Communication is key to any relationship. Its how we connect, we share, and learn. Thats why prayer is so important. Its the foundation of our faith because it builds our personal relationship with Jesus. Because its such an essential part to growing with God, the next series will discuss three principles of prayer.
1 Prayer is Personal
2 Prayer is Powerful
3 Prayer is Persistant
Prayer is Persistant
Prayer is not a checklist item, a must-do chore for us to maintain our religion. Prayer is setting aside time for Jesus in your life daily. You willingly spend time with those in your life that you love, shouldn’t you make the same commitment to your Lord and Savior? Pray in the good times, pray in the bad times – Prayers of praise and prayers of need.
In the Old Testament, King David and the book of psalms are the exemplary example of a life committed to prayer. A conversation between an individual and the Lord.
O Lord, in your strength the king rejoices
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you i trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and i have trusted in the Lord without wavering
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us.
—Psalm 60 :1
David did not only turn to God to praise the good, or only to complain about the bad – he went to the Lord for ALL things: the good AND the bad. He recognized God is with us in our daily lives.
In the New Testament, Jesus maintained a devout prayer life, continually retreating to solitude to pray to God the Father. Throughout his ministry his greatest miracles either started or ended with powerful prayers. In Jesus’ greatest moment of pain he demonstrated the persistence of prayer. After the meal of the Last Supper Jesus and his followers went into the Garden of Gethesame. Jesus went off by himself in the garden to pray. Even though he new his purpose and calling, he still struggled to accept his impending death. Its a true revelation of his human nature. He humbly asked God the Father to remove the burden of death, if it was in the Father’s will. He went off to pray to God the Father three separate times that night. Jesus maintained consistent communication with his Father.
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[a] with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
– Matthew 26:36-46
Both Jesus and David demonstrated a life of continual connection to the Lord through prayer, in celebration and in suffering. David brought God into his daily life through prayer. He did not isolate God’s role to a single day of the week or wait until a critical moment of need. By maintaining a conversation with God David gained understanding of God’s will in his life. Jesus brought his needs to the Father. Three times he went to the Lord. He was suffering, he was literally sweating blood from the stress of the situation. He persistently spoke with God, and in the end when the Father reaffirmed His will for Jesus’ life, Jesus carried it out in full obedience. When you pray to God, expect He will answer, and be ready to faithfully serve Him.
We must recognize God as Father, and part of that requires we speak with Him. We welcome Him into ALL parts of our life. We praise Him for blessing, and confess our sins to Him. We cannot hide from Him in shame. He knows we have sinned, He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for us while we were still living in sin. Be persistent in prayer. Don’t be content offering up a single prayer request and then never bringing your need up to God again. Don’t feel guilty asking God to bless you, as if you can ask too much from the Creator of the Universe. Bring your needs to Him daily, consistently. Its a humble recognition of God’s presence in your life when you realize every day is a gift He has given you.