Prayer is an important aspect of our Christian life. If Jesus prayed continuously like He did, then we should put a lot of weight to the practice of prayer. Why would Jesus spend so much time in prayer and even go so far as to teach us how to pray if it were not critically important? The Old Testament has many examples of prayers going up to God. Prayer is the thread that unites the soul of man with God. Spirit to Spirit.
Proverbs 15:8 tells us that the Lord ‘delights’ in our prayer. That is a nice thing to hear, isn’t it? How can we please the Lord? By being continually in prayer with Him. He likes that. He likes us coming to Him with our needs. He wants to be involved. He wants to work with us, that’s why He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell in us. He wants to be connected with us in all our activities. That’s why He walked with the Israelites in a cloud of smoke during the day and a beam of fire by night. He wanted to be close to them.
In the Old Testament only the priests and prophets prayed for the people. In the Old Testament the priests had to wash and purify themselves before entering the temple to offer up sacrifices and prayer. In the New Testament that all changed. The new covenant brought forth a new possibility. Now, through Jesus, we can all access the Almighty God through prayer for we are all cleansed and purified through the blood of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Colossians 4:2 says it this way: “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (emphasis added)
Therefore, prayer is something we should take seriously. We are to engage in it constantly, at least daily. Something to go into with a sober mind, a dedicated heart and a committed spirit. The dictionary describes earnest as: “resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction”. And diligent is described this way: “keeping careful watch” We are therefore told to be sincere and convicted and careful in our prayers. We are not to just haphazardly run into prayer and just blow off any old conversation. We are to be thoughtful, perhaps even goal-oriented, taking things one step at a time with the intention of showing our love to God, our appreciation of His deity and omniscience, and being thankful for all He has done and is doing in our lives and the lives of others.
Jesus Himself spent a lot of time in prayer. His example was not lost on the disciples. The only thing that they ever asked Him to teach them was how to pray. (Luke 11:1) Jesus prayed before performing miracles, before ministering and in the garden at Gethsemane. Praying was important to Him. It was His connection to God Almighty. He didn’t make it a point to pray in front of everybody to be seen of men. He wanted to be in private, intimate conversation with God. The Pharisees prayed in public to be seen by everyone, to appear holy. God says they have their reward. (Matthew 6:5-8) So, let’s be like Christ and find a secret place to pray. A place without interruption, free from the cares of the world where we can focus ALL of our attention on God.
Proverbs 15:29 tells us “He hears the prayer of the righteous.” That is a promise we can take to the bank. And it comforts us to know that when we come to Him in prayer, He hears us. We might get an answer to our prayer right away, and, the answer may be “no”, but we know he hears us. 1John 5:14 – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” That’s a little disclaimer, “if we ask according to His will”, He hears us. That means that we have to be aligned with God’s will. What does that mean? Well, it means first of all, that we need to be in the Word, we need to be reading scripture so that we know what it says. We need to know the stories, the people, the places. We need to know these things because they are central to Who God Is. And if we know them, then we will know what God’s will is. That may cause some of you to ask, “What is God’s will?” And though that is a subject for an entirely new discussion, we can get a hint of it in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
In the Bible there are approximately 600 recorded prayers and 450 recorded answers to prayer. That alone should alert us to the fact that prayer is important, in fact the Bible says in Isaiah “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” (Isaiah 56:7) The Hebrew word for house here is bᾰ-yit which means ‘dwelling house, palace, temple’. And our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, of God and therefore our own bodies are the temples of prayer. Don’t you think that we should keep those temples holy? Keep them plugged in to the source? He is the vine, we are the branches. We can do nothing without Him. (John 15:5) It makes sense that we should stay connected to Him. Prayer is that connection.
Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Perhaps we don’t receive answers to our prayers because we don’t fully believe. We need to check our hearts and see if we truly believe that we will receive what we pray for. We need to be on our guard, vigilant – on the lookout for doubt creeping in. If we don’t fully believe, God won’t give us what we ask for.
Further, we don’t receive because we have wrong motives. James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” We need to be sure to ask according to God’s will not ours.
It can sound complicated now with all of the rules associated with it, but it is really simple. Be connected to him. To accomplish that we read scripture so we understand what God’s will is and then work to align ourselves with that will.
Again, prayer is serious business and it is necessary business. If we are to draw closer to God, we must do it on our knees.
For more info on Prayer you can always Google it, or, you can go to BibleGateway.com and enter “prayer” or “pray” in the search box and all sorts of scripture verse will come up and you can read through it all and note the verse that speaks to you the most.
You can do the same with God’s will.
Oh, you can also look in the back of your Bible and check the concordance for the words “pray”, “prayer”, and the phrase “God’s will”. Not all concordances and built the same so you might get few hits or a lot. If you get only a few, then also use the available cross-references in the verses to find more references.
You might want to invest in a good study bible.
Here are a few verses on Prayer and a few on God’s will to get you started.
Prayer: Matthew 6:6-13; Romans 8:26-28; Proverbs 15:8; Proverbs 15:29; Isaiah 56:7; 1 Peter 4:7; 1John 5:14; Luke 19:46; Mark 11:17; Luke 18:1-8; Ephesians 6:18; Romans 12:12; 1 Chronicles 5:20; Matthew 21:22
God’s Will: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; 1 Peter 4:1-3; 1 John 2:16-18; Mark 3:35; John 9:31; Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 2:15; 1 Peter 4:17-19; Hebrews 10:1-39
In the coming weeks I will do a post on God’s will in hopes that it may help shed light on the subject.
Until then, May God richly bless you and keep you.
If you found this post helpful, please leave a comment and tell me what helped you most or what did not help you. That information will help me to build better posts in the future.