December 7, 2010

Did You Think To Pray? – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 pm by sranderson0103

Why would I have asked such a question? When times of trial and trouble entered our lives, did we think to pray about it? When we rejoice over some good fortune, did we think to give thanks through prayer? When we needed comfort or guidance, did we think to pray? Prayer may be one of the most neglected parts of a Christian’s life. Prayer is a means of addressing and communicating directly with God. We see over and over again in life that troubles between a husband and wife or between parents and children begin with a breakdown in communication. Problems at work can often be solved by opening the lines of communication, but is put off and used only as a last resort. If we can see the importance of communication in our daily lives, why should we be surprised about the value of communication with our father in heaven?

Why Pray?

If it was important enough for Jesus to pray, don’t you think it is important for us to follow his example? As we pray to God we draw near to him. This certainly has its benefits. James tells us, “Draw nigh unto God and he will draw nigh unto you.” (James 4:8) We should also pray so that we “may receive mercy and grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) Jesus told his disciples to ask in prayer so that our prayers could be answered and our joy be made full. We should pray the same blessing on others.

 How To Pray

The Hebrew writer tells us that we should approach the throne of grace boldly. (Hebrews 4:16) What would embolden us to approach our mighty God this way? It is because we know that we are his children, and as his children we have free access to him. It is in this sense that we come boldly before our God.

James tells us that we should “ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” This also demonstrates the sense of coming boldly before God. Notice that we must ask in faith. “For he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

We must pray in accordance with his will. John reminds us that, “we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) But, why do we sometimes not have our prayers answered? We need to examine the nature of our prayer and strive to determine whether it is in keeping with God’s will. James tells us that it is possible for us to ask “amiss.” (James 4:3)

In Luke 11:1-13 we find the disciples going to Jesus after he had finished praying and asking him to teach them to pray. He didn’t tell them that it just comes naturally, just say what your heart tells you to say. He told them in what manner they should pray.

I think we are all familiar with the model pray as presented in Luke 11:2-4 and also in Matthew 6:9-13. He first instructs them to address the Father in reverent terms. We no longer pray for the kingdom to come for we know that it has already come. (Colossians 1:13) He also indicated that they should pray that the Father’s will be done as it is in heaven. Implicit in this statement is that they, and we, should strive to know what that will is and to be obedient to it. We should ask Him to sustain us in the physical needs of this life and for our

spiritual needs as well, to forgive our sins and to deliver us from evil or the evil one. Jesus does not stop there, but goes on to explain that if we ask we will receive. He uses the every day example of seeking and receiving a favor of a friend. In Matthew 7:9-11, he uses the example of children receiving good gifts from their father. He concluded with, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him.”

Jesus also instructed them that they should pray privately. (Matthew 6:5) This is not to say that we should never pray publicly. There is a need for congregational prayer when we gather on the Lord’s day to pray and to give thanks for the bread and fruit of the vine as we partake of the Lord’s supper. Jesus was saying that we should not be hypocritical in our prayer and use vain repetitions. When I implied earlier that we should not pray saying whatever our hearts tell us to say, it was with the understanding that such a prayer could be hypocritical and not in keeping with God’s will. “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (1 John 3:22).

Conclusion

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalms 5:1-3)

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