I looked for a man who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land.” Ezekiel 22:30
- What is prayer?
Simply, it is a tool which has purpose. It is effective. It is ordained for our benefit because we are communing in fellowship with God. Prayer is both a privilege and duty. Prayer attests to God recognition of His praiseworthy deeds. The irony is that we are the ones who truly profit from the sacrifice of prayer and recognition of God’s attributes. Yet, it is one of the most neglected aspects of the Christian Life.
“Prayer is to the Christian, what breath is to life.” ~ RC Sproul.
- An act of worship
- A form of communion
- A sacrifice
- An obligation
- A blessing
- A time of resting
- A time of yielding
- A time to receive
All of this is for His glory and our benefit, but why is it such an area of confusion for believers?
Consider this statement from a renowned teacher on prayer, E.M.Bounds, “Prayer is not acting a part or going through religious motions. Prayer is neither official nor formal nor ceremonial, but direct , hearty, intense. The object of asking is to receive. The aim of seeking is to find. The purpose of knocking is to arouse attention and get in.”
The more that we know God, His likeness, attributes, and fullness, then the quicker we come to our knees in prayer. The faster we fall on our faces in humble admiration, then the deeper we bow. The longer we bend, then the harder we seek Him. It is unceasing and all-consumed in to one consummate act of prayer, which mirrors the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray continually”.
- Why do we pray?
This question can truly be subjective, based on the purpose of the prayer. We pray because it is an act of worship and we have a need. We pray because it is a time of fellowship and a place to ask of God. However, to be fully honest, we pray because God directs us to do so. Prayer is not an optional component of the Christian walk. Again, using 1 Thessalonians 5:17 as our guide, it is a command. It is a imperative statement which implies a required response. It is an invitation to request.
- We pray because it ignites our hearts on fire with a love and a passion for God.
- We pray because it is worship of a Holy God who calls us to fellowship.
- We pray because Jesus set the example of getting away to be with the Father.
- We pray out of thankfulness for His Sovereignty.
- We pray to prepare the soil of our hearts for the benefit of communion with God.
Don’t make prayer a soliloquy or pattern of recitation from rote memory repeated with no effort. However, make it a discourse between you and God. Make it a dialectic paradigm of your heart’s thought displayed in fellowship.
Prayer Changes THINGS, Not God. ( James 5:16) Yet Prayer mostly changes US, from glory to glory. From the sinner to the saint purged by Christ’s shed blood and refined by His powerful Holy Spirit.
The power of prayer is dependent upon our time alone with God.
Our time of prayer is dependent upon our communication with the Father.
The power of God in our life is dependent upon our prayer-time.
To know God we must come to him in prayer, believing and trusting that He is and will do all He says He will do. ( Hebrews 11:6)
Last week, I wrote about the prayer Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-13. Now I want to show you a few more prayers woven beautifully into the Word of God for us to both receive and apply to our lives. I’d like to encourage you to pick one selection below and commit it to memory. Apply it to your life, place your name right in the middle of the verses and let that word reroute your thoughts to line up with His. (This list is not exhaustive, of course, but just a few that I have found a source of comfort in my time of need.)
- Prayer of Thankfulness – Ephesians 1:16-25
- Prayer for Strength – Ephesians 3:14-21
- Prayer of Confession and Repentance – Nehemiah 1:4-11
- Prayer of Holiness – 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13
- Prayer for God’s Kingdom and Power – Colossians 1:9-14
- Prayer for Protection – Psalm 91
- Prayer to put on the Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-18
Speaking God’s Word over our lives is beneficial. It is fruitful. It works. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, and it pierces deeply between soul and spirit, joints and marrow. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 reminds us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. When we speak His Word over the situations in our lives, we are planting seed which is meant to produce fruit. Isaiah 55:11 says that God’s World will not return to Him void, but will accomplish all that He sends it to.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is to speak HIS Word into my life.
In order to speak His truth into my circumstance, I must first KNOW it. That means I have to spend time rooted and grounded in his Word so that I can aptly use it at the appropriate time. The more I bathe in His Word produces an increased desire of His presence. The more I desire his presence, the more I pray.
One of the most rewarding experiences I have known is the intimacy with the Father which prayer brings into my life.
Jesus set an example, in His Word, showing us how to pray with both our heads and our hearts. His direction to petition God was not an invitation to make prayer solely a repetition of what He shared, but a pattern. Not only did he guide the form, but demonstrated just how important it is to get alone with God, at all cost. He approached prayer reverently, as his most sacred need. Over and over, in the Gospels, it is written that Jesus escaped to pray. He teaches us to GO TO that secret place of prayer and seek after the counsel of the Father as a passionate pursuit of treasure.
Jesus broke through the veil of intimacy with His example of prayer allowing us to step inside the Holy of Holies and bow heads, hearts, and knee to the Father of Glory…. To meet with His Abba.
Jesus provides the privilege. He meets our insufficiency in prayer. He gives us a place to stand, a connection to the Father, His words to speak, and the ability to draw near.
Jesus teaches us to get REAL with God.
He teaches us to address the Father in anticipatory awe. He imitates the heartbeat of the child, crying out to their parent. Jesus gives us permission to run into the open arms of the Father’s embrace. Think of this, only a family member will approach with the audacious boldness that assumes a loving reception of the Father.
A major KEY to Prayer, which breaks through the barrier holding many Christians back from approaching the Father in confidence is remembering that we come as his beloved. Do you really believe He loves you and wants what is ultimately best for you? Do you believe He hears you and longs to meet your needs?
Come to God, just as you are, and reveal your heart openly as a child who is seeking the heart of their Father.
We can speak His Word. We can come with our hearts bent low. We can bleed in pain before His throne. Yet, the one requirement we need to remember is that we must come as His child. It is that sweet blessing that we forsake way too often; the blessing that assures us that we have His attention because He loves us so deeply … as only a Father can.
Come as His children and let prayer flow out of that relationship.
Come in Worshipful, authentic, praise-filled prayer yielding the hurts, hopes, and needs accrued in your heart so that you can rest fully in His Sovereign Grace.
What hinders you from coming to the throne of grace today?
How have you found intimacy with the Father through prayer?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I love to hear from you!
Praying that today you will grow in your knowledge of Him, being strengthened by His might. That you would be rooted and grounded in His love and be made fully aware of His love for you in such fullness and joy that you would find His sweet presence meets your needs in the abundance only heaven’s storehouse can contain and deliver.
~Blessings and Prayer~
Jen is showcasing a scarf knit with prayerful dose of love and encouragement by “me”. I want to join in on the fun. So.. here’s a deal. Go to Jen’s and read her post from the SDG party and leave a comment along with a bid. Then come back and leave a note for me. I will throw your name in a drawing. The prize.. an extra scarf of course! 🙂