Summary: Prayer is critical and vital to a Christian's life. We pray to our God, the God of the Bible but the world "prays" to false Gods and idols. There are clear differences between how Christians pray and how the world prays. Christians need to highlight these
Prayer, it is a very deep and personal subject and one that is to be taken very seriously and There are very clear and distinct differences between what we as Christians call prayer and what the world calls prayer. Not only are there differences in what we call prayer there are major differences in how we as Christians pray and how the world “prays”. There are major differences in the results of prayers offered up by Christians to God and the “results” of the prayers of those in the world. There is also this minor thing of who we pray to and “who” the world prays to.
Prayer is a vital part of a Christian’s relationship with our Lord and each other. Prayer is how we communicate with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and it is necessary that we include all three personages of God in our prayers! There is an old saying about prayer that goes like this: seven days without prayer makes one weak (SPELL WEAK)! And what I mean by weak is just that, without prayer a Christian will become an anorexic believer. They will literally be starving to death spiritually from lack of connection to God. And when we become weak we are opening ourselves up to be attacked by the enemy and trust me he is watching to see when we become weak!
Prayer is something that should be or needs to be second nature to believers. Prayer needs to be something that is done so often that we do it without realizing it sometimes. Prayer is the lifeblood of a Christian.
Prayer is such a big topic that I will probably do two sermons on it and even that will not come close to talking about how important prayer is to Christians.
So let’s compare some aspects of prayer between what we believe and do as Christians and what lost people believe and do. Let’s start with the world’s views on prayer first. Now I want to say this right off the bat that when people in the world pray, they are being religious by definition. But always remember that being religious IS NOT the same as being in a relationship with Jesus Christ!
People who are of the world will pray to a lot of different so called gods, deities, and things. And this pattern of praying to everything and everyone other than the One that they should be praying to has been going on since the earliest of times.
Here is an example of the difference between the prayers of the world and the true prayers of a believer in God Almighty. In 1st Kings Chapter 18 we find the account of the Prophet Elijah and his dealings with the very rotten and ungodly King Ahab, the so called prophets of Baal, and the so called prophets of Asherah. In this story we find Elijah asking that the people of Israel send out to him 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah and of course Elijah would be the only Prophet of God there.
Let’s skip to the action part of this story as it relates to prayer. Elijah instructed the Baal followers to build an altar and then to take an ox and cut it up and put it on the wood in the altar but to not set any fire to it and to call upon their god. And this is what happened next in 1st Kings Chapter 18 verses 25-29:
25 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."
26 Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made. 27 It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened." 28 So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. 29 When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.
What has happened here is what happens when lost people pray either to a made up god or even to our God. Absolutely nothing and I will get back to this point about nothing happening when lost people pray in a bit. But now let’s see what happened with Elijah and his ox and his altar. Elijah called all the people there to gather around him and he built an altar and he put wood on it and he cut up his ox and placed it on the altar but did not set fire to it.