What is prayer? How does it work? Why are we required to do it? How does it benefit us?
25 The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the LORD is kept safe.
We can trust God. He is good. He always does the right thing. The problem is that we cannot see things from His perspective. We tend to judge according to what we know and expect. He sees things in light of eternity. We must remember that Jesus’ ultimate goal for us is to be with Him beyond this world (John 17:24). We must also remember that He is the God of creation, and His natural laws are the foundation of that creation. Most (if not all) of our present circumstances; the quality of our soil, the type of food we eat, the condition of our DNA, the state of the world, our weather, and our general health are due to millennia of choices and the consequences of sin (the Flood is a prime example of living with consequences, as is cancer and COVID).
What does prayer have to do with all this? We tend to pray for things to turn out according to our expectations and our own benefit. We need to learn to pray according to God’s way of doing things. So, let’s take the questions one-by-one:
- What is prayer? Prayer is our connection to the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit. It is the conversation we have with Him. If we are aware of His Presence in our lives on a daily basis, then we usually have a running conversation with Him. Occasionally, we get together with others to pray. It, too, is connection. We hear each other’s prayers and join them in their requests, praises, heartaches, and petitions. We intercede for each other, which means that we pray for the Lord to work in each other’s lives. Prayer is the POINT of salvation. Jesus wants a relationship with us.
- How does prayer work? The best answer is to look at Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13,
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.
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
- Notice that Jesus taught them to pray to the Father, recognizing where He is and who He is.
- To pray for His kingdom to come is to pray for the church to grow and for Jesus to come back. Both invoke His will to be done on this earth even as it is in heaven.
- Our daily bread is everything that we will need today. It’s a reference to manna in the wilderness and to Jesus as the Bread of Life (See John 5-6).
- Unity is the key. We have been forgiven, therefore, we forgive. We are most like God when we forgive.
- We know that God does not tempt, nor is He tempted (James 1:13), so I take this verse to be a cry for His presence and participation in my life everyday–all the time! When I am aware of Him in my life, I don’t worry about what Satan might try to do to me.
- It’s His kingdom, it’s His power by which He rules, and it’s for His glory always.
I have heard it said that we don’t pray to change God’s mind, but to align ours with His. Trust is the key to prayer. If we trust Him, we are good with whatever happens, knowing that He will bring ultimate good out of every circumstance.
The other two questions we will discuss tomorrow.
Abba, You are my heavenly Father. Your name is holy and sacred to me. May I live my life with You at the foremost of my mind. I want to be like You, Lord, so help me to forgive quickly and completely whether I get an apology or not. As for temptations, help me to honor my own guard rails that You have helped me to set up. Even when I fail, I know You will deliver me if I turn to You quickly. May Your kingdom come, O Lord; may everything be to Your glory. Amen.