Nestled deep in the warmth of a quiet study on a cold winter morning is a great time to communicate with the Lord Jesus. But even sequestered in the most optimal location, prayer is more than likely a spiritual battle. Author and pastor Max Lucado writes, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” Exercise in prayer has deep and lasting value for the person praying and for the Lord’s kingdom.
Prayer, both private and public is the incredible privilege of Christians. A. B. Simpson said, “Prayer is the link that connects us to God.” The invitation to enter into communication with God is by far the most amazing invitation a Christian enjoys. Just getting a glimpse of the privilege offered by the Trinity to enter and participate in the Divine communication is a startling yet strengthening blessing.
E. M. Bounds reminds us that, “Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.”
Prayer is entrance into and participation in the Divine communication.
The reality of joining the Divine communication means the Christian has some understanding of responding Biblically. In other words, we don’t just stumble into God’s presence. We are invited in, and though there is not a dress code, position, or proper language necessary for true prayer, there are some clear Biblical expectations.
Nathan Brown wrote:
A study of the various Scriptures on prayer reveals that there are conditions to effective praying. I must not hold a grudge against another person (Mark 11:25), I must not pray with selfish motives (James 4:3), and my requests should always be in harmony with your [Divine] will (John 5:14-15). To pray effectively, my faith should be in you [The Lord], not in the object of my request.
These are the expectations God puts on praying. Communicating with the Lord may be done casually, but never carelessly. Though the invitation is almost beyond believable and the most humble and immature is welcome in His presence, there are clear Biblical expectations. You may not effectively enter the Lord’s presence in a spirit of rebellion or carnal selfishness and expect the Lord to respond to your demand.
The English pastor of a couple generations ago, Charles Spurgeon, wrote, “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that — it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” In a similar train of thought, Dr. Wesley L. Duewel wrote, “God waits for you to communicate with Him. You have instant and direct access to God. God loves mankind so much, and in a very special sense as His children, that He has made himself available to you at all times.” The Lord desires to join you in carrying your burdens, fighting your battles and enjoying the blessings of life. His purpose in redemption is to interact with you throughout the seasons of life.
Remember, true prayer involves listening as well as speaking. Even in a public prayer time it would be valuable to quietly spend a minute or two listening to the voice of the Lord.
Mother Theresa said, “God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” There is value in stopping and listening to the Word and The Spirit. It is not your eloquence that the Lord desires, His heart wants to hear the desires of your heart. His mind wants to communicate with your mind. He deeply desires to interact with you. He wants to hear your heart but He also wants you to hear His heart.
Spiritual and eternal transformation are the results of prayer. If you will not allow the Lord to change you, you will not pray. If you will not pray, there will be no moral or spiritual change in your life, family, or church. Prayer is the work of the Christian. Prayer prepares us to do the ministry of a Christian. Communication with the Lord about the reality of life helps us remember who is Lord.
If you will not pray, there will be no moral or spiritual change in your life, family, or church.
Prayer offers a place where we can bring our family and friends and present them to a God who knows them and loves them even more deeply and passionately than we do. He knows the intricacies of human interaction and desires to offer you wisdom and the leadership if His Spirit as you walk through the maze of daily life. Taking time in His presence helps bring peace and a sense of direction. Your daily life can be a ministry of Divine grace as you open yourself to His leadership.
The Lord also desires to communicates with us about ourselves. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He is fully aware of your tastes, preferences and opinions. Your time of prayer has the potential to mold and form you into the person His calls you to be. His Word and Spirit has the power to build on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses so as to enable you to live a confident and victorious Christian life. You see, prayer is much more than just a daily discipline. It is personal and corporate interaction with the God of the universe. Prayer makes available to you all you need to be all God wants you to be.
Gather with other Christians and join with them in prayer. Finding time to meet and purposely pray together will strengthen those who join in the exercise as well as bring a new sense of God’s work. Whether the gathering is regional, local, or in a small group setting, find time to pray together.