FoundationsForGrowing

Prayer

by Joanna Pierce on June 30, 2016

Communicating with God

Since the time when Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden, mankind has struggled to keep a one-on-one relationship with God. Before sin, God walked with Adam in the cool of the day and spoke to man with an audible voice (Genesis 3:8–9).

After the fall of man, God spoke to His people a majority of the time through elected vessels. However, some individuals found they could speak with God themselves (e.g., Abraham, Moses, and Samuel). When individuals spoke to God, they had supernatural results. The manner in which these individuals spoke to God was through prayer.

We can accomplish much in a constant prayer life with the Lord. He has told us if we humble ourselves, pray, and turn from our wicked ways, He will answer our prayers (II Chronicles 7:14). God promised He would maintain a divine relationship with His people if they followed these simple directions—to pray. However, when we forsake the Lord and neglect our prayer life, we will not experience the promises of God (II Chronicles 7:19–22). God’s promises are conditional and based on our relationship with Him.

Why Should We Pray?

Prayer helps us maintain our one-on-one relationship with God. If we don’t pray enough, we can lose out on God’s blessings. We pray because we need His power, healing, salvation, and everything else. Because we need God’s blessings to make it through each day, our prayer life needs to be a day-by-day activity. Scripture admonishes us to ask, seek, and knock, and when we do, we shall receive what we’re looking for in God (Matthew 7:7).

How Should We Pray?

Many people approach their prayer life as a way to fill time and recite empty saying. We’re told in Scripture not to pray with vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7). We should not want to waste our time in prayer, but to make contact with God and feel His presence.

We’re given many examples in Scripture of how to pray, and we can find an example known as “the Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9–13. This was not meant for us to repeat, but to follow its order:

  • Open with praise and thanksgiving to God and for what He’s done in our life and others’
  • Pray for God’s will to happen on earth and in every situation
  • Pray for God’s blessings and provision on our life and for others’
  • Ask for forgiveness and ensure our forgiveness of others
  • Pray God keeps us from the enemy, gives us strength, and arms us with weapons to fight
  • Close with praise to God for what He will do

James also tells us the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). We are to confess our shortcomings to those who are strong in the Lord (spiritual leadership) and bind together in prayer with them to overcome our obstacles. If we follow after righteousness, our prayers will be powerful and will accomplish much in God’s kingdom.

When Should We Pray?

There is never a time that’s inappropriate to pray. Scriptures tell us to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). Don’t ever stop praying! We are to keep our minds focused on the Lord at all times. No matter what we’re doing, we can pray for God to give us strength to make it through, lead us to complete the right actions, have the right spirit/attitude, order our steps, etc.

What Should We Expect When We Pray?

When we pray, we should expect God to answer! Sometimes God’s answer will be yes, no, or wait. Whatever His answer, we should know it’s God’s will, and the outcome will happen according to His timing.

We should also be careful to pray in accordance with God’s will. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed for the cup to pass from Him, but He ended His prayer with, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39, KJV). Even if our flesh wants something to happen, we must always pray for God’s will. We need to follow the example Jesus set for us.

Pray Today

Today is an opportunity for each of us to commune with the Lord in prayer. It’s time to realize what prayer is all about, what it can accomplish in God’s kingdom, and what it will do for us in our relationship with the Lord.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 29, 2016 with Guest Speaker, Bishop Nave