SCRIPTURE GEMS – 6
One of the greatest blessings in the life of a Christian is prayer. When we pray we are asking, pleading, petitioning, and thanking Almighty God. Many, many examples are recorded for us in the Scriptures as well as instructions both positive and negative. David was known as a “man after God’s own heart.” He certainly was not sinless but he was a man of repentance, confession, and most definitely—a man of prayer. Ps.51: 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. This could well be a daily prayer for us to utter every morning. Our spiritual lives would be strengthened and grow.
Probably most of our prayer life is personal and alone. Matt.6:6 This verse is not an indication that all of our prayers should be private. When the first church of Christ began on Pentecost, prayer was one thing to which the Christians devoted themselves. Acts 2:42 We sometimes call this corporate prayer as there are more than one involved. We are given a promise in Matt. 18:20. There is power as we pray together. A person really committed to the power of prayer will not miss the opportunity of praying with other Christians.
One part and perhaps the first part of our prayers would be the adoration of our awesome God. When Nebuchadnezzar was returned to humanness from being as an animal, he gave a wonderful praise of God in Dan.4:34. David did this over and over in the Psalms. God delights in our adoration. 2 Sam.7:22
Confession of our sin is of extreme importance as we begin to pray. 1 Jhn.1:9 As we confess our sins it is understood that we would truly and sincerely repent. This is done specifically. It is not a generic exercise. Heb.6:4-6 To recognize our specific sins and not take care of them becomes a matter of our eternal destination. Heb.10:26 It is important that we do realize God’s merciful forgiveness and grace. It is up to us to receive that.
Being accountable to another Christian helps us stay faithful. Jam.5:16 Always remember that prayer accomplishes so much alone and together, even more. Matt.18:19
Several words are used to indicate a petition or asking God. One is supplication which might be more of a pleading for a specific outcome. 1 Tim.2:1 “All Men” even includes enemies (Matt.5:44) and leaders in the church (1 Thess.5:12,13) and government. 1 Tim.2:2 Another is intercession. The word, intercession, is sometimes translated intervene or intercede. Heb.7:25 We pray for others and the pain, problems, and sorrow that they experience. One example was when the Christians gathered to pray for Peter to be released from prison in Acts 12.
Personal requirements are given for prayer to be successful. One is to have purity of heart. Ps.66:18 It isn’t a matter of praying when a problem occurs, expect an answer and then go our way. God must be first in our lives. Prov.15:29; 1 Pet.3:12
All prayer must be within God’s will. 1 Jhn.5:14 Even Jesus prayed in this fashion when He was praying in the Garden the night before He was crucified. Lk.22:42 Our entire life must be within God’s will. 1 Jhn.2:17
Our prayers will not succeed if we do not believe. Jam.1:6-8 When our prayers are answered, are we surprised? Matt.21:22 Our belief must be so strong that we can lay all in our life on Him. Heb.11:6 In his last book, Paul wrote to Timothy and expressed his firm belief. 2 Tim.1:12 Sometimes praying in Jesus’ name is forgotten. Jesus explained this and the reason for it. Jhn.14:13
When we confess and repent of our sins, do we expect to be forgiven? We have many promises; however, even this prayer has requirements. Matt.6:14,15 We need to take this very seriously. Too often we take God for granted.
Other reasons why our prayers are refused are mentioned in Scripture. Too often our prayers are selfish—just for “me” and what “I” want. Jam.4:3 Some think if they pray once or twice and their prayer isn’t answered, they should quit. Jesus tells a parable that teaches otherwise in Lk.18:1. Another parable indicates a similar lesson. Lk.11:8,9
We pray in humbleness as we realize in truth who we are. Lk.18:13,14 This is a good example for us. Prayer is talking to God and our prayers do not have to be filled with many words nor fancy words. Matt.6:7
As we close our thoughts on prayer, may our faith be strong enough that we can cast our cares upon the Lord. 1 Pet.5:7 This will keep us from so much worry. Phil.4:6 May our minds be ready to pray anytime and anywhere. 1 Thess.5:17; Col.4:2 Let us pray with David, Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a stedfast spirit within me. Ps.51:10