by Mike Rosser.
Prayer is the highest endeavour of the human spirit. To transcend itself, to connect with it's Maker. William Carey said, “Prayer, secret, fervent, believing prayer lies at the root of all personal godliness.”
Real, heart involved devotion to God in prayer changes people. Sticker, “Prayer changes things” could read, “Prayer changes people.” How so? Spending time with God in prayer and in the word helps us to “think God's thoughts” to see things as he sees them. This is transformational. It's a matter of focus, a mind set Col. 3:13. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”A person of prayer has a heavenly mind set.
The example of Jesus is indisputable testimony to the necessity of prayer in following God. He prayed at His baptism (Luke 3:21), at His transfiguration (Luke 9:2829), when faced with trials (Luke 22:3946), before important decisions (Luke 6:12), early in the day (Mark 1:35), at the close of the day (Matt.14:1323), and at the end of His life (Luke 23:34). Jesus is our Model of One who walked with God in the practice of prayer. If He needed time with God to accomplish His mission, don't we need the same? For men and women who have walked with God, to breathe was to pray. Prayer was not just something they did in life. It was their life. Their lifeline to God.
James 1:5 teaches us to pray in faith. But, how is it possible to pray “in faith.” We must believe that God is listening. We must believe that He will respond. In Ex 32:1114, Moses prayed, God relented. Ask, seek, and knock (Matt.7:711). God will respond. David acknowledges God as the one who hears prayer (Psalms 65:2).
The real issue that squelches the prayer practice of many is that they are like “deist's” in their understanding of God. He is unapproachable, immovable, and really doesn't care. He's off doing something else. He's not listening. In 1 Peter 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7 the apostles taught different. In reality the problem is stated in James 4:2-
3 We ask amiss to consume on our own lusts.
The men Jesus chose to be his apostles had grown up hearing and saying the Jewish prayers, but we see them asking Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Have you learned to pray after the manner of Jesus? So many of us are content to wade in the shallows rather than launch out into the deep ocean of prayer. Daniel sailed on the ocean of prayer. So did David. Paul did. The early Christians devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 4:24ff; 12:5, etc). Our brief, traditional prayers at meals and bedtime are commendable, but they do not suggest a “devotion” to prayer. We must persist in prayer; continue diligently in it. It is not only a daily discipline, but something that we are involved in frequently and consistently throughout the day. All prayers cannot be said on one's knees. Some are offered behind the wheel of a car. Others in the shower. Some are sent up while standing in line at the grocery store.
A lifestyle of prayer is learned through disciplined practice. Pray here. Pray there. Pray everywhere. That's how you become a person of prayer.
Why is a praying lifestyle so difficult to achieve?
1. It is intensely spiritual.
2. It is private and personal.
3. It is time consuming.
4. It is sobering; exposing sin and darkness of soul.
5. It results in an inward call to change.
6. It is the enemy of Satan. If the Devil can keep our eyes from the word and our hearts from prayer, he will defeat us. If he can't, he won't.
Emphasising knowledge without emphasising prayer creates a danger of producing religion without relationship (1 Cor. 8:1) The apostles had the right combination”But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Lord, teach us to pray, too!
Presented by the Cape Rd Church of Christ.