My thoughts and beliefs on prayer.
|Before I begin talking about prayer, I want to share an acronym that has helped me. (ACTS)
A-adoration, praise and adore God!
C-confession, confess your faults and sins.
T-thanksgiving, thank God for his blessings.
S-supplication, make your requests known to God.
My first thoughts on prayer bring me here to Matthew 6:5-13. For the record, most of the scriptures I use are King James Version, unless specified otherwise.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
I am a person who believes strongly in the power of prayer. This scripture passage is the example prayer given by Jesus. This is What Jesus himself says about prayer during his sermon on the mount. Not only does what we pray matter, but so do our attitude and motives we have while praying. Don’t pray to be seen of men, but pray to be heard by the Father. Pray to God the Father from your heart. In Jesus’s model prayer, he addresses and first praises the Father. He places God’s will before his own. Next, he asks for daily provision. Notice he is praying for himself and others. He prays for forgiveness and acknowledges he must forgive others also. He then prays to not be led into temptation and to be delivered from evil. He ends the prayer in praise again.
The next thing I want to mention is that Jesus said a prayer for us in John 17. I would suggest reading the whole chapter if you get the opportunity. However, I want to emphasize verses 19-23.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
This passage is another place that tells you God the Father and Jesus the Son love you (verse 23) These verses indicate to me a desire of God to have a personal and close relationship with you. There is so much love and passion in these verses. Do you see it?
If God the Father and Jesus the Son desire a relationship with you, then I am assuming they want to spend time with you and communicate with you. How else do you build up and form a relationship? By spending regular time in prayer and reading the Bible is how we spend time communicating with God. This is pleasing to him and a way of worshiping him. Jesus himself made time alone to pray. Matthew 14:23 and Luke 6:12 are two great examples of this.
Marriam-Webster definition of prayer:
prayer noun (1), often attributive
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\ ˈprer \
Definition of prayer (Entry 1 of 2)
1a(1) : an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought
said a prayer for the success of the voyage
(2) : a set order of words used in praying
b : an earnest request or wish
2 : the act or practice of praying to God or a god
kneeling in prayer
3 : a religious service consisting chiefly of prayers —often used in plural
4 : something prayed for
5 : a slight chance
haven't got a prayer
I wanted to point this out as a thought. I got this definition from this website by the way: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prayer. What does prayer really mean? Above is a definition you may find in a dictionary or on the internet as I did. Most of the time it is considered a one-way communication, us talking to God. I actually like to think of it as a two-way conversation. When we talk to God, we may find that he sometimes talks back if we take the time to listen. There are several times the Bible speaks of people inquiring of the Lord, and it also records his answers to them.
My next thoughts take me to Matthew 7:7-11.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
If Jesus or God the Father did not want to hear requests from you for yourself, why would these verses even be here? Does this not sound like God takes great pleasure in answering our prayer requests and meeting our needs?
The next scripture I would like to talk about is James 1:5-6. I love verse 5.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
We know in verse 5, if we need wisdom and ask God for it in faith, he will give it to us. There are a couple of phrases I would like to point out though. That giveth to all men liberally means not sparingly but abundantly. What does “And unbraideth not” mean? Let’s look it up on the internet.
According to https://www.dictionary.com/browse/upbraid
[ uhp-breyd ]SHOW IPA
See synonyms for upbraid on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
to find fault with or reproach severely; censure:
The military tribunal upbraided the soldier for his cowardice.
(of things) to bring reproach on; serve as a reproach to.
verb (used without object)
Archaic. to utter reproaches.
As you can see, this states God gives to ALL men liberally (freely, generously, abundantly, without prejudice or judgment), and he upbraideth not (without reproach or finding fault). How awesome is that? You don’t hear that mentioned very often.
Next, let’s take a look at James 5:13-18.
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Not only does this mention praying for afflictions and healing of the sick, but it says if the sick person is healed, their sins are also forgiven. Then right after that, we are told to confess our faults one to another so we can pray for each other and be healed (and have our sins forgiven). After this, we are told, if we are righteous, our effective and heartfelt prayers work. We are then given an example of a righteous man’s prayers working and being answered.
James 4:1-10 is the next scripture on my list.
1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
In the first part of this passage, we see the attitude and motivation of the heart matters again. When we make our requests to God, we must examine ourselves to make sure we are not asking it to fulfill the lust of the flesh. However, when we pray, God gives grace to you if you are humble. Verses 7-10 expound on humbling yourself and submitting yourself to God. Notice it says if you draw nigh to God, he will draw nigh to you. If you humble yourself before God, then he will lift you up.
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Verse 6 says if we want God to direct our paths, then we should acknowledge him (ask him about) in all our ways.
4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
As a closing thought, I want to point out if we delight ourselves in God, he will give us the desires of our heart. Notice the next verse, commit your way to the Lord and trust him, and he will bring it to pass.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
To sum all of this up, seek God above everything else and his righteousness, and you will not want or need more. God becomes your everything. As you develop and seek a relationship with him, he is delighted to give us whatever we ask from him in prayer. However, we have to ask because he desires to have a close intimate relationship with us. What will you ask from him today?
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