The Church of God (7th Day)
What is prayer, and
why should we pray?
What is Prayer
Prayer is very unique. It is simply the effectiveness of man's communication with God. From the standpoint of human responsibility, it plays a very significantt role in God's redemptive program for man. Besides this, prayer is the source of vision, divine power, creativity, experience etc. We ought to give this ministry exceptional priority as Jesus our Lord and Saviour did. One can never outgrow their need for prayer anymore than their need for Air, Food and Water: which are very essential to life on earth. So is prayer, it connects us to our Creator in Heaven who ultimately is the provider of all things. We are in need of both Physical and Spiritual needs. For without Him we can do nothing.
Therefore Prayer is Communion, it is a desire to enter into conscious relationship with God.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. [Psalms 73:25-26]
And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments: Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned. [Nehemiah 1:5-6]
As we read these verses, you will notice the confidence in the relationship David developed with God: he said, whom have I in Heaven but thee? This kind of relationship is personal. We also notice Nehemiah asking God for his attention in his prayer.
As we try to commune with God, we must believe that He is God and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. He is not tangible to us, nor can we see Him but we believe that He is near to hear, deliver, and protect us. We are encouraged to approach Him like men of faith (Isaiah, Gideon, etc.) did.
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: [Isaiah 59:1]
Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. [Joshua 10:12-14]
The Sun stood still, and the Moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. There was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
Prayer is Thanksgiving: Our gratitude is to God for his Grace, Mercy, and loving kindness. David said in the Psalms.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. [Psalms 100:3-5]
Prayer is Confession: As sinful man acknowledges his guilt, falls on his knees and begs for favor.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. [Luke 18:13]
Prayer is Submission: It is to abandon ones own desire and surrender his will to God's will. This is prayer at it's highest level. Jesus as our perfect example in his agony prayed, surrendering all to God who had the power to deliver Him from death.
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. [Matthew 26:39]
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. [Luke 22:41-42]
Why should we pray
I will liken prayer to a key - as a key is to a door, so is prayer. The key is used to unlock the door so we can enter in. Once inside, we are sheltered from the heat of the day, winters snow or storm. Prayer is the key that unlocks Heaven's door. Providing certain conditions are met, we can now have a little talk with Jesus, tell him all about our sorrow. We can worship and praise God for His marvelous gift in His only Son, Jesus the Christ, who truly paid the ransom for our sins. We have no other way out, and should prayer be neglected, we'll find ourselves in that locked out condition.
We pray because Jesus encouraged us to pray. He did himself, in good times and times of sorrow. For the God seeking soul, there are numerous reasons from the Scriptures why we should pray. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, taught his disciples how they should approach their Father in Heaven.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. [Matthew 6:9-13]
As we examine this prayer, you'll notice that God holds all things in His hands. For these reasons, we pray for our daily bread, forgiveness of sins, directions, and deliverance because the kingdom is His, the power and the glory, for which we seek.
As the soul seekers find God, let these words of our master be for our encouragement.
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. [Matthew 26:41]
We are living in a precarious world, surrounded by vast and terrifying forces. Paul said it right.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [Ephesians 6:12]
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: [1 Peter 5:8]
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [1 Timothy 2:1-4]
Therefore, let us remember that prayer changes things. It is the key.
Key Verse: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
[2 Chronicles 7:14]