National P astors' P rayer N etwork

 

Connecting Leaders for Prayer and City Transformation
 

 Inner~View #41: Prayer of Jesus Author on "Kingdom-Focused Prayer"

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IBSA Prayer Ministries interviewed Ken Hemphill



Author of The Prayer of Jesus and The Prayer of Jesus Journal


===>Click headline to order the book . . .



IBSA Prayer ~ Ken, you are familiar with all levels and pockets of denominational life - Is it true, as you say in The Jesus Prayer, that "all kinds of people with all kinds of interests find themselves wanting one more thing than just about any other. they want to know how to pray"?

Ken Hemphill ~ It has been my experience that prayer is a number one request of nearly every believer at every level. I think we know that prayer is the key to our spiritual life and yet we know that we often are inadequate or apathetic about the one thing that matters most.



IBSA Prayer ~ What prompted you to write The Prayer of Jesus? Many books have been written on this scriptural prayer - What need in the Body of Christ does your book seek to meet?

Ken Hemphill ~ I think that the need in my own life was the impetus behind the book. I wanted a more vital and more kingdom centered prayer focus. My prayers seemed to be marked by a stale "sameness." There were other books on prayer being published at the time that seemed to suggest that prayer was about my needs, whereas the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray was about the Father's name, His Kingdom, and His will. The requests of this prayer--daily bread, forgiveness of sin, and victory over evil--are actually related to one's prior commitment to kingdom activity. You may recall that the instructions following the prayer "ban anxiety." As I read that section, I realized that much of my prayer request were in relation to things Jesus said for me not to worry about. Twice He reminds the reader that the Father knows our needs. The key is found in Matthew 6:33--seeking the kingdom first. This book teaches people how to pray kingdom-focused prayers and how to see kingdom activity each day.



IBSA Prayer ~ What do you say to the person who believes in prayer but has grown cold or indifferent to it: "It just doesn't seem to make a difference in my life or the people I am praying for..."

Ken Hemphill ~ I can understand that feeling. First, I would say that prayer's first goal is simply to spend quality time in the presence of the King. If we understand that as the first goal of prayer we would never say, "I tried praying and it just didn't work." Second, I would say that prayer is hard work and it involves spiritual warfare. Satan would love to keep us off our knees.


IBSA Prayer ~ You indicate that the praying person has responsibilities in the interchange of prayer. What do you mean by this and what are those responsibilities?

Ken Hemphill ~ The first three statements of the prayer--"hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done"--are not to be prayed as if we are giving God our permission for these things to occur. He doesn't need our permission. They are acually commitments we make to God. We are asking God to allow us to be the vessel in which is name (character) is manifest. When Jesus prayed that great High Priestly prayer recorded in John 17, He indicates that the focus of His ministry was to reveal the Father's name to the men He had given Him. Second, we are asking God to show us His current kingdom activity and allow us to participate with Him in the advance of His kingdom. Once again, Jesus indicates that He initated nothing but rather joined the Father in whatever the Father showed Him (John 5:17-20). Finally, we are responding with a "yes" before we know what God will ask us to do. Doing the will of God is our food and drink and thus we can say "yes" in advance.


IBSA Prayer ~ You have also produced a journal to go along with the book: "An Everyday Adventure with the Father." What does this subtitle tell us about the purpose or perspective of the journal and what format does it present to the reader?

Ken Hemphill ~ I think that the Lord's Prayer is an outline for living our daily lives. We are asking the Father to make us aware that we represent His name. We are asking Him to reveal His kingdom activity as it occurs. We are giving our commitment to participate with Him wheneve He gives us the privilege. Can you think of a more exciting way to live? I can't! When you make these commitments you will begin to see kingdom acitivity in a radically new dimension. The journal is simply a daily reminder of the commitments we have made and a means to allow us to remember what God showed and taught us about His activity each day. It provides space for seven weeks of journaling. I was able to purchase these from the publisher for a good price and will make them available for $100 a case (36 books).


IBSA Prayer ~ Ken, how can a pastor use these resources with their congregation?

Ken Hemphill ~I would encourage the pastor to work through the mateial himself so that he can give personal testimony of how God changed his prayer life and daily awareness of kingdom activity. It can be taught in any small group setting. I have had some churches do the study through the Sunday school or cell groups for the widest possible impact. It makes a good study for discipleship groups, ladies or men's Bible studies, and even youth groups. I think it would be wonderful for our youth to be taught to live daily with the kingdom in mind. By the way, there is a six week video driven kit avilable through Lifeway Christian bookstores that will greatly assist anyone in teaching this material. In the last section of the book, I even suggest ways it could be used in family Bible studies. This is not simply a study about prayer, it is a study about how to live with kingdom focus. Wouldn't you like to see the activity of the Father with the clarity that Jesus did during His earthly ministry?


IBSA Prayer ~ Ken, please write a prayer we can pray with you about this everyday adventure ...

Ken Hemphill ~Father, it is with profound humility and gratitude that I address you as my Abba Father. I realize that my only claim for doing so comes through the death and resurrection of your Son. Let me live today with such clarity that people will see my family resemblance to you. Let me see your activity with such clarity that I can serve as your hands, feet, and mouthpiece as you advance your kingdom. The answer is yes! Thank you that you have promised to meet my every daily need as I seek first your kingdom. My desire is to advance your kingdom, by your power, and for your glory. Amen

 

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