PRAYER Part 1

One of the unique attributes of Christianity is the way God has been so purposeful in making himself available to us.

Scripture says that our heavenly father wants to hear from His children. When we talk to God, He listens, understands, and acts in ways that are in His and our best interest. Communication with God helps maintain our spiritual focus and keeps our lives on track. It’s important to spend some time every day in prayer with God.

Paul told the Philippian church in

Philippians 4:6,7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

God also gives us an exciting promise through the apostle John.

1 John 5:13-15, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of Him.”

Prayer is mentioned more in the Bible than love or hope, and is referred to nearly as often as faith. In fact there are nearly 650 examples of prayer in the Bible.

Prayer is the way in which we invite the God of heaven and earth to be actively involved in our lives, in the affairs of His church, our nation and our world.

Many Christians attest to the “power of prayer” however maybe its better stated as the power of GOD sought through prayer. Although we know without question that God can do all things, sometimes he may choose to answer our prayer in a way different than we had intended. We sometime say that God answers prayer in three ways, yes, no, or maybe later. Just because God doesn’t answer our requests in the ways we feel he should doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us, is disappointed in us, or disinterested in our situation.

The apostle Paul maintained a powerful prayer connection with God however on one occasion his request made in prayer was denied.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Paul recognized that God was still involved in his life, but He was focused on a different objective than Paul was. Through prayer Paul’s focus was shifted toward God’s focus.

It’s important to accept early on in our Christian walk the importance of daily prayer.

Our society is meeting oriented so let’s think of our daily time with God as a meeting–the meeting that matters most each day. In fact, I believe that’s how Jesus looked at the matter of prayer. Because Jesus knew God so well, He prayed with absolute consistency and intensity. Jesus knew that prayer was a meeting with God Almighty, a meeting that would have a real effect on His daily life and the eternal destiny of the world. Of all the meetings that pressed in on Jesus, He knew that there was one meeting which determined the success of all of His other meetings. Prayer, for Jesus, that was the meeting that mattered most.

The gospel of Luke gives to us detailed accounts of Jesus in prayer. There is no question that His life forms the example for us at this point. The busier things became, the more Jesus determined to continually pull away for the periods of prayer, bringing God’s influence and power into His hectic schedule. For example, Luke tells us in Luke 5:15, 16,

The news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of the sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

  • There are very few times in Jesus’ life where we do not find Him in prayer.
  • He prayed all night before the selection of the twelve apostles as we read in Luke 6:12.
  • He repeatedly prayed in the presence of His disciples as seen in Luke 9:18.
  • Jesus prayed specifically for Peter in Luke 22:31, 32, that after the crucifixion Satan would not have power over Peter’s life.
  • Jesus also prayed at all of the crucial times in His own life. We find Him in prayer at His baptism, in Luke 3:21, at the transfiguration in Luke 9:8, in Gethsemane as He faced the cross in Luke 22:39
  • Jesus prayed in the face of death itself as we see in Luke 23:46.

It is almost an understatement to say that prayer was a way of life for Jesus. It was the way of life that enabled Him to live victoriously as He drew strength from His constant fellowship and communication with God.

Surely, if Jesus, the sinless son of God, felt the need for daily prayer, we can also see its importance in our own lives. I would like to encourage you to begin setting aside time when you can talk to God alone. He wants to hear from you. During your prayer times you will come to know the love and grace of God more fully.

In the next few studies we will give you some practical suggestions that will help you in your daily prayer time.

QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW AND STUDY

1. When we pray, regardless of the circumstances, what does God provide us according to Philippians 4:6,7?

2. What other exciting promise does God give to us in 1 John 5:13-15 concerning prayer?

3. How many prayers are found in the bible?

4. Many Christians say there is “power in prayer”, but where does the power actually come from?

5. What was the meeting that mattered the most to Jesus?

6. The busier things became for Jesus, the more He determined to do what according to Luke 5:15, 16?

7. On what occasions did Jesus pray, and for what or whom did He pray?

A. Luke 9:16, 22:16ff.

B. Luke 6:12

C. Luke 9:18

D. Luke 22:31,32

E. Luke 3:21

F. Luke 9:28ff.

G. Luke 22:39ff.

H. Luke 23:46

8. If Jesus, the sinless son of God, felt the need for daily prayer, what are the area’s in our life we need to pray as well?

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