On prayer . . .

Prayer is a much neglected, yet powerful asset for the Christian. Prayer is entering into the presence of a Holy God and presenting our praises, our petitions, our confession and we acknowledge our dependence upon Him for all we have and are. Prayers are to be made both publicly and privately, but always with the focus on communicating with God in our mind.

 

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about prayer today. So often, prayer is viewed as a last resort. We hear folks say, with exasperation, “Well, all we can do now is pray.” It is said as if all the “real” options, all of the good alternatives, have been exhausted.

 

Truth is, prayer should be our “go to weapon.” It should be the first thing we think of and the last we do. Not a last resort.

 

Other Christians in our culture today pray with a focus on themselves. This is done by making demands, or going before God without a proper sense of awe and reverence. This attitude is also evidenced by the presentation of petitions as if God owes us in some respect.

 

Some have a general unconcern regarding prayer. Almost as common as taking the Lord’s name in vain is using the phrase, “Pray for me,” flippantly as if it were some kind of joke and that was the punch line.

 

Prayer, rightly viewed, is a God-given privilege to appear before His holy presence. It is by His mercy that we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22) especially as we draw near to Him in prayer. Then, we are given the privilege of worshipping Him (Matthew 6:9-10) and thanking Him for all He has already done (Colossians 4:2). We are given the grace to repent of the sin which makes us so unworthy (Matthew 6:12). He then tells us we are to make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:6).

 

Sometimes I find myself in a position where I know God can answer my prayer, I am just not certain that He will.

Recalling Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose, I know that all prayers of believers are answered. It is just that sometimes the answer is “no.”

Jesus pointed out to His disciples in Luke 11:11that if a son asks for bread from his earthly father, certainly that father would not give him a stone. Or, if he asked for a fish, he would not give him a serpent instead. There are times when we ask for things which are not for our ultimate good. To use Jesus’ analogy, if our child were to ask for a serpent, we would certainly not give it to him. Neither will God say yes to our request for things which He knows will harm us.

So seek the Lord early and often in prayer. And expect Him to do great things.

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