15 Mar PRAYER – A direct line of communication with our Heavenly Father
Recently, friends of ours have shared specific prayers that they have prayed for my husband and me. Years ago, they prayed fervently and often for us to come to know Jesus and have a relationship with Him. They even wrote our names on the floor of our church, underneath the main worship center, crying out to God to save us. Our pastor stands right on top of this very spot every Sunday, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to the city of Dallas. Our friends knew that they themselves couldn’t change our hearts to see the Lord or make us acknowledge His goodness and the truth of His Son, but they knew Who could.
We see examples of this in God’s Word: Abraham pleads for the people of Sodom (Genesis 18), Moses pleas for Pharaoh and the Hebrew people (Exodus 6 & 15), and David prays for the heart of his son, Solomon (1 Chronicles 29). Many believers today are pleading for the salvation of others. Honest pleas to God, “Save my friends and family, bring them into a relationship with You!” No special words or rituals are involved, just pure hearts being poured out for others to God. Paul tells us that we should pray without being anxious, pray about everything, and with thankful hearts. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Do you remember the WWJD bracelets? Have you ever thought about how Jesus made decisions? The Gospels reveal how important seeking the will of His Father was, through prayer. You may ask, isn’t He God in the flesh? It’s true – He was both human and divine. The human side of Jesus was like us, He was the Son speaking with His Father. Just like Jesus, we are God’s children, and we need to speak with our Heavenly Father as well. Prayer is is our primary means to experience God.
In the life of Jesus, we see many examples of Him taking time to pray. He prayed in the morning (Mark 1:35), in the evening (Matthew 14:23), when others were being baptized (Luke 3:21). He prayed frequently (Luke 5:16), constantly, and without ceasing (Luke 18:12). He prayed before He raised Lazarus from the dead, “Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.’” (John 11:41-42). He prayed over food and provision, praising His Father (Luke 9:16), He prayed for the will of God over His own (Luke 22:42), and He even prayed for those persecuting Him (Luke 23:34). In John 17, we see Jesus pray for Himself, His disciples, and all who would believe, and in Luke 11 He teaches His disciples, and us, how to pray.
When we pray we are talking directly to God, and as we pray, our relationship develops and deepens with Him. Prayer demonstrates our trust and utter dependence upon the Lord and it is also our most powerful tool against satan. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Don’t you think the enemy wants to discourage you from practicing prayer regularly?! HE DOES. He doesn’t want you connected to God, relying on God, waiting on God. The enemy wants us to do it all on our own without asking our Father in heaven what He thinks or how we should make decisions. The enemy wants to do everything he can to hinder an intimate relationship with God. Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Prayer enables us to stand against the enemy, to take back our lives and families, as we fully rely on the Lord Who is the One fighting our battles against the powers of darkness and spiritual evil.
John 6:44 tells us, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” It is God who draws us to Himself, but we also know He hears the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15:59). I challenge you to reflect on what God has done for you, recount the prayers God has answered for you and for those around you. I know my friends’ prayers from the beginning of this post were answered, because my husband and I have come to a saving faith, living an abundant life, basking in His reckless love. Our marriage has been redeemed, and we trust God to lead us to be loving, gracious parents. God has brought healing from anxiety, freed me from the bondage and brokenness of trauma and sexual abuse, and has shown me how to forgive those who have hurt me. All of this is possible because two people saw our need and prayed. Fervently.
The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, that reveal God chasing us and pursuing us. Before we were born and while we were yet sinners, He says, “I love you.” Prayer is a means of responding back to God, admitting that He is greater and knows what is best in any given situation. Not my will, but Your will be done. Prayer is not seeking our own will, but seeking to align ourselves with the will of God more fully (1 John 5:14-15, James 4:3). God is after our hearts. Talk to Him like you would your best friend – the words don’t have to be perfect or eloquent. “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8) God already knows what we want and need, but He is eagerly awaiting to hear our voices cry out to Him. Cry out to God, Who will fulfill His purpose for you! (Ps 57:2)
You see, the power of prayer is truly powerful.
We invite you to prayerfully reflect on these questions:
- Is there someone you can be praying for that doesn’t know Jesus? If not, perhaps you can pray for an opportunity to share the Good News with a non-believer.
- Are you demonstrating your dependence on our Father by consistently going to Him in prayer – in the morning, in the evening, in praise, in thanksgiving, in suffering?
- Do you approach prayer believing that God can, will, and wants to hear from you and fight for you?