iscover the Power, Purpose and Joy of Prayer (Revised May 4, 2018)
Many think that because God is sovereign and will accomplish all His will on earth, they need not pray for it to happen. Well . . . I think this falls short of what God intended. Christ Himself prayed regularly and continues to pray even now. (Heb 7:25) And we, being members of His body, are also called to pray.
“We always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Lk 18:1)
The words pray, prayer(s), and praying—excluding its other forms like supplication, petition, asking, intercession, etc., are mentioned over 500 times in Scripture! With that in mind, consider the following radical and exciting fact. It helps me understand the critical role prayer plays in our lives:
God has given humankind dominion over the earth. (Gen 1:26-28)
This means that God has delegated to us a measure of His authority and power in Christ: “Greater works than these you will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do.” (Jn 14:12-13)
God empowers us as world changers! We are not called to passively watch the world go by, but to engage it: “In this manner, therefore, pray . . . Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:9-10) “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (Mt 5:16)
Note! We can do nothing without His power (Jn 15:5) and prayer taps into that power.
The world is full of hurting people. When Jesus saw the crowds He was moved with compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited (NAS) like sheep without a shepherd. Then He prayed that His Father would send laborers into this harvest of suffering humanity. (Mt. 9:36-38)
All human beings long for hope, peace and joy—in essence, the Gospel. The Gospel reveals God’s unfailing love for all people in Jesus Christ. “Scripture . . . announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed .
The Apostle James said that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much. (James 5:16) A righteous person is a compassionate, loving person like we see in Jesus.
The Amplified Bible says: “The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous [compassionate] man [person] . . . can accomplish much…” In other words prayer has to be real—from the heart; we pray because we care, not because we have to. Love spawns and empowers prayer; after all, God is Love. (1Jn 4:8, 16)
Here’s another radical thought we need to embrace:
Paul urges us to not worry about anything, “but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 HCSB)
Do you desire greater peace in your life? Do you long for the power of God to work in and through you? Then I urge you to take prayer seriously. When Jesus talked about prayer, He did not say “and if you pray…” but “when you pray…” He expects you and I to pray.
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites.” (Mt 6:5)
“But you, when you pray, go into your room…in the secret place.” (Mt 6:6)
‘And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions.” (Mt 6:7)
“Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.” (Mk 11:24)
Now here’s where the rubber meets the road in changing our world! The Apostle Paul exhorts us to pray for all people: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” (1 Tim 2:1)
Prayer is central to our life in Christ, both privately (Mt 6:6) and corporately: “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done.” (Mt 18:19)
Be careful though, to not let prayer become a burden on you, but instead a delight. It’s a privilege to pray—to partner with God in bringing His Kingdom to the earth! (Mt 6:9-10)
Consider another awesome thought . . . “His commands (to pray, etc.) are not burdensome!” (1Jn 5:3) Why are they not? Because God works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure! (Phil 2:13) He empowers us to do all His will (Eph 3:20) and that includes prayer.
Prayer is not complicated. If you have not done it before or have done it very little, start by talking to God as though he is right there by your side, because He is. Speak from your heart about what is important to you, what you are going through and what your desires, aspirations and dreams are. Nothing is taboo.
God is interested in you and everything about you. He wants to connect with you in a tangible way that helps you. That’s what talking to God does. And as you talk to Him, be listening for what He might be saying to you deep in your spirit.
I like talking to God out-loud as I walk outside under His beautiful sky while appreciating His natural creation all around me. Cultivate moments like this in your life. They will strengthen your faith and foster peace and joy in your heart.
In closing . . .
I want to be as effective as I can in proclaiming the Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. I imagine you do too. Will you agree with me in prayer for each other? “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done…”
Pray that God will inspire and energize us in our vision to bring hope, joy and peace in Jesus to the world. Let us model Him in prayer and in loving our neighbors as ourselves whoever and wherever they are. Let’s encourage and support each other in this task. We can make a difference! I invite you to call me so we can explore what we can do together. (956) 280-1708
Let’s pray . . .
“Lord, we thank you for your great Hope-for-All promises and particularly for transforming us and filling us with your love for suffering humanity. Empower us to bring good news of great joy to the whole world. Let your kingdom come, your will be done. Be glorified in us and in all the earth! In your precious name we pray.”
If you still wonder about the importance of prayer in our lives, I’m including a few more passages about prayer below.
This closing passage is also offered as my heart’s desire and prayer for you:
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 15:13)
“Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Mt 21:22)
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’” (Mt 26:36)
“Whenever you stand praying …forgive… that your Father in heaven may also forgive you.” (Mk 11:25)
“But the angel said… “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.” (Lk 1:13)
There was a widow of about 84 years old, who “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” (Lk 2:37)
“It came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Lk 6:12)
“As He was praying…one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Lk 11:1)
“When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping.” (Lk 22:45)
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” (Acts 1:14)
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4)
“Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10:4)
“Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.” (Acts 10:31)
“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” (Acts 12:5)
“As we went to prayer …” (Acts 16:16)
“For God is my witness . . .without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” (Rom 1:9)
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. (Rom 10:1) He’s obviously referring to salvation from sin in this age as He wrote, in the next chapter, that all Israel will be saved. (Rom 11:26)
“Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” (Rom 12:12)
“Now I beg you…strive together with me in prayers to God for me.” (Rom 15:30)
“Do not deprive one another… that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer.” (I Cor 7:5)
“You also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given.” (I Cor 1:11)
“And by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.” (2 Cor 9:14)
“I … do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” (Eph 1:15-16)
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication.” (Eph 6:18)
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy.” (Phil 1:3-4)
“I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer.” (Phil 1:19)
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (Col 4:2)
“Epaphras… greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect.” (Col 4:12)
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.” (I Thes 1:2)
“It is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Tm 4:5)
“She…trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.” (1Tm 5:5)
“Without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.” (2Tm 1:3)
“I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers.” (Phlm 1:4)
“I trust that through your prayers I shall be granted to you.” (Phlm 1:22)
“In the days of His flesh… offered up prayers and supplications.” (Heb 5:7)
“Pray for us.” (Heb 13:18)
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (Jas 5:16a)
“Husbands…giving honor to the wife…that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1Pt 3:7)
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.” (1Pt 3:12)
“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”(1Pt 4:7)
“This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1Jn 5:14)
“The prayers of the saints.” (Rv 5:8; 8:3)
“The prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.” (Rv 8:4)
Footnote (a): Galatians 3:8; See also Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25-26