Week 5 - Prayer

Philippians 4:6-8 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

In the beginning, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Once sin came into the picture, God desired connection with His children. Prayer is how God taught His kids to communicate with Him.

Prayer is direct contact with the divine. At its heart, it is God’s way of allowing us to love, praise, plead with, and give our love to Him every day. The scripture actually tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) This shows us that when we go to God through prayer and adoration, He inhabits that adoration, literally. He dwells within our prayers and praises!

Developing a full prayer life should be one of the first desires of a new Christian. Prayer is the center of everything. Happy – pray to praise Him. Scared – pray for peace. In desperate need – cry out to Him in prayer.

There are many kinds of prayer, but we can break the majority into 5 categories.

1.   Adoration – We pray to God to praise Him for His greatness and to admit our dependence on Him. Mark 12:30 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

2.   Confession – We use prayer to own up to our sin and ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

3.   Thanksgiving – Thanking God for His many blessings, such as health or children. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

4.   Petition – Asking God for something, such as healing, courage, or discernment.  Ephesians 6:18 – “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”

5.   Intercession – Asking God to help others who need it, such as the sick, poor, the suffering, and those who have not accepted God’s forgiveness. James 5:14 – “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

All of these types of prayers ultimately must focus on one of two things: Edifying the body of Christ, or glorifying God. We are forgiven, healed, and brought closer to God not for our own glory, but for His. Deepening your prayer life is not for the faint of heart. It is direct contact with the almighty Creator of the universe. Prayer changes us, fulfills us, and takes us into deeper realms of the Spirit than we ever thought possible.

However, let me say this. There are two rules to prayer that many Christians do not know about, and it causes extreme frustration when things may not turn out the way they hoped.

1.   Be aware of your motivation.
God hears every prayer – this means that we should be aware of why we are asking what we are asking for when we ask it. As was stated before, the purposes of prayer are to achieve intimacy with God, edify the body, and glorify God and His Son, Jesus. We need to be aware of our motives when we entreat the God of the heavens.

2.   God can say no.
Doesn’t sound right does it. It is natural to think that if our motives are pure and if we desire to build up others, grow the Kingdom, and glorify God that He should say yes to our requests and give us what we ask for.  That is not how it works.

Approaching God is recognizing that He is so much bigger than anything we can comprehend. His will does not always make sense to us. His purposes will always stand, and sometimes, even the purest of requests does not fit in the plan of an infinite God. He is allowed to say no.

When these moments happen, it is important for us to realize why we approached God in the first place. He loves us and desires nothing but our good. His ways are higher, greater, deeper, and better.  We will not always understand them, and sometimes, it will hurt. But it’s better.

Prayer allows us an amazing opportunity. We get to talk with, laugh with, cry with, and communicate with the very one who made us.

So the next time you pray. Do not worry whether your words are fancy or that you are saying the “right thing.” Go to the one that made you, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and trust that if the one that created you loves you enough to die for you, then He will listen to your heart and your words and WILL always do what is best for you, His child.