While prayer may often be used in private communion with God this reveals that prayer is meant to be prayed in community to God.
If you want to grow and become a more healthy church, have your church focus on falling on your knees and cry out to Him! As Leonard Ravenhill put it well, “For this sin-hungry age we need a prayer-hungry church.”
The more I grow in my faith, I realize how important prayer plays in the role of one’s spiritual formation. Prayer should be a subject that is close to the core of every Christian’s communion with Jesus.
It will be rare to find a Christian who says they do not desire to fall in a deeper relationship with Jesus. A child of God desires to fall in deeper love and engage in conversation with God himself! However, too often I believe as Christian we are caught into the rush of daily life and don’t make enough time to pray.
Prayer is critical to an intimate, growing relationship with God! So is with a healthy growing body of the local church. Praying provides gospel power. Prayer is a vital part of an effective, strong, healthy, and biblical church!
Oswald Chambers said in his book My Utmost for His Highest this way, “We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense.”
Prayer Centers to Heartbeat of God.
Before coming to faith, we were enemies of God, we were hostile to him. Through grace in faith in Christ, not only does he bring us into his kingdom, but he also brings us into personal relationships as a child.
J.I. Packer put it this way, “You sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.”
If you want to know and understand God, then we must ponder on the reality of the Fatherhood of God. We are adopted and treasured people, children of God. When you connect with God as Father, you’re looking for two things; (1) Protection and (2) Provision.
After the invocation of prayer, we get straight down to business, simply, directly take our petition to God. It is not about man and his need; it is about Him and His glory. It is not simply God just answer to prayer, purpose of prayer is the glory of God.
Praying to God as your Father and then saying, “God, you are holy” immediately puts prayer as a God-centered exercise. Rather than coming to God with our long list of anxiety, need we acknowledge the greatness, bigness and wonder of God.
Biblical prayer is not simply from God, but to express our dependence on God.
Prayer Reminds Our True Identity in Christ.
In the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 we find this cherished promise as children of God.
“Our Father in Heaven” = I am a child of God.
“Hallowed be your name” = I am a worshiper unto God.
“Your kingdom come” = I am subjected to God
“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” = I am a servant of God
“Give us this day our daily bread” = I am a beggar before God
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” = I am a sinner against God
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” = I am still a great sinner.
John Newton was a captain of slave ships who later became a pastor who wrote the words, “Amazing Grace” In later of his life, even at his old age, “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”
Jesus said this, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Matt 19:14-15).
Little children are innocent, humble, trusting, not overcomplicated, in awe of little things, and take God’s word at heart by simplicity and authentic faith. Children have a joyful spirit and often display a faith like a mustard seed that can even move mountains.
God wants us to come to him like a child-like faith. It looks just like a child depending on having the simple, trusting attitude of their parents. Jesus desires his followers to delight and enjoy through prayer by relying on him and trusting in Christ explicitly.
For prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work!
Pray with Great Urgency and Expectancy.
Jesus was a prayer warrior and we can learn much from him. The disciples even came to Jesus asking, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1). If we want to learn to live, love and lead like Jesus, we must learn this key principle.
Believers do not pray to impress God or to inform God, but to implore God. Prayer is not to be used to build a reputation for piety.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites” (Matt 6:5). Yes, it’s like the Pharisees who prayed in the street corners so that everyone could hear them (Matt 6:5-8). To pray to impress people is wrongheaded.
Prayer means to have our gaze set on Jesus, not with a side glance at people who could be impressed. What a great reminder today that we can bring anything before God in prayer.
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
And what a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
We’re privileged to ask for everything we need for our provision this very day, today. Therefore, praying means you and I acknowledge we are utterly dependent on God for our everyday life.
Make it your aim to pray to God every day. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). We can never exhaust God in prayer, for prayer is a sign of true faithfulness.
Praying Church is an Unstoppable Church
I was recently reading a book titled, “Spurgeon on the Priority of Prayer” Spurgeon was the “patron saint” of all Baptist preachers and still stands as an icon on the evangelical landscape of all time. Though he was known as the “Prince of Preacher” in the eloquence of his delivery as a pastor, Spurgeon cited prayer as the secret to their success. Prayer was the secret of the church’s power!
Even at one time, he would occasionally take young ministers to the basement and would declare, “here is the powerhouse of the church.” which he called the “boiler room.” They found about 100 people in prayer who came before services and prayed for God’s blessing.
Let us grow in our prayers! May God revive our churches to a more holy reverent commitment to the priority of prayer by faith!
As Martin Lloyd-Jones said this once, “If only every Christian in the Church today were living the Sermon on the Mount, the great revival for which we are praying and longing would already have started.”
Because of the promises of God, fueled by the power through God, passion for God comes from the Holy Spirit and sails us to the heights of heaven!