Insincere, impure, and unrighteous reasons for prayer are unbecoming of its intended recipient. God is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3); therefore, our reasons for seeking His glorious and august audience ought to be sincere, pure, and befitting. In Jesus’ model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), He enunciates three righteous reasons for prayer.
In yesterday’s blog we focused on the great virtues prayer requires and refines. Today, our focus will be on the great victories begun while in prayer’s closet.
- Victory over self (vv. 9-12). Self-denial and death to self are foundational to spiritual victory. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). The day of Jesus’ ultimate spiritual victory at Calvary (John 19:30) began with His hard-fought victory over self in the Garden the night before (cf. Mark 14:32-41). There is no other battle plan for victory over self.
- Victory over sin “And do not lead us into temptation” (v. 13). You can only wonder how much less sin and its consequences you would have in your life if you spent less time looking for temptation. It is not sinful to be tempted; Jesus was tempted in all points like we are (Hebrews 4:15). But a passion for purity of heart is sorely lacking when we intentionally seek a path which travels through temptation’s locale when an alternate route could have been taken. In prayer’s closet you cannot hide an impure heart. Drawing near to God, cleansing your hands, and purifying your heart in prayer to God are the first and most essential steps on the path to victory over sin.
- Victory over Satan “deliver us from the evil one” (v. 13). Without Christ and His gospel spiritual victory over sin is impossible. Through Christ we can be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). If we want to experience spiritual victory over Satan in our lives, it only makes sense to frequently approach the throne of the One who planned and implemented Satan’s utter defeat. He willingly will share His wisdom with us if we ask in faith (James 1:5-8). Omitting prayer from one’s battle plan against Satan is a fatal flaw; don’t do it.