‘This, then, is how you should pray‘ (Matthew 6:9 NIV)
‘Prayer. The last refuge of a scoundrel‘ (Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons, season 2 episode 1 [11/10/90 USA]). Lisa says this to her brother Bart, after he has prayed for bad weather, to give him more time to study for a school test.
God answered his prayer.
Jesus thought that prayer was so important, that he taught us how to accomplish the task (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). ‘don’t babble on and on‘ (Matthew 6:7 NLT) well that is to the point. He also said that we should pray in secret, ‘pray to your Father in private‘ (Matthew 6:6 NLT). ‘When you pray, say… …‘ (Luke 11:2 NIV).
We need to look to God and Jesus, and trust them in all aspects of our life.
When we decide to do that, then we enter into a relationship with our awesome Father, Creator of the entire universe, our Redeemer, and Friend.
And how do we do these things?
‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty‘ (Zechariah 4:6 NIV).
We pray, in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray.
‘you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you‘ (Jeremiah 29:12 NIV).
God tells us that we talk to Him, when we pray, He will listen to us.
Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends said, ‘You will pray to him, and he will hear you‘ (Job 22:23 NLT). ‘if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, God listens to him‘ (John 9:31 ESV)
Jesus took that a step further, not only will He listen to us, ‘my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name‘ (John 16:23 NIV). ‘we know that he hears us in whatever we ask‘ (1 John 5:15 ESV). ‘the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer‘ (1 Peter 3:12 ESV).
‘But I don’t have time to pray’. ‘I have a really busy work life’. ‘The children need constant attention’. ‘I’m too tired’. These and many, many more, are not reasons not to pray. We make excuses for most things that we find difficult, or hard to plan into our daily lives.
You can pray whilst driving the car, or walking into town or around work, or even while cooking the dinner or making the bed, and why not get the children to join in, they are the next generation of the Church.
And when we feel that we cannot pray, ‘the Holy Spirit helps us… … the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words‘ (Romans 8:26 NLT).
But how often should we pray?
We should pray often. We are in a relationship, and when we are in relationships, we talk to the other person most days if not multiple times in a day.
‘pray continually‘ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV); ‘Night and day we pray earnestly‘ (1 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT). That may seem a lot, but how often do you speak to your loved one? ‘Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day’ (Joyce Meyer).
Who should pray, some of us or all of us?
‘Therefore let all the faithful pray to you [God] while you may be found‘ (Psalm 32:6 NIV). It is not only mothers or fathers or children that need to pray, everyone needs prayer. ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no-where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day‘ (Abraham Lincoln). ‘The prayer offered to God in the morning during your quiet time is the key that unlocks the door of the day. Any athlete knows that it is the start that ensures a good finish’ (Adrian Rogers).
We live in a troubled world, a world of the flesh, sinful desire, and temptation. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples, ‘Pray, that you will not fall into temptation‘ (Luke 22:40 NIV).
Wise words, that are just as true today!
God has a plan for all of our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11).
He wants a relationship with us. Any relationship that is going to survive, requires people to talk. We can talk to God at any time, through prayer.
For this we can take a leaf out of the disciples’ lives (read Acts 2:42-47). ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… … And the Lord added to their number daily‘ (Acts 2:42 & 47 NIV).
Because of prayer and living the way God wanted them to, their number increased daily.
That is a challenge for all of us!
Remember the word of Oswald Chambers;
‘Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work‘
Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven,
From earth’s confusion to Jesus’ breast;
My sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow,
Are lost forever in sweetest rest.
Hal Beckett (1888 – 1971)
Father God, we thank you that we can come to you any time that we want. We do not have to wait for Sunday, or any special day, we can talk to you whenever we want to. Help us to talk to you more. We love you Lord, and we want to lift our voice in prayer more to you. To praise you for what you do in our lives. To praise you for what you do for the world. You created the world for us, and you created us in your image, help us to be more thankful for that.
Lord we look at the world you created for us. How it has changed with killings, bombings and other hateful crimes. Help us to be salt and light in the dark world. Lord may we be the point at which people can meet with you and have life changing moments.