Prayer, Truth for Today

278 – Practical Matters about Prayer

Comments Off on 278 – Practical Matters about Prayer 15 March 2013

Is prayer important to you? How often do you attend to that important matter? Even more important, what do you know about prayer? Some people wonder about it. Some people utilize it as an emergency measure when things go badly for them. But, God intends for us to have an intimate personal experience with him regularly. We need to learn to pray like Jesus if we want to live like Jesus! We need what the disciples confessed they needed—instruction on prayer.

As a practical matter prayer is relating to our heavenly Father. From a pharisaical tradition Jesus called His disciples to learn that prayer is not directed to other people or for public show. Prayer is addressed to God. It is our call and consolation to enter the very presence of God and to experience close fellowship with the Father. Jesus said that we are not to pray as hypocrites do on the street corners. They wanted to be seen of others. But, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matt. 6:6, The Message). Prayer is between each of us and God alone! If you want a close and intimate relationship with God get alone with Him in prayer!

As a practical matter prayer respects that God already knows our needs. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God” (Matt. 6:7 The Message). The point is that we do not need to try to inform God of our needs by sharing them with every passer by. Pagans needed to convince and manipulate their gods. God is sovereign and He is infinite in wisdom. He knows everything! He is acquainted with each of our needs!

As a practical matter prayer reveals our dependence on God. “One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples’” (Lk. 11:1 The Message). The word for “pray” is important here. It refers to how we are to approach God. It was a word that connoted a dog who waited by its master’s side and waited for its orders. It was totally dependent on its master. We are the same. We are totally dependent on our Master. Each day we need to go to His side to discover what His orders for us are for that day. That presupposes we will be willing to do what we are told since we are dependent on Him.

As a practical matter prayer recognizes: The Lord’s prayer is a model prayer. We should include in our prayer what Jesus taught here. Prayer recognizes Our need to worship God. “So he said, “When you pray, say, ‘Father’” … (Luke 11:2, The Message). We should begin by worshipping God through His name. “Hallowed” means holy and set apart. We are to give Him first place in our hearts. Prayer also recognizes God’s work. “He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come’” (Lk. 11:2 NIV). We should be praying that God’s will prevails in our hearts and minds. We are to acknowledge our desire for His kingdom to come in us. Prayer recognizes God’s provision. “Give us each day our daily bread” (Lk. 11:3 NIV). God just says this is the way it is going to work. God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift. It all comes from God in heaven. God wants us to recognize that He is the One who meets all of our needs. We are always dependent on Him. God just says this is the way I’ll do this. You ask for one day’s bread, and I’ll give one day’s bread. Ask for no more and no less. Ask in faith! Prayer also recognizes God’s heart to forgive. “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation” (Lk. 11:4 NIV). When we sin we need to confess it to God (agree with Him about it), so He can forgive and cleanse and use us again. You are God’s disciple if you deal honestly with the sin in your life. Prayer recognizes that God’s fighting for us. “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ” (Lk. 11:4 NIV). Paul taught that our warfare is in the heavenlies. Jesus was talking about the temptations (trials) that come from Satan. We have to get committed to Christ first in order to be ready to do battle against Satan.

As a practical matter prayer returns persistently expecting an answer. In Lk. 15:5-10, Jesus tells the story of a man who went to a friend at midnight to borrow bread to make a meal for a traveling friend who stopped by. He went to his neighbor and presented his need. That is what our example is to be for prayer. We go to God and present the need! Then if we are serious about the request and if it is important enough to us, we will continue going back in faith believing that, in God’s time, He will answer us within His will. Persistence in praying pays off!

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