1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 pray without ceasing
Luke 18:1 ought to pray and not lose heart
James 5:13 -6 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses[e] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Each of us has friends that we share our lives with, that we open up to, and turn to for support, encouragement, and love. We talk to them at least once a day, if not more sometimes when life is a little rough and the storms are blowing through. We call, we text, we Facebook them, we twitter and chat with them. We send emails and call them. To maintain a friendship, or any relationship for that matter, we have to communicate with them, reach out to them, and be willing to sacrifice other things to spend time with them. Why then do we expect to have a meaningful relationship with God if we aren’t willing to communicate with him? How can we expect to hear God’s advice for our lives, or find comfort in his love, or find support from his words if we are not seeking it? Just as we seek to spend time with our friends and deepen our relationships with them, so too we must spend time with God seeking to deepen our relationship with him.
How do we communicate with God? How do we draw closer to him? The answer is easy…through prayer. The word pray is a simple four letter word with a life application challenge. God calls us as Christians to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18) and to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). How often do you pray? How connected are you in your walk with God? Do you feel distant from God, wondering where he is in the daily struggle of life? Well, if you lack prayer, then you will most certainly lack the assurance that he is there with you! You will not know his plan for your life nor receive comfort and support if you don’t seek it out. You have to pray! It is imperative for the Christian life to succeed.
So, how do we pray? Scripture provides numerous examples of prayer from David, Moses, the disciples and Jesus. Most all of Psalms is David’s prayer to God. Prayers for forgiveness, prayers for guidance and protection, prayers for discernment, prayers for peace and understanding, wisdom and favor. David prayed for it all! Moses prayed for protection and guidance, for strength to lead the people out of Egypt. The disciples prayed for the church, for fellow believers, for endurance to run the race of this life and reach the eternal prize. Prayer is given all throughout scripture, but Jesus set the example for us as believers. He took time to be alone with God, not short little bursts of prayer when he woke up and before he went to bed, but hours and at times days to pray and talk with God.
When scripture tells us to pray without ceasing, it does not mean that we are to be on our knees 24/7 forgetting about all the other responsibilities and obligations we have to do each day. No! It means that we are simply including God in all that we do. Of course, we are to take time to pray and meditate on his word and its meaning in our lives, which will require devotion and sacrifice. However, to pray continually, means that we are bringing God with us into all areas of daily life, deliberately and conscientiously.
When we face a nagging coworker and need patience, we pray in our heart and mind that God will help us deal with that person at that moment. When we need strength to accomplish a task that is laid before us, we need to conscientiously ask God to help us get it done. When we struggle with a temptation that brings us to the edge of sinning, we need to stop and ask God to show us the way out. Praying continually means talking with God throughout your day about all the things that happen in your day. These include, but are not limited to your fears, your weaknesses, your joys, your accomplishments, your job, the annoying neighbor, the button pushing child.
Jesus gives us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15.
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
If we dig deeper into the Lord’s prayer, as it is affectionately referred to, we will find the ability to pray with substance and meaning (See note: Prayer – Part Two).
May you ask, seek, and knock at the door to God’s throne and may he meet all of your needs in his glory and for his honor (Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10).