“Teach Us to Pray” is a study in our Lord’s response to His first disciples when they asked Him, “…Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1b) Now, two thousand years later his disciples are still asking, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
My own journey began over twenty-five years ago when, as a new believer, I found myself spending hours alone seeking God in the remote areas of Thousand Oaks, California, as well as early morning prayer with other brothers, Monday through Friday at 6:00 A.M. Then, I moved to Ventura and used the top of an old Victorian house, or the railroad tracks, or the beach as my “secret place”. From there I moved to Idaho and found snow covered roads where I would pray until my feet got too cold, or in the bathroom of the studio apartment that I shared with two other guys. In the summer, the streams and a small hill overlooking the market where I worked became my favorite places to pray. I also began to read about prayer from others who had gone before me: E.M. Bounds, “Praying Hyde”, Brother Lawrence, and others. This only increased my appetite. I prayed in the morning but woke my roommates up. So I had to learn to find that secret place where I could meet with God but not disturb others. After Cammy and I got married, I found early morning walks, from 5:00-7:00 A.M., provided me time to pray and not interfere with the family (although I was tired at times).
By the time we started Jubilee Church in September of 1984, I was a “practicing, praying disciple”. I was determined that Jubilee would be a “house of prayer”. Besides our Sunday services in the banquet hall of a pizza place, our first meetings were a men’s prayer meeting held on Friday mornings at 6:00 A.M. at a member’s house. When we leased our first building in Santa Rosa Plaza, we immediately began early-morning prayer, Monday through Friday at 6:00 A.M.
It was around this time that I came across a teaching by Dr. Larry Lea entitled, “Could You Not Tarry One Hour?”. From this teaching I made many life-changing discoveries in the art of prayer. I say “art” because prayer is certainly not a science, for as we commune with the Creator of the universe, He often supersedes many of His own rules as He imparts grace.
Dr. Lea taught that the “Lord’s Prayer” was not meant to be a thirty second recital but an outline. This outline contains a plan to pray that was taught by Jesus. The outline was broken into six parts with each part addressing important aspects of our walk with Him. For me, the most revolutionary thing in this outline was found in Part Two: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Dr. Lea taught me to pray my priorities. Up until this time, I prayed my opportunities or problems – whatever excited me, or most irritated me. I had discovered the hard way that this “hit and miss” approach left things not covered until they affected me.
Once I began to practice the Lord’s Prayer, stability, soundness, and strength came to me, as integrity increased in every area of my life: my secret life, my married life, my family life, my church life, and my work – simply because I remembered to pray for all of them! At the same time, I heard Pastor Jack Hayford say, “Some people are not mentioned in heaven because no one mentions them on earth in prayer.” This challenged me to mention my family and extended family members every time I prayed. The Apostle Paul said, “…always in every prayer of mine making mention of you all with joy.” (Philippians 1:4)
Much of what is in this pamphlet, I have discovered as I practiced the outline that Dr. Larry Lea gave. The Holy Spirit, seasons of life, and His workings have expanded upon this outline found in the Lord’s Prayer and this is by no means a finished product. I continue to discover new things in prayer and the prayer emphases change to keep up with God, but the simple steps in prayer, that Jesus taught His disciples, remain consistent.
Recently, while I was teaching this method of prayer to a group of about twenty people on an early Thursday morning, I realized that what is so needed is “constant prayer”. Not conformity, but consistency – constant, continual prayer. An Olympic athlete excels through constant practice, and you will excel as you practice prayer.
Jesus’ disciples did not ask Him to teach them “how” to pray, but simply “to” pray. May that also be our request as we follow our Lord together.
About Steve Dittmar
For over thirty years, Steve and Cammy Dittmar have pastored Jubilee Church in Camarillo, California.
With five children and six grandchildren, the Dittmar’s are known not only for their prophetic and apostolic gifting but also for helping believers fully possess their inheritance in Christ Jesus.
TEACH US TO PRAY
Finding The Place
Jesus’ ministry was prayer based. He modeled for us the value of consistent prayer. He lived a life of constant prayer. From the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry we see prayer being central.
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight. He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
The busier Jesus got, the more He prayed. Jesus prayed to the extent that He literally did nothing but what He saw (in prayer) the Father doing. He spoke nothing except what He heard the Father saying. He judged in the same manner.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” (John 5:19-20)
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30)
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’” (Luke 22:39-40)
Notice two phrases that marked Jesus’ secret:
1. “As He was accustomed…” Jesus made it a habit while in Jerusalem to go up to the Mount of Olives to pray.
2. “When He came to the place…” Jesus prayed so often, that He had “the place”.
Consistent prayer will build altars into our lives and a place of prayer. Finding our place is one of practice. Ask yourself, “Where and when do I meet God best? In church? At home? On a walk? Kneeling? Standing? In the morning? At night?” Through constant practice you will discover your place of prayer and build your altar.
Places of prayer change with seasons and God’s movement in our lives, but whenever God moves us, the first thing we must build is our altar of prayer.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 12:7-8)
And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees at Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord. (Genesis 13:18)
Abraham had His priorities right. He built his altar and pitched his tent.
Daniel is another example of the power of consistent prayer. Prayer was outlawed in Babylon, with punishment by death. Daniel knew he could end up in the lion’s den, but he could pray because he had always prayed.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days. (Daniel 6:10)
Daniel had built an altar. He had done this by practicing prayer. He had come to “the place” and fear of death could not stop him because he had always been doing this.
Ask God where He wants to meet you and when you should meet there. If you don’t feel you hear something specific, then choose a place that is free from interruptions and distractions, as well as a time that will not conflict with other commitments. Many find praying the first thing in the day to be very effective. It’s like the tuning of a violin before the day’s performance begins.
TEACH US TO PRAY
“Your Kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” … Matthew 6:10
This part of the Lord’s Prayer illustrates our praying God’s priorities while praying over our own priorities. God’s priorities are “His kingdom and His will”.
Priorities for those married are:
1. Relationship with God
2. Relationship with mate
3. Relationship with children
4. Relationship with extended family
5. Relationship with church family
6. Our nation
Priorities for the unmarried and those living at home are:
1. Relationship with God
2. Relationship with parents
3. Relationship with siblings
4. Relationship with extended family
5. Relationship with church family
6. Our nation.
In each priority we pray God’s priority – “His kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Here are some truths and scriptures to pray to authorize God’s reign in your life and in the lives of those you love. Pray through each priority, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you for each person for whom you are praying. People and priorities are dynamic and alive, and always in flux. The Holy Spirit, as well as obvious needs and circumstances, will direct you as to how to pray for these people.
Example: One member of your family may need favor, while the other may need a healing. Someone may be in a struggle, while another needs a revelation of God. Someone may require extra prayer while another only requires thanksgiving. The Holy Spirit will help you with this—that is His job. (John 14:16,17, John 16:13,14)
What is the kingdom of God?
“…for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteous-ness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
● Pray May Your kingdom – righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – be in my life.
● Pray Not my kingdom, but Your kingdom; not my will but Your will be done.
● Pray I commit this day to You; all that I do, let it be in Your will. I commit all to You this day (appointments, tests, opportunities) to You this day – be Lord over my life.
● Pray “Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name. The righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142:7
● Pray “Grace to you and peace from God my Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7 ) This blessing is found at the beginning of all of Paul’s Epistles.
● Pray Paul’s Revelation Prayers:
1. Ephesians 1:15-21 “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are
the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which he worked in Christ when he raised Him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
2. Ephesians 3:14-21 “For his reason I bow my knees to the Father of our lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen”.
3. Colossians 1:9-12 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light”.
● Pray for particular things regarding the person for whom you are praying that concerns them at present: health, finances, projects, tests, work of grace, renewal.
● Pray for blessing – give those for whom you are praying every good thing you can think of in Christ: favor, peace, joy, blessing, hope, the desires of their heart fulfilled.
Praying your priorities as God’s priorities is a dynamic process. The Holy Spirit will use this time of prayer to release His kingdom and His will into your life and family. You will see God‘s kingdom and His will translated from Heaven into your everyday living.
If we will pray our priorities, we will live our priorities.
Prayer precedes God’s coming.
TEACH US TO PRAY
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” … Matthew 6:11
Next to faith, forgiveness may well be the most important component of our walk with God. Forgiveness is so important that the willingness (or unwillingness) to forgive literally determines whether or not we are ourselves forgiven. This part of the Lord’s Prayer is so important that Jesus elaborated on it in the next few verses following the Prayer:
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
To override my thinking, I have often prayed thus: “Father, please forgive me in the same way that I forgive others.” Needless to say, I want all the forgiveness I can get, so I must give all the forgiveness that I need.
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)
Forgiveness, therefore, includes releasing people from the debts that they owe you, cancelling the need for repayment or even acknowledgement of the debts. Forgiveness effects a release of the emotion of forgiveness, and a receiving of healing.
“Cast your bread upon the water,” as Ecclesiastes 11:1 instructs, and let the seed die. “Forgive” in the original Greek version of the New Testament, means to send, let go, or send forth. We ask God to forgive (leave, let go, send forth) our debts (what we owe, and are under obligation to perform) as we ourselves forgive (leave, let go, send forth) those indebted (those who owe us, and are under an obligation to perform) to us. When we forgive, we “let it go”, in the simplest of terms.
We need, then, to do the following:
- Ask God to forgive us
Take the time to confess your sin. Sin leaves by way of the mouth. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)
- Forgive those who have trespassed against us
We often deal with offense by denying it, burying it, or trying to ignore it. Confess what someone has done to you. They trespassed against you, so you need to declare what they did and then forgive them. God desires truth in the inward parts (Ps. 51:6), so what is inside you must come out.
- Forgive ourselves
“…To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)
We need to forgive ourselves, and we need to receive forgiveness. Isaiah 61:3 explains what I call The Great Exchange Principle – His beauty for our ashes, His joy for our mourning, His peace for our heaviness. In order for this exchange to take place, though, you have to give God your failures. Don’t keep them and try to fix them on your own. Instead, offer them up to him.
- Bless those who curse you
“…not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (I Peter 3:9)
When it comes to forgiving, you must replace what has been cast out with that which is of God. Blessing restores you into blessing.
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” (Luke 6:27-31)
Keep short accounts
The longer the debt, the larger it becomes, and the harder it is to forgive. “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
- Forgiveness is free
There is no limit to forgiveness! You can use it often, and continually. It will never run out.
“…Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8b)
Forgive until you are free
When do you know that forgiveness is complete? You are free when the offending person, event, or situation can enter your mind or life without it twisting your stomach. What is the twisting in your stomach? It is the root of bitterness.
- Bitterness is failed grace and missed expectations
We become bitter when what we believe should have happened did not happen, and we did not forgive and receive grace for the situation. In such a case, we carry around a bag of ashes with us, nurse a wound, and long for revenge.
- Unforgiveness is a sin
Deal with unforgiveness as a sin, not as a friend. It will destroy your life.
- Bitter people cannot taste sweet things
“All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15)
- Unforgiveness binds a person to his sin
Choosing not to forgive ensures that you will always experience the same treatment from the offending person. This is especially terrible in marriages because one literally binds his/her sin to his or her spouse, and then has to live with him or her.
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23)
- Forgiveness does not justify the offense; it just makes you free
Vengeance is God’s responsibility; blessing is yours. “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’,” says the Lord. “Therefore, If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21)
Forgiveness unclogs our fellowship with God
You must be capable of being ‘caught’ before you can be forgiven. Welcome conviction, be quick to confess, and the joy of repentance will continually be yours.
- Ask God to forgive the sins of others
“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.” (I John 5:16)
“Then he [Stephen] knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:60)
- Repentance is a door opener to faith, God’s love, and true worship. Luke 7:36-50 illustrates these principles in the recounting of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, and in the parable of the two debtors.
TEACH US TO PRAY
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13
We start with praise and we end with praise. Worship first, and then ask. Ask, and then worship. To give God the glory, and thanks, is faith in action. Thanksgiving is proclaiming trust and assurance in God’s goodness and faithfulness.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving to thanks be made for all men…” (I Timothy 2:1)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God…” (Philippians 4:6)
As we conclude our prayer time, we must give to God the honor due Him. Proclaim that it is His kingdom, His power and His glory. In other words, we proclaim that He imposes His unmerited favor to all people and to all creation—Grace, Grace, Grace!
“So he answered and said to me: ‘this is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7)
Above all else, a grateful heart is one we are to hold before the Lord. We are to give Him thanks and praise for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men!
Here are two of God’s favorite choruses:
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (I Chronicles 16:34)
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:8)
TEACH US TO PRAY
“When you pray say, ‘Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Luke 11:2; Matthew 6:9)
As we begin our prayer time, let us examine three important points:
1. “Say” – Prayer should be out loud – loud enough for you to hear yourself praying.
2. “Our Father” – Jesus taught His disciples they were to address the Father in prayer. “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” (John 16:23)
3. “Hallowed be Your Name” – Hallowed means to “make holy, sanctify”. Simply put, make God BIG – make God good! This time of prayer is praise, praise toward His name.
The following are a few ways to “Hallow His Name”:
A. The Covenant Names of God
On the following pages are a list of the covenant names of the Lord/Jehovah and where they are first mentioned in
scripture. As an example of how you might pray as you hallow the name of Jehovah Tsidkenu, you could say, “ Hallowed be Your name, Jehovah Tsidkenu. I thank You that You are my righteousness.” Always personalize God so you can receive Who He is for you.
● Jehovah – Tsidkenu (tsid-kay’-noo) Jehovah is our righteousness
“In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: The Lord our Righteousness.” “In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: The Lord our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16
● Jehovah – M’kaddesh (mah-kaw-dash’) Jehovah who sanctifies
“Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” Exodus 31:13
● Jehovah – Shalom (shaw-lome’) Jehovah is peace
“So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it is still in Oprah of the Abiezrites.” Judges 6:24
● Jehovah – Shammah (shawm’-mah) Jehovah is here with us
“All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.” Ezekiel 48:35
● Jehovah – Rophe (raw-faw’) Jehovah heals
“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you,” Exodus 15:26
● Jehovah – Jireh (yir-eh’) Jehovah my Provider
“And Abraham called the name of the place, The Lord Will Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided’.” Genesis 22:14
● Jehovah – Nissi (nis-see’) Jehovah my Banner
“And Moses built an altar and called its name, The Lord Is My Banner”. Exodus 17:15
● Jehovah – Rohi (ro-ee’) Jehovah my Shepherd
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1
● Jehovah – Shamar (shaw-mar’) Jehovah my Protector
“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil”. Psalm 121:5
● Jehovah – Tsebahoth (tsaw-baw’-oth) Jehovah-Lord of Hosts
“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied’.” I Samuel 17:45
● Jehovah – Hoseenu (aw-saw’-noo) Jehovah our Maker
“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Psalm 95:6
B. The Proclaimed Name of God
Here God answers Moses’ prayer, “Please, show me your glory.” by proclaiming His name. Here God Himself reveals His glory in His name, and in His name He reveals His goodness and mercy. In Heaven the four living creatures cry “holy, holy, holy”, but on earth we cry “mercy, mercy, mercy”. As you declare back to God who He says He is, faith will grow.
Then He [God] said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you…” (Exodus 33:18-19)
Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. (Exodus 34:5-8)
David discovered this soft spot in our Father’s heart when He declared, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever”, I Chronicles 16:34, at the setting up of the tabernacle.
Solomon, his son, canonized this truth about God at the dedication of the temple, “Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: ‘For He is good, for His mercy endures forever’”, II Chronicles 5:13, 14.
The children of Israel adopted this chorus as their own at the end of the temple dedication service, “When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, for His mercy endures forever”, II Chronicles 7:3.
King Jehosaphat used it in war, “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying; Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever’”, II Chronicles 20:21,22.
C. The Glory Given to His Name in Heaven
In the book of Revelation there are recorded six “worship sessions”. Beginning in chapter four when John is called up to see the throne, and ending in chapter nineteen with the marriage supper of the Lamb. Praise in heaven is progressive, and explosive! Praise begins with the four living creatures crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come”. From this hallowing of God’s name as Self-Existent One, the twenty-four elders fall down and proclaim, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor, and power for you created all things and by Your will we exist and were created”.
Now, the circle is expanded from four living creatures to the twenty-four elders. The scope is enlarged too, from Self- Existent One to Creator and Sustainer of all things.
This expansion continues through all the praise sessions, the circle of praise enlarging and the scope of God’s completeness expanding.
Chapter five begins with silence. A scroll is introduced that contains the unfolding of redemption, but no one is worthy to open the scroll. This is a critical moment, for it underscores the fact that creation cannot save itself. Only Christ is worthy to open the scroll and thus unfold redemption’s story.
You will also observe that after each praise session there is movement in heaven which affects earth. Praise releases judgments, revelation, and the unfolding of redemption’s story on the earth. It has been said that the book of Revelation is a glimpse into heaven’s worship; God revealing Himself, heaven responding in worship, and God moving forward in redemption on earth. God is in the center with each circle of worshipers bowing down in a holy implosion to Him, and God moving out further in His redemptive power. Finally, the whole of creation will return to Him, and God will fold up the universe as a giant picnic blanket. I call this the holy implosion factor! As creation has sped out at the speed of light, so everything will implode back into Him at the end of all days. This pull is increasing as time is elapsing, and the revelation, worship and unfolding of God’s redemption is accelerating.
A very simplified picture of these six sessions is as follows:
In heaven there is a constant implosion of worship. The four living creatures cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” (Revelation 4:8) Next, the twenty-four elders fall down and throw their crowns and say, “You are worthy…” (Revelation 4:11).
After this, the Lamb comes and takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits on the throne. Now the four living creatures and the twenty four elders fall down, before the Lamb and sing, “You are worthy to take the scroll and open it’s seals…” Revelation 5:8-10.
Then comes the voices of many angels (ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands) plus the living creatures and elders saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain…” Revelation 5:12.
Finally, every creature which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, and in the sea say, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13) This all takes place in the first two worship sessions in chapter four and five.
The seals begin to be opened until the seventh seal is finally about to open. Now the great multitude of saints cries out, “Salvation belongs to our God…” The angels, elders and living creatures join and worship, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom…” (Revelation 7:9-12)
The seventh seal opens and the sounds of the seven trumpets begin. As the seventh trumpet sounds, session four begins, “The kingdom of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ…” (Revelation 11:15-19) The revelation of God’s rule through Christ accelerates both judgments upon the earth, and rewards to His saints. War breaks out, and literally all heaven and hell break out for the duration of the next three chapters.
In Session Five, we see tested, overcoming saints standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire. They are singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty…” (Revelation 15:1-4) Now come the seven bowls of judgment.
Session Six is the judgment of the harlot and the invitation to the marriage feast, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments…Alleluia! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns!” (Revelation 19:1-8)
The circle of worship begins with the four living creatures. Then come the twenty-four elders, the angels, every creature which is in heaven and on earth, and finally, the redeemed. As each circle group worships, this holy implosion causes the outside circle to worship, and so on. Heaven is also caused to move in a new way and the earth, subsequently responds. As you progress through the Book of Revelation, you will behold God and His workings from the inside out.
God is manifested in His works as follows: He is first the Self-Existent One, Creator, and Sustainer. Next, He is Redeemer, Savior, Judge, Undisputed Ruler, and King. Finally, He is the Bridegroom God: He redeems man to Himself to be a kingdom of priests who shall rule on earth—a bride who has made herself ready!
Time spent proclaiming these eternal praises in your “hallowing times”, will open the eyes of your understanding to behold His beauty, His workings, and His love for His bride.
Worship Session I
“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’” (Rev. 4:8-11)
Worship Session II
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’” (Rev. 5:8-10)
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angles around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Rev. 5:11-12)
“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” (Rev. 5:13-14)
Worship Session III
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’” (Rev. 7: 9-12)
Worship Session IV
“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.’ Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev. 11:15-19)
Worship Session V
“They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.’ After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” (Rev. 15:3-5)
Worship Session VI
“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.’ Again they said, ‘Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’ Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!’ And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'”(Rev. 19: 1-9a)
TEACH US TO PRAY
“Give us this day our daily bread” ….Matthew 6:11
Now we ask God to give us our daily provision. God has structured our provision into daily allotments, so that we are actually dependent upon Him each day for our needs. Our “daily bread” consists of everything we need to live our lives before the Lord on Earth.
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (II Peter 1:2-4)
Ask the Lord for what you know you need.
Provision for Finances
Ask God for what you need. You may need favor on the job, the closing of a business transaction, or any other necessity. Be specific. If you need money for something, ask for it. Often, we have not have because we do not ask. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
“’Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’” says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts; ‘And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:10-12)
Provision for Healing
Healing is the children’s bread, so ask for healing. “Father, I bring my need of healing to Your attention and receive Your provision of healing through the atonement on the cross by Jesus Christ”.
Provision of Revelation
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write then on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. (v.11) “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (v12) “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:10-12)
Provision of Favor, Grace and Mercy
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but as in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
“Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’” (Exodus 33:19)
TEACH US TO PRAY
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13
This part of our prayer is one of humbly asking for help to avoid being led into temptation, tests, and trials, and to be delivered instead from the evil one and his desires.
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:13-17)
We see that God does not lead us into temptation, but rather we are “drawn away” by our own lust. Our propensity to sin is ever with us. Our request to be kept from sin (and not even led into temptation) ought be made in humility and dependence on God for guidance and protection.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:1-2 )
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6-7)
We are a mixed-up people, easily warring in lust, only to find God resisting us in our pride.
Therefore, let us ask God to:
• Keep us from temptation
• Keep us from presumptuous sin
• Keep us from pride that blinds our eyes and causes God to resist us
• Help us to clothe ourselves with humility
“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (I Peter 5:8-9)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Let us ask God to:
• Deliver us from the evil one
• Loose us from sickness, curses, and plans of darkness
• Destroy the works of darkness over our life. “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (I John 3:8)
Let us Confess His blood covering us and His testimony in us, and let us not love our life unto the death. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelations 12:11)
Lead us not into temptation…
• Walk in humility and obedience, acknowledging our dependence upon God to keep us in the way of life.
• Glorify God and give thanks. Gratitude is a “divine insulation” keeping one free from the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life. Gratitude is an attitude that keeps the heart free.
Deliver us from the evil one…
• Ask the Lord to cover you with the full armor of God
• Ask that God cover you with the blood of Jesus
• Proclaim your faith in Him—the word of your testimony
• Love not your life – even unto death
Five Temptations Common to Man
“Moreover brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness”. ( I Corinthians 10:1-5)
• “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted”. (Corinthians 10:6)
• “And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play’”. (I Corinthians 10:7)
• “Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell”. (I Corinthians 10:8)
• “Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents”. (I Corinthians 10:9)
• “Nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” (I Corinthians 10:10)
All things happen for a reason, and God’s got a plan
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”. (I Corinthians 10:11-13)
Five things to do when being tempted
• Pray the prayer of faith
This is a bold declaration in God‘s victory in the present situation that you face. Elisha said to his servant, “Do not fear, for these who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16) We might say, “Greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), or “I shall overcome.” (John 16:33) or “This sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God.” (John 11:4) Cast your faith to the other side of the temptation; it’s your destination.
• Glorify God
Abraham grew strong in faith giving glory to God, (Romans 4:20). When you glorify God you extol His greatness and magnify His ability. This protects you form idolatry and trusting in other means instead of God.
• Exercise Self-Control
Buffet your body, check your emotions, stop, wait, and listen. Don’t run faster; stop, wait, and listen. We have all had the experience of fear griping our hearts and causing us to run faster and faster. We have also experienced losing vision, casting off restraints, and compromise in order to get what we want. Don’t do this! Wait, quiet yourself, and listen.
• Humble Yourself
In both, James 4 and I Peter 5, which deal with temptation, we are exhorted to humble ourselves so that God can exalt us in due time.
• Give Thanks to God
In the midst of the temptation, thank Him for victory and the lesson learned. His faithfulness is a present help in time of need.
Teach Us to Pray
Chapter 8 &9
JUBILEE CHURCH PRAYER COVERING
In 1997, the Lord began to speak to me concerning a prayer covering for our county. I believe that I heard Him say, “Raise up a prayer covering over Ventura County.” As I meditated on this charge, I was drawn to Isaiah 4:4-6:
“When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.
These verses are full of “prophetic process”. The washing, purging, judging, and burning are all precursors to creation (“then the LORD will create…”). Particularly awesome to me is the statement, “For over all the glory there will be a covering.” (v.4b) where He goes on to speak of a Tabernacle.
From God’s introduction, to the nation of Israel continuing, to His dwelling in Jerusalem, there was always the concept of a Tabernacle – The Temple in tent form. The Ark of the Covenant was covered with four layers of coverings. I believe that our prayers establish a tent covering, or place for God to dwell. God has chosen to dwell with us and in the midst of us; our corporate prayer is like a tabernacle.
In June of 2001, the Lord revealed to me a simple plan to harmonize our “Seven Pillars of Grace” with the seven days of the week. By praying for a mere five minutes a day for each one of these things, these pillars of grace would enable the church body to raise a prayer covering.
“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out her seven pillars;” Proverbs 9:1.
The themes for these pillars I was given are as follows:
• Sunday – God
• Monday – Authority
• Tuesday – Family
• Wednesday – Prosperity
• Thursday – Miracles
• Friday – Community
• Saturday – Rest
What might happen if we were to proclaim blessing in these areas? Quite possibly, a heavenly cadence would begin to sound. Christ would dwell in the midst of this simple agreement, and our Father would hear from heaven and respond to it! (Matthew 18:19)
Who knows? God does! One thing I know is that any prayer covering involves layers, and such coverings become thick and impervious to unlawful entry. Again, I trust what Isaiah prophesied, “Then the Lord will create…”
Teach Us to Pray
SEVEN PILLARS OF GRACE
In 2003, the Lord made clearer to the church the vision with the Seven manifestations of the Spirits of God as shown in Isaiah 11:2: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”.
We know there is One Spirit. Ephesians 4:4 tells us, “there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.”
In heaven, however, there are seven lamps of fire before the throne. “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Revelation 4:5)
I believe what we have is one of the many divine paradoxes in scripture. Because of our western, Greek-influenced thinking (theorizing everything linear that has to add up), we have difficulty with divine mysteries. Eastern thought allows for contradictions, because each revelation of God reveals His multifaceted beauty and grace. I believe that Isaiah’s Seven Spirits of God, are God’s administrative hats, specific manifestations of Himself in the administration of the Lord’s workings. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all” (I Corinthians 12:4-6).
In any case, I have begun calling on the manifestation of each of the seven Spirits of God as I bless the day’s pillar.
– On Sunday, I bless God and call upon the Spirit of the Lord.
– On Monday, I bless all authority, and call upon the Spirit of wisdom.
– On Tuesday, I bless families and call upon the Spirit of understanding.
– On Wednesday, I bless prosperity and call upon the Spirit of counsel.
– On Thursday, I bless miracles and the Spirit of might.
– On Friday, I bless community and the Spirit of knowledge.
– On Saturday, I rest in the Spirit of the Son of God.
Blessing a pillar and calling upon the Spirit of God to come could create a harmony of agreement in the body of Christ on earth. This specified petition is heard, acknowledged and granted in heaven for us.
“Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever (anything and everything) they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. For
wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I AM in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:19,20 AMP)
As we bless these “Seven Pillars of Grace”, while calling upon the seven Spirits of God, a covering of prayer is being raised up (as prophesied in Isaiah 4). Continual, united, humble, faith builds the abiding presence of God and His Kingdom authority.
Please agree with me for “more people praying less”. As is the building of the tabernacle or of the temple, many contributing is the way of completion. God wants to establish a structure of grace over our church and region.
When you pray each day, you will “log on” to this corporate covering. For a mere five (5) minutes, bless, intercede, decree, and/or give thanks as the Holy Spirit leads. I believe that this is the outer layer of what God showed me to be “prayer layers”, similar to the various coverings over the tabernacle in Exodus 26:1-4 and Exodus 36:8-19.
As we pray together, we become interwoven like threads in the Tabernacle covering. Together our threads, or individual prayers, increase to become a greater covering and strength. Our “alone time” with God is the basis for all of these layers of prayer. But going to God alone, can make life feel like it’s hanging by a thread. We can then become thread bare and easily broken.
Hezekiah built a waterway to bring water to Jerusalem (II Kings 20:20). This prevented the enemy from stopping up the wells. He even closed the well coverings outside the city, because there was a corporate water supply (II Chronicles 32: 2-4). Linking our individual “wells” together through our corporate agreement makes us unstoppable.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” Revelation 3:12
Please take five minutes each day to bless a specific aspect of our life together while calling upon one of the seven manifestations of the Holy Spirit.