God has put on my heart to do a blog series about prayer. Not because I am an expert by any means, but because it’s a personal area of growth for me. As believers, we always hear we should study the Word, spend time in prayer, and spend time in fellowship. For a few months now, my heart’s desire has been to draw closer to the Lord through prayer, and I want to spend 2018 doing just that, but practically how is that done? I think my frequency is good - praying throughout the day, during my Bible studies, before meals, teaching my kids how to pray, getting more comfortable praying on the spot for people in need, stepping outside my comfort zone to pray out loud in groups, praying for our church family through the prayer team and the C4 Women’s Facebook Group (if you don’t know about those and want to, just ask!) - but how do I go deeper when I do pray? How does God want me to communicate with Him? What heart does God want me to have for prayer? How can I worship God through prayer? How can God grow me faster through prayer? How can I learn more about God’s will for my life through prayer? I’m sure one could spend a lifetime dedicated to the study and practice of prayer, but I’m excited to see how the Holy Spirit will grow me (and you) in 2018, building on the foundation that’s already laid. My goal (God willing), is to share on one practical application “topic” about prayer for each blog post this year (~1/month). I want and desire a strong prayer life, and I must be intentional about understanding, applying, and praying about what I learn.
First, let’s understand HOW and WHEN we should pray. Ephesians 6:17-18 says:
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Once we are saved, along with the Word of God, we should be praying ALWAYS in the Spirit with determination for the needs of all believers, including ourselves. Read this verse and the verses before and after it over and over, and read it in different translations too. We’ll go deeper in later blogs, but as a believer, this verse should weigh your heart to want to pray more and more and more.
What does the Bible say about WHY we should pray? I’ve been reading a book cleverly titled “How to Pray” by R. A. Torrey. It’s a whopping $4.39 on Amazon and is worth every penny. I’m going to summarize the first chapter in bullets, as it gave eleven solid Biblical reasons with corresponding verses about WHY we should pray. I pray you go deeper in Bible study and let these scriptures sink in and elevate the importance of prayer in your life as it did for me.
We should pray because:
- There is a devil and he is against us – Eph. 6:12-13 (note verses 17 and 18 above are after these verses and praying is HOW we overcome spiritual attacks)
- Prayer is God’s appointed way for obtaining things - Jas. 4:3
- The Apostles regarded prayer as an essential daily activity – Acts 6:4, Rom. 1:9, Eph. 1:15-16, Col. 1:9, 1 Thess. 3:10, 2 Tim. 1:3
- Jesus Himself spent significant time in prayer – Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12
- Jesus lives and is available right now to make intercession for us, which is how He brings us to completeness – Heb. 7:25, Rom. 8:34
- Prayer is how we receive mercy and obtain grace in time of need – Heb. 4:16, Luke 11:8
- Prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, is how we obtain fullness of joy – John 16:24, Ps. 16:11
- Prayer for every need and anxiety, with thanksgiving, is the how God frees us from anxiety and gives us the peace of God which passes all understanding – Phil. 4:6-7
- Prayer is the method God has appointed for us to obtain the Holy Spirit – Luke 11:13, Acts 4:31, Acts 8:15
- Prayer is how we fight against the cares of this world and the distractions and temptations all around us and focus on Christ, so we’re ready for His return – Luke 21:34-36
- Prayer is how we align our hearts with God’s will and it promotes our spiritual growth - Ps. 139:23-24, Ps. 51, Ps. 119:18, Jas. 1:5
Finally, to quote Pastor Matt: “Prayer is not about changing God, it’s about changing YOU. God is perfect! Prayer aligns my heart to God’s will, and God’s will is found in His Word. We should pray God’s own words, therefore, we must know His Word.” I pray this Bible study has increased your heart’s desire to grow your prayer life. Start praying for God to reveal to you how to pray. Next time, we’ll go deeper on praising God during prayer and why praise is a crucial component.