Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Thoughts About Prayer

 Three Thoughts About Prayer:

 1. Prayer as a command. 
When reading Scripture, it is patent that God commands us to pray. This can be deduced from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which tells us, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you," (ESV).
 If you are His child, you will have a new heart that desires Christ and longs for a relationship with Him. Part of any father-child relationship is submission and obedience. If you love your parents, it is a joy for you to obey them. When they care for you and lead in love, you want to submit to them. A heart that truly desires to obey and submit will be proactive in doing so. If Christ's will for us is prayer, then we should be striving to develop a lifestyle of prayer and dependence on Him as our Heavenly Father.

 2. Prayer as communication. 
 Many of us have asked or at one point will ask the question, "Why pray?" With this attitude, it is obvious that prayer is a burden. We give up too easily when we pray because our prayers aren't answered according to our wills. How selfish is this? Christ, who gave up His entire life to save His children from the penalty of sin, wants to have a relationship with you. If you are truly His child, you will WANT to pray and maintain a close relationship with Him. How often do you talk to/call/text/e-mail/facebook your best friend? As it says in Proverbs 18:24, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother," (ESV). That friend is Jesus and He desires relationships with His children whom He loves! Matthew 14:23 states, "And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone," (ESV).
When Jesus was on earth, even He prayed in order to have communion with God. He went off. By Himself. His relationship with the Father was so vital, that He tended to it. Alone. Without distraction. If Jesus, who was perfect, took the time and effort to pray, and maintain His relationship with the Father, how much more should His children be doing the same?

 3. Prayer as cultivation. 
When I consider how children speak to their parents, one of the things I absolutely cannot tolerate is whining. I work at a school, so hearing children whine and complain is a daily occurrence for me. When I hear students whine it makes me crazy!  This made me think about how I have sounded in my conversations with Christ. For example, "Wahhhh Wahhh Wahhh God please!!! Wahhh Wahhh." And then, "Well I guess you didn't hear me, because that's not how I wanted this to work out. Whine, whine, complain, complain." This has definitely made me realize how patient God is and how horrid I am. He is my Father. He loves me. He desires to give me good things. He is making me more like Him daily. Through prayer I have learned to cultivate a heart that is faithful and trusts Christ. Instead of whining about something, try praying about it. I don't mean offering up a half hearted one sentence complaint to God. I mean getting on your knees before Him and giving up your whole heart and your whole being to your Heavenly Father who knows what you need before you even ask Him ("And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think they will heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father know what you need before you ask him," Matthew 6:7-8 ESV). According to E.M Bounds in his book The Necessity of Prayer, "Faith must be definite, specific; an unqualified, unmistakable request for the things asked for. It is not to be a vague, indefinite, shadowy thing; it must be something more than an abstract belief in God's willingness and ability to do for us. It is to be a definite, specific, asking for, and expecting the things for which we ask,". Learn from my sin. By surrendering my desires to Him in prayer, I have learned to be more faithful because I know that He hears me and I know that He is for me! I hope that in spending time with the Heavenly Father, you as His child learn the same!
 Love, Lolo