What is prayer? How does it work? Why are we required to do it? How does it benefit us? Continued…
5 Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6 Do not add to his [God’s] words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
Jesus is the revealed Word of God (John 1:1-4, 14). He is with us always (Matthew 28:20, John 14:23). Knowing this helps us to rest secure in His care. When we pray, we are connecting to Him on a conscious level. When we do, there are a few things we need to keep in mind:
- We cannot unbind God’s hands because they are never bound. It’s not a matter of asking Him for things. Jesus said, “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8). If you, then, though you are evil [in nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:11). Jesus wants us to focus on one thing and that is to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
- God works naturally in a natural world. We can pretty much count on natural consequences happening to us when we do stupid stuff. Also, we live in a fallen world that has some pretty extreme natural consequences going on. God works within His natural world. Getting sick is not God making us sick, but rather it is us catching one of more than 200 cold viruses that are out there. He has determined all things to work in a natural course of action/reaction. Our joy as humans/kings is to figure out the process and live in it (Proverbs 25:2). How? Through prayer and study. We ask God to open our minds; we trust Him to lead us to truth. We read the Bible and other works in order to know, and then we pray asking God to guide us through all the information to the truth. We may never know the full truth while on this side of heaven, but we trust God to know.
- God is continuously warning and preparing His people for what is coming. Sometimes, He warns us to change paths; other times, He simply prepares us. Either way, we are interacting with the Father. God is in control of the overall destiny of mankind and this world. Most of His influence, though, is through the Church, His people. What does that influence look like? That depends upon how well we stay connected to the Father in prayer.
We are benefited in several ways through prayer:
- We connect with God and each other, thus forming a family and protection.
- We “see” where God is working and, to a degree, understand what He is doing.
- We join Him in what He is doing.
- We are equipped and prepared for what whatever comes.
Asking God to reveal to us what He is up to is a good way to focus on the spiritual rather than the physical aspects of our circumstances. It’s usually a progressive revelation, which is part of the dialogue we have with Him. We don’t have to know the destination or the details, only that we are with God and He is with us. He is good, and we can trust Him.
We’ve only scratched the surface concerning the topic of prayer. The best way to learn is to do it.
Abba, I KNOW I don’t have a very good grasp on the topic of prayer. It’s hard for me to stay in the moment. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not more of being in contact with You than it is focusing on talking to You. May I remain open to You at all times. I know I am tempted to shut You out when I want to sin. I am learning that whatever the payoff for sin is, it’s not even close to the benefits and blessings I receive from staying connected to You! More of You, less of me, Lord. Amen.