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So, how is your prayer life these days? Do you pray as often as you should? Prayer is – and should be – an essential part of a Christian’s life. Our Savior, Jesus, was a man of prayer (Matthew 14:23, 26:36-44; Mark 1:35; John 17:2-24). This implies that we must ask ourselves, “If prayer was so important to our Lord, why should it be less important to me?” We should infer that every disciple of His ought to learn how to pray correctly and pray often. In fact, Jesus’ apostles asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).
WHAT IS PRAYER?
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes prayer as, “a supplication; making a plea or request; to speak to a superior; to approach God.” We could say it is the desire of the heart that expresses itself to God, (Romans 10:1; 1 Timothy 2:1). The Bible uses the term prayer in its various Hebrew and Greek forms about 350 times. It’s an important word and more important action!
Prayer is also a great PRIVILEGE for the Christian! Read 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:6,7. It is something very POWERFUL according to James 5:16-18; Hebrews 4:16; and Revelation 8:3-5. The enormous amount of power and privilege lies in the fact that prayer is a way for us to speak directly to God Himself, the Creator of the universe! He created everything, including us, yet, how marvelous is it that our Almighty God desires to hear from His own creation? Can you imagine having a direct line to the office of the President of the USA where you could use it to call him at any time, ask anything from him, and he would always be there, listening. This would be an incredible privilege and something truly powerful! Well, Christians has something even more powerful than that, we have prayer.
EXAMPLES AND COMMANDMENTS
Matthew 6:5-15 provides us with a divine model for prayer. It is the form that Jesus taught His disciples and we can still use it today! In other verses, such as 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25 and Colossians 3:17, we also learn that we must pray through our Savior, Jesus. We must pray in His name according to John 14:13,14. This means praying according to the authority of the Lord. This is significant because according to the Hebrews, one’s name represented everything a person was (Acts 4: 7-10). Jesus truly is the highest authority.
PURPOSE OF PRAYER
Prayer serves many purposes. It is a means to worship God. It is a way to glorify and praise our God. It is an avenue to thank God for what He has done for us. It is the manner in which we ask for forgiveness. It is also our given method for expressing help for others. Prayer is a spiritual discipline, which one should strive to develop, maintain, and improve on a regular and daily basis. Prayer is practically the “lifeblood” of a Christian’s spirituality.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE PRAY?
According to Acts 20:36-38, we should pray at the time of separation. James 5:13-18 teaches to pray when one is sick. James 1:5 says to pray when we lack wisdom (when we make decisions). We must pray that other’s faith increases (1 Thessalonians 3:10) and to be continually giving thanks to God (Colossians 4:2). In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we must pray without ceasing” which means that we must seek every available opportunity to pray.
SOME PRACTICAL TIPS FOR YOUR PRAYERS:
Pick specific times and places for praying each day (plan for multiple times). If possible, select a place where there is sufficient privacy and no distractions.
Pray when first waking up. Pray before eating a meal. Pray in times of need, or temptation, or when you think of the many ways God has blessed you. Pray before making important decisions. Pray before, during, and after studying the Bible. Pray before going to sleep at night. Pray much and pray often!
Make a prayer list to help you remember those who need prayers (or take the one in the bulletin home with you!).
When you do pray in public, pray with sincerity of heart and without the intention to impress others.
Pray with fervor! (Colossians 4:12) and persevere in prayer! (Matthew 26:44, 2 Corinthians 12:7,8)
Prayer is such a powerful and wonderful privilege that every Christian should be constantly practicing in their spiritual walk. I pray this has helped and encouraged you to seek out God more often in prayer. Remember, He wants to hear from you!