One challenge that many pastors face today is a total lack of discipleship or training in prayer, especially leading prayer. While there are several helpful models and approaches to prayer, many of our pastors have found the concept of Worship-Based Prayer to be a very powerful and practical approach to implementing prayer into their congregations, and even their own lives. It is certainly not the only way to pray, but we have found it to be especially helpful for groups just setting out to learn to pray corporately, or for congregations that have maybe grown stagnant in their typical prayer routines.
This is largely because:
1) It is Scriptural. It is based on the “Lords Prayer”, or the model prayer, in Matthew 6.
2) It draws people’s focus toward God, as opposed to their own needs or requests.
3) It provides a model to experience life giving prayer that can be applied to nearly any passage of Scripture.
THE 4/4 PATTERN OF PRAYER
Worship-based prayer is built on a “4/4” Pattern, like a musical conductor would use, which is taken directly from the Biblical text we often refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6.
In the prayer pattern Jesus gave His disciples, He instructs us to begin with a focus of worship. (“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name . . . “). We call this upward focus the “Reverence” stroke. This is the principle of “worship-based” rather than need-based prayer. It begins with the character of God as we take time to focus our entire being on the wonders of who God is. Ultimately, prayer is my response to the character of God, which leads to praise and thanksgiving.
As I get to know the God Who is, I will naturally respond to Him. This response is called prayer.
“…Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed by Your name.” ~Matthew 6:9
Praising God for His attributes/character
Offering thanks for what He has done
Not asking for anything, just worshipping
Jesus taught a second element of biblical prayer when He said, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven . . .” This speaks of our response to God’s character in prayer as we consider His will, from His Word and for the sake of His purposes on earth. This also involves yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit as I respond to His invitations to a fruitful and obedient life. Introspection and surrender mark this time of response. It is a season of pledged obedience to the will and Word of God, desiring the accomplishment of His will in our lives.
- Worshipful response to who God is
- Acknowledge and Surrender to God’s Will
- Listening, allowing God’s Spirit to speak; then obeying
Now that we have rightly worship the God of our Savior — and we have wholly surrendered to His will for our lives — We can now boldly bring our requests before Him, knowing that we are asking “in His name” and for His glory.
“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” ~Matthew 6:11-12
This is the next element Christ teaches in His model prayer. This involves a period of heartfelt requests with the themes of resources and relationships.
Of course, Jesus had just said our Father knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8). This is not a time of informing God of our needs as much as it is a conscious trust in God as the perfect definer and provider of our needs. It involves prayer about personal requests and the concerns of others. This focus also includes corporate concerns, such as congregational challenges or broader issues in the body of Christ. In all this, we recognize that, “…God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19
- Offering requests in accordance with God’s will
- Passionate petitions of personal needs
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13 NIV
This outward stroke reminds us of the spiritual battle before us, and more importantly, reassures us of the spiritual resources within us, the Holy Spirit.
When we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we recognize our own inability to overcome the temptations and attacks of daily life. We entrust our welfare for the warfare to the delivering force of our Divine Enabler, through the power of His presence and promises. We pledge ourselves to walk in obedience and victory as the fruit of our praying.
- Putting on the “Full Armor of God”
- Claiming God’s Promises for the battle
- Knowing He will answer
- Focusing on His glory above all else
The above principles are adapted from numerous works by Daniel Henderson. For further reading, check out these other helpful resources.
- Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face
- The 29:59 Plan by Peter Lord and Daniel Henderson