Summary: Today it is our assignment to examine one for the most important practices in the life of every Christian – that of prayer. Prayer is essential to knowing God and it’s essential for growing spiritually - prayer.
Today it is our assignment to examine one for the most important practices in the life of every Christian – that of prayer. Prayer is essential to knowing God and it’s essential for growing spiritually - prayer.
Prayer, for the believer, as I’ve said before, is not an option but it’s an obligation. The action of prayer should not be regarded as that of a passing fancy but rather it should be looked upon as a personal privilege. And prayer, when properly engaged can be deemed powerful and also persuasive.
Prayer is powerful in nature because it reaches upward to heaven in the form of worship; it reaches downward to hell in the form of warfare and it must be carried out into the world in the form of works. Prayer is powerful. But also prayer can be persuasive. The late Dr. E. K. Bailey once said, “Prayer was never designed to change or move the heart or mind of God, but rather it was designed to change and move the heart and the mind of the prayer.” Prayer can be persuasive.
But truth be told, many of us are reluctant to pray. Maybe it’s because we are too embarrassed to pray; maybe it’s because we don’t really know how to pray or maybe it’s because we know at times our hearts aren’t right with God so we don’t pray. Whatever our reasoning may be, the fact of the matter is we need to pray! Why, because prayer is simply the action of us having fellowship with God.
There is/has been much debate as to the proper posture of the one who prays. Pastor Greg Laurie (Sr. Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship of Riverside, CA) uses a popular illustration to illuminate this point. He says, “There is a story of three ministers who were debating the best posture for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background. One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second minister suggested that real prayer was best when it was conducted while on your knees. The third minister suggested that they both had it wrong and that the only position worth its weight in salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face.
As these three ministers debated about the various postures of prayer, the telephone repairman couldn’t stay out of the conversation any longer. He blurted out, “I have found out that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I dangled on a line upside down by my heels from a power pole 40 feet in the air!” What’s the point of all this? The important thing is to pray! It doesn’t matter the physical posture of your hands, head or even where your heart is physically. The important thing is to pray!
The bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, “Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Don’t neglect prayer. It’s the necessary link in order to acknowledge God as the recipient of His blessings; it’s needful for us in order to retain God’s power and prayer is of the utmost importance in order to reach God’s attention – prayer. Again, prayer is simply the action of us having fellowship with God.
Whenever we need to make clear (or clarify) a characteristic we should practice as Christian individuals, we ought to look to Jesus as our model. The very prayer life of Jesus was one to be admired. Whenever he needed to communicate with his Father, he would still away to a quiet place by himself and pray. Before he did anything, he would have fellowship with his Father. Before he approached anyone, he made sure that was what his Father wanted him to do. Jesus’ (the Son of God’s) prayer life was such an example that he would spend nights and mornings alone (after the son had gone down and sometimes before the sun ever came up) in prayer. Jesus the person who was 100% God while also being 100% man, spent hours upon hours communicating in fellowship with his Father. The disciples apparently noticing the prayer life of Jesus and its effectiveness came to him one day and asked, (in Luke 11:1) “Lord, teach us to pray…”
The response Jesus gave to his disciples request is what we have come to know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” However, when you look at the context in which the passage was given, you’ll find that it’s not the actual prayer of Jesus, but rather it’s a model prayer for his disciples to follow. So instead of it being called “The Lord’s Prayer”, it should be labeled as the “Disciples Prayer.”