I have come to believe that without prayer, Christianity is powerless and useless. It’s all about the relationship!
The Bible was written so that God can easily communicate with His people. It’s one of the ways He talks to us. It teaches us to pray. Even as far back as Solomon, we learn how to pray:
5 Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.
Both Matthew and Luke included Jesus’ model prayer for us. We will use Matthew’s:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”
- We recognize Him as our Father, we acknowledge Him in heaven, and we proclaim His holy name.
- We pray for His kingdom to come to earth and that His will may be done here as it is in heaven–even in our own lives.
- We ask Him to meet our needs today even as He met the Israelites’ needs in the desert (Deut. 8:3-5).
- We ask for a cleansed and right heart AFTER we have forgiven those who have offended us, who owe us, and who hurt us.
- We KNOW He will not lead us into temptation (we state the obvious for emphasis), and then ask Him for deliverance and protection from the evil one, who leads us into temptation. May we not follow the evil one BECAUSE the Father leads us in another direction.
Jesus also emphasized the privacy of prayer, the personal level of prayer, and the assurance of prayer.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Our connection and camaraderie with the Father are tied together in prayer. Our access to Father-God and His throne of grace has been opened to us through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus Himself has come to live in our hearts via the Holy Spirit. Why would we WANT to live this life apart from them?!!!
Let’s set aside any and all things that hinder us from seeking Him. In my life, I must control what I put into my body so that I feel well and will have a clear mind with which to hear Him; I must limit what I watch electronically because it tends to distract me, lead my mind down paths that I should not go, and wastes my time so that I must shorten–and even abandon–my prayer and reading time with the LORD. We must consciously and deliberately make Him a priority in our lives. We can even start our prayers with, “Lord, You know I don’t feel like doing this, so please renew my heart, my mind, and my will in You…” Now, THAT’S a prayer that He will answer right away!
Abba, even though I know that You are a thought away, I still find myself living life without consulting You or even acknowledging You. Please call me into prayer with You so that I can establish a habit of turning to You for answers to all things. I know that if I spend time with You, I become more and more like You, thus making me holy, righteous, without fault (Jesus finds no fault in me) and blameless (if I am under His command, then I am blameless). I know that You will soon present me to the Father with great joy (Jude 24); I am sure looking forward to that day! Amen.