Summary: If you’ve been a Christian for a while you probably know that prayer is one of the staples of the Christian life. Although we know that, how much time and consideration have we given to really understanding this thing called prayer?
INTRODUCTION: If you’ve been a Christian for a while you probably know that prayer is one of the staples of the Christian life. Although we know that, how much time and consideration have we given to really understanding this thing called prayer?
1) Why should we pray?
• Because it’s our communication link to God. It’s a big part of our relationship with him. It’s even an indicator of how healthy our relationship with God is. John Piper said, “Prayer as a relationship is probably your best indication about the health of your love relationship with God. If your prayer life has been slack, your love relationship has grown cold.” We need to be in conversation with God. We need to be talking and listening to him. God reveals himself to us in our prayer time. God reveals his specific will to us in our prayer time. People like Daniel and Peter received revelations during their prayer time. There’s something special that happens when we commune with God. Jonathan Edwards, “Prayer is an excellent means of keeping up an acquaintance with God and of growing in the knowledge of God.” We should pray because that’s our intimate connection to God.
• It’s a spiritual weapon. Eph. 6:18-20. After Paul reveals the pieces of the spiritual armor with which we fight our battles, he finishes with the necessity of prayer. Martin Luther said, “Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.” On the night he was arrested, Jesus told his disciples to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” There’s power in prayer. Satan wants ever to break off our communication to God. Why? Because there is power in prayer. William Cowper said, “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” Prayer is a powerful weapon against the forces of evil. In our spiritual warfare we need to make sure we utilize it.
2) When should we pray?
• When we’re in trouble. James 5:13a, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.” When Jonah was inside the big fish guess what he did? That’s right; he prayed. He was in the fish three days and God didn’t release him until after he prayed. It’s been said, “When life knocks you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.” We need to pray when we’re in trouble, but not only when we’re in trouble. We shouldn’t be people who just utter ‘foxhole prayers’. Corrie Ten Boom said, “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire.” Is prayer the instrument that directs your course or do you only resort to it when you’re in an emergency situation? When we’re facing a difficult situation, we need to pray.
• When we’re facing a big decision. Luke 6:12-13. Before Jesus chose his 12 Apostles he spent the night praying. In prayer we receive wisdom to make the right decisions. When we pray before a big event or before an important meeting or phone call we are showing God that we want his input. We are showing that we are not going to lean on our own understanding. If Jesus needs to pray before making this big decision, who are we to think we don’t? When the Apostles needed to replace Judas, they prayed for God to show them who it was going to be. Prayer should be a first resort when we’re making a big move, entering into a relationship or changing jobs. Prayer is crucial in our decision making process.
• Continually. 1st Thess. 5:17, “Pray continually.” This doesn’t mean we’re to be praying 24/7. It means we are always to be in the mindset of prayer. Paul instructed us in Eph. 6:18 to, “pray in the Spirit on all occasions”. There is never a time or place where we shouldn’t prayer. There are many things that are going to try to get in the way of our prayer time, though. We need to devote ourselves to making time to pray. Tommy Barnett said, “I’ve discovered it is not sufficient simply to try to take the time for quietness but that I must, with all diligence, make time. Whatever keeps me from prayer, solitude, and the bible, however good it appears, is my enemy if I am to be God’s devoted friend and follower.” We should pray when we feel like it and when we don’t feel like it. Ruth Bell Graham, wife of Billy Graham said, “Pray when you feel like it, for it is a sin to neglect such an opportunity. Pray when you don’t feel like it, for it is dangerous to remain in such a condition.” We can and should pray anytime, anywhere. We should pray when we’re alone, when we’re in a group, when we’re at work or school. Pray before a meal, before a test, after a victory. Anytime is the right time to pray. Anonymous, “a day hemmed in prayer is less likely to come unraveled.”