Wednesday, May 9, 2018

What is Prayer?

Prayer is communication with God.  It’s talking with and hearing from Him.  We can learn a lot about prayer from Jesus.  Just look at Jesus’ prayer life.  In Luke 5:16, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  He prayed often prayed and in solitude.  He thought it was important.  If Jesus felt the need to pray then how much more should we? 

Jesus had a special place to pray.  In Matt. 26 He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  We need to find time and a place to pray.  Do you have a special place where you go to pray?  Go to your bedroom or outside on your porch or under a tree.  Go any place where you can be alone and away from the phone and any interruptions.  That doesn’t mean we can’t pray while we’re in our car or at the grocery.  The idea is to pray wherever you are.

Jesus was effective in prayer, because He prayed.  When Jesus prayed in the Garden, He could have asked God to send angels to come and save Him from the horrible death He knew He was about to experience, but He didn’t.  Jesus always prayed in God’s will.  Maybe there’s something you are praying for that is not in God’s will.  If so, maybe you shouldn’t be praying for that.  The more you pray according to His will the more blessings He will give you.

How willing are you to live with His answer to your prayer?

Principle:  Jesus was successful in prayer, because He prayed. 

Why is prayer so hard?

I will be the first to admit that prayer is hard.  It’s hard because it takes focus, time, discipline and obedience.  It requires waiting on an answer from God.  It’s hard because we think we can get more done and done quicker by ourselves.  Prayer is misunderstood.  We’re not sure just how to pray.  We think our requests are too small for God.  We’re not sure they will even make a difference.  We think we have to pray long prayers or pray like we hear others pray.

The purpose of prayer if to align our hearts with God’s not for Him to give us what we want.  We should not pray only when things aren’t going the way we want.  Jesus prayed when things were going well and when they weren’t.  You don’t have to have years in the church or in Bible study to pray successful.  Jesus prayed in the good times, the bad times and in average times.  You can know a lot about prayer, but if you don’t practice prayer it does you no good.  

Principle: Pray in the good times, the bad times and in the average times.

Are you practicing prayer on all occasions?

How often should we pray?

1 Thess. 5:17 says “pray continually”.  We should all pray more.  That’s simply enough.  We can’t be successful in prayer if we don’t pray.  As I said before, Jesus was successful in prayer because He prayed. 

Pray throughout the day and remember God is always with you.  It’s like being with a friend.  If your friend is with you, you have conversations with your friend don’t you?  You share what you’re thinking and you listen to what your friend says.  It’s like that with God.  He is always with you so just pray through your day whatever the situation.  Just talk with Him.  Then take time a listen so He can speak to you.

There is private prayer and there is public prayer.  In private we are to be persistent, thankful and can pray anywhere and at any time.  In public we are to be wise in our conduct and in our words so we can be effective witnesses of Christ as others hear our prayers.  Don’t worry about what others think, just open your heart to God.

Principle:  Pray continually.

Do you worry what others think when you pray?

How should we pray?

Col. 4:2“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”  We are to pray persistently, watchfully, and thankfully. 
Pray persistently.  “Pray without ceasing”. – 1 Thess. 5:17.   Without ceasing doesn’t mean nonstop prayer every minute of the day.  That would be impossible.  It means coming back to prayer again and again and over and over.
Pray watchfully.  This is how we stay alert against the unseen enemy.  Prayer is the energy and power in which we wage war.  We must live in prayer at all times so we can win the spiritual battle.  It’s how we are strengthened in the power of God.  It’s how we put on the full armor of God.  It’s also expecting Him to answer.
Pray thankfully.  That is to pray in faith in all circumstances.  Don’t forget to thank God in advance for what He’s going to do.

Principle:  Pray persistently, watchfully, and thankfully.

Do you thank God in advance for how He will answer your prayer?

Has your prayer life become routine and boring?

Jesus said to His disciples in Matt. 26:41 when they fell asleep instead of praying, “the spirit is willing, but the body is weak”.  We are like the disciples and easily distracted and tempted.  It’s all too common to start to pray and then we start thinking of all we have to do and let our focus wonder from prayer or even fall asleep.  We want to pray, but our flesh is weak.  We need to stick to it and not give up and eventually it will become something we look forward to doing.

To get out of your routine prayers, pray for your inter-self.  Don’t just pray for material things.  Pray for strength and power through His Spirit to be within you.  Pray that Christ would dwell in your heart through faith and that you will be rooted and grounder in love.  Pray that you will be able to extent the love of Christ to others.  Pray that you will be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Pray for God to do far more that what you ask. 

When Paul was in prison, he didn’t pray for God to set him free or give him more food to eat.  He didn’t pray for his physical or material needs.  He prayed for more spiritual growth.  Pray with the right attitude and with reverence and in submission to God’s sovereign authority.  Don’t pray small safe prayers.  Pray BIG prayers.  God can handle them.  There are no prayer too big for God.

Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we had hoped.  There is a mystery about prayer and we can’t always understand God’s ways, but know that He wants the best for us.

Principle:  Pray in reverence and submission to God’s sovereign authority.

Has your prayer life become dry or lazy?
Are you discouraged and don’t know what to say?
Do you doubt that God is listening to you? 

Ways to help your prayer life.

Choose a specific place to pray away from distractions.
Pray at the same time every day making it part of your routine so it will become a habit.
Pray out loud - even though you pray often under your breath.
Keep a note pad to jot down things that come to mind.
Make a list keeping track of your prayer needs and leave space for when God’s answers.
Include praise, thanksgiving and even singing.
Spend some of your time reflecting on Scripture.
Have a prayer partner for accountability.
Pray one sentence prayers praying short sincere prayers.
Use ACTS when praying –
   A - Adoration, praising God for who He is.
   C - Confession, telling Him what you’ve done wrong and asking Him for forgiveness.
   T - Thanksgiving, thank Him for what He’s doing in your life or prayers He’s answered.
   S - Supplication, asking God for daily needs for yourself and others.

Don’t over think your prayers.

In closing, don’t over think your prayers.  Prayer is merely directing your mind and heart in the direction of God and just talking with Him.  Talk to God about everything that matters to you.  Pray until something happens.  Don’t give up.  Keep on praying.  God cares and listens to you.  He wants us to come to Him.  He is waiting for us to fellowship with Him.

Principle:  Prayer is simply talking with God.

Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.  --  I encourage you to trust in Jesus and pray often.

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