September 12th, 2019
Note: This devotional is a rewritten version of one published June 10th, 2018. It has been revised and edited for improved clarity and readability.
He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.
Luke 11:1 (HCSB)
Prayer is perhaps the single most important activity for a follower of Christ Jesus. I’m not trying to be controversial in any way. I am simply stating what I’ve come to believe in strongly. There are numerous points through out our day, when it is critical for prayer; prior to praise, as we worship, when we wake, when we sleep and every point in between; prayer is essential.
As you may know, I’m writing a book regarding prayer as the key component to growing our love relationship with God. I suppose that I have always felt prayer was important but, the revelations I have encountered in doing my research, and growing my prayer life during the time I’ve been writing has impacted me profoundly. It is something I cannot measure, nor will I even try to, because it is too much for me to take in, let alone fully comprehend.
Some things that stand out to me are:
Constant states of prayer are not only possible, they are critical
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Because the Spirit of Christ lives in us, there is not only a possibility of being in constant communication with God, it is simply a reasonable behavior for the believer.
It is amazing how things that we know, we don’t comprehend. Since I was saved by God’s Grace, I’ve known that His Spirit was living in me. Yet until I realized that 1 Thessalonians 5:17 was not just something that was a figure of speech but a reasonable and important part of our connection to our Lord and Master; I truly did not comprehend what it really means for the Spirit of the Living God to be present and active in me.
Let’s take it one step beyond it being reasonable to conclude that constant prayer isn’t some unattainable goal, but something that we can and should be doing. It’s not a good idea to participate in constant prayer; it is imperative that we do so.
Paul didn’t stutter when he said, “Never stop praying. ” he didn’t say we should strive to “Never stop praying. ” He didn’t position an ‘if’ or ‘when’ in the midst of the sentence, he said, “Never stop praying. “
This is the reason that this passage is a directive and not just poetic license on the part of Paul. We are to be always joyful; it doesn’t mean we will always be happy about our situation, but we can and should be joyful. We have an obligation to thanks, because no matter what, His Grace is there free and abundant, waiting for us to accept it. And we are to integrate prayer into every element of our lives and at all times.
But, in between these to important topics is prayer; not just periodic, but constant prayer.
Thanksgiving is something we need to put into our prayer lives
God wants us to have a thankful heart and to express that thankfulness in our prayers.
Think about your prayer life and then read this.
I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. I will praise You every day; I will honor Your name forever and ever.
Yahweh is great and is highly praised; His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts.
I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty and Your wonderful works.
They will proclaim the power of Your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare Your greatness.
They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
Psalms 145:1-7 (HCSB)
This passage screams thankfulness!
if we consider our prayers honestly we almost certainly will find that 80-90% or more of our prayers involve requests. Asking for something. What we pray for might be great on the surface, but what God wants to hear from us mostly is thanksgiving and prase to His Holy name.
After all He is God and He knows what we need, he’s more than willing to see that we get what we need. Thankfulness on the other hand needs to be a consistent part of our lives and worship. When we don’t’ have, thank Him for what he’s given us or we in connficance know He will provide.
Thank Him in advance, and after He has provided.
Declaring and lifting up our gratefulness to God is powerful in ways that are unimaginable. It not only changes our relationship with God, it changes us! so that we are no longer subject to that which buffets us.
Praise Him in all things!
God wants our supplication to be persistent
Perhaps this is something that others picked up on long before me. I honestly assumed that being persistent in a prayer request to the Lord was approaching whining.
Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.
1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)
If I wanted to make up an excuse perhaps I could have taken this passage and made the argument that, God hears our requests, He knows our hearts, and He understands our needs; so why bother him with the constant drone of the same request over and over and over again?
Then I realized that time and time again, prayer was given up for the same thing over and over, only for God to be moved to grant that requests. Now that is not to say that He always had an affirmative answer. There are illustrations where God said ‘stay the course’, or wait.
But we lose out if we lose focus on those things that we are asking of the Lord and we do need to repeat them as long and as often as our hearts long to, because our prayers are about our hearts and sharing them with God; so God can intern share His with us.
That’s not all but it is enough
There is more to prayer, but for now this morning, this is enough to consider. It is enough for us to understand that, prayer isn’t just a ritual that we go through, nor is it something that we relegate to someone else to do on our behalf.
Prayer is personal. Prayer is practical. Prayer is worship. Prayer is communion. And prayer is joyful!
Lord, teach us to pray!
In His Grace!,