Prayer is Not…

by APC on February 08, 2018

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 (James 5:16, KJV).

All prayer is good and all prayer avails; however, some prayers are more effective than others. As we continue in our spiritual journey with God, our prayer experience needs to grow. God will continue to deepen our prayers as we grow in Him, and their effectiveness will too.

Prayerful Maturity

As prayer matures, it will take on different characteristics and shape: the duration will extend, frequency will increase, the depth will grow, subject-matter will change from self to others, etc. We eventually will learn how prayer is a resource/tool for us instead of just for self-maintenance. Spiritual maturity will lead us to a place where we take less time to pray about ourselves and more on others and God’s Kingdom.

Prayer is Not an Option

People have a tendency to look at prayer as event-based—something with a start and stop time. However, prayer is not a moment in time but a lifestyle we must life in Christ. We’re admonished in Scripture to pray for everything (Philippians 4:6) and everyone (I Timothy 2:1–4). Prayer must become a state of mind for us; staying in a prayerful mindset will impact every other attitude manifested in our life. The basic charge we have as Christians is to continue in prayer (Romans 12:12) and without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).

Prayer is Not a Ritual

We must approach prayer with a right attitude. There are several components that will help us understand how to come to a prayerful time and mindset in our Christian journey.

Be Real

It may go without saying, but we must be real when we pray. Prayer cannot become a charade for us; therefore, we must do it in secret (Matthew 6:5).  Prayer is not about impressing God, speaking with terminology we don’t normally use, or mimicking other people. We need to be us when we come to Him, get down to basics, and approach Him the way He created us.

Be Relational

God already knows what we have need of before we ask (Matthew 6:8), but our prayers need to emulate from our heart and less from our  mouth. As the Spirit leads us in prayer, we’ll know what to pray for! Prayer is all about quality; our heart must be right in order to pray effectively. Jesus rebuked behavior of people who came to Him with the wrong spirit (Matthew 15:8). We can touch the throne of Heaven when we pray if we seek Him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Be Revealing

King David prayed that God would search Him, try Him, and know His thoughts (Psalms 139:23). It’s important to be honest with God about what we know about ourselves, but also to be receptive in what God wants to reveal to us that we don’t know. David wanted to know about his “secret sins”—things he did, but wasn’t entirely conscious of. He wanted to know what God thought about and saw in his life (Psalms 139:24). Most importantly, he wanted God to expose the real him, and also to lead him into correction. We must desire the same in our life.

Be Open

Prayer is not a one-way conversation. Just was we talk to God, and make our requests known unto Him, we must be open to listen to what He has to say. God has something to say to everyone—He might even use us to speak to other people (Acts 21:11). But, there must be an avenue for Him to speak to us, and that is prayer. We must know His voice and follow it (John 10:27).

Prayer is Not a Leftover

We cannot live a life for God and allow prayer to be our “Plan B.” God wants to hear from His people first in their day (Psalms 63:1; Mark 1:35). Jesus even modeled this for us by rising early and finding a place to pray. Praying first helps to establish the steps we take daily; we commit every decision to Jesus and allow Him to orchestrate it. God wants to prepare a way for us—He has a plan for our life. If we wait to pray, we miss what He has in store.

Prayer is Not an Escape Door for Bad Decisions

We will reap the consequences of what we sow (Galatians 6:7). We can’t pray our way out of our poor choices. Prayer exists to help us through our wrongdoings, but it’s not an escape plan.

Prayer is Not a Guarantee Against Suffering

Daniel prayed for 3 weeks and didn’t hear from God. Jesus prayed in the garden and was still crucified. Paul, one of the greatest prayer warriors of our time was in prison, whipped, stoned, suffered shipwreck, experienced a multitude of perils, was tired, experienced pain, hungered, was thirsty, went naked, and many more things. Prayer may not ensure we won’t face trials and suffering in this life, but it will help us endure them. God will help comfort us in tribulation through our prayers (II Corinthians 1:3–4).

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on February 07, 2018 with Pastor Nave