jesus taught to his disciples. This instruction about prayer was first part of the first large recorded sermon of Jesus which he taught shortly after the beginning of his public ministry on a mountain in Galilee (the “sermon on the mount”) which we can read of in Matthew 6; furthermore, another and very similar instruction about prayer is recorded from a later time in his ministry when one of the disciples asked Jesus pointedly about the topic of prayer and which we read in Luke 11. At these two occasions, Jesus taught his disciples about prayer, he explained to them how they should pray. This should really catch our attention and cause us to carefully consider what was taught!
Unfortunately, I must confess that during the course of several years of my life as a Christian I did not understand this instruction of Jesus about prayer very well, and also that, partly influenced by teaching which I had received, I did not teach this section of scripture as it should have been done and would have been necessary. At the time acknowledging biblical times and administrations was foremost in my mind and unfortunately the point that these truths of course are still as applicable today as then was somewhat pushed into the background. Also, it wasn’t quite as clear to me that these two teachings were far more an instruction for prayer, a guideline or outline, and not a specific prayer prescribed to be prayed. This really became evident and clear to me now as I was able to gain a better understanding after all these years of what Jesus had taught his disciples in order to instruct them on how to pray effectively and successfully. I pray for forgiveness where some due to the lack of instruction during those years perhaps have felt hindered in their growth in Christ, and I expect that all may be abundantly blessed by God, our heavenly Father, as they read and work through this study.