This week I want to discuss prayer and specifically what the Bible tells us about prayer. Prayer is very important for us as it is how we communicate with our Lord. Let’s first look at a few scriptures.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. Now this doesn’t mean you literally need to be in prayer 24/7 non-stop, but simply that you consistently and continually keep an open line of prayer to God. So don’t pray once before you go to sleep at night and then don’t pray again for another two weeks. We should engage in prayer and study God’s Word as often as we can, this doesn’t mean you need to become a monk but simply keep Him in the loop and don’t just come to Him when you need something. You don’t have to need something to talk to your earthly father, sometimes you might just want to give him a call and see how he is doing or maybe to tell him that you love him.
Do you think your Heavenly Father is any different? Prayer is not just asking God for things, but it is simply talking to God. It is entirely feasible to take a few minutes in the middle of your day to simply thank God for all the blessings he has given you thus far, and to tell Him how awesome He is.
16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Here similar to the previous scripture which tells us to pray without ceasing, we are told that the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Now for a little perspective I always like to turn to my old friend the dictionary, sure we may know the meaning of fervent but what does it REALLY mean?
Having or displaying a passionate intensity
Here are a few synonyms as well:
heartfelt, enthusiastic, zealous, fanatical, hardcore, wholehearted, avid, eager, keen, committed, dedicated, devout.
So in short, pray like you mean it.
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
I believe this is pretty important, as a lot of people act like God doesn’t really want to provide for their needs and say “Lord please put food on the table…if it’s your will”
Of course it’s His will; He says in His Word that we should not worry about our needs because He has already promised to provide these things to us. So rather we should simply be thanking Him in advance, praying “Lord I thank you for providing us with food to eat and clothes to wear as you have promised in your Word.”
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Where many people go wrong in their praying is that they doubt, one of the keys to prayer is having faith, and as these scriptures point out, not doubting even for a moment that our God is faithful and will meet our needs. Just as it says in that scripture regarding the man who doubts when praying “let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”. This is not testing the Lord, but merely obeying His commandment to us.
We are actually given a model prayer in the book of Matthew. Looking to this can really give some insight into how we should be praying.
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
So when we look at this prayer and look at everything that’s going on we see the following:
Asking for needs
There is a popular “pattern” of prayer out there that can help get you started on the right path in prayer. It is called ACTS which stands for:
Adoration – Worshipping and admiring God.
Confession – Confessing your sins and asking forgiveness.
Thanksgiving – Thanking the Lord for His blessings and also thanking Him in faith.
Supplication – Asking God to fulfill our needs
Just be careful not to put your prayer life into a box so to speak, be sure that it stays personal but hopefully this will give you some guidelines to get you started.