“"If my people which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." I CHRONICLES 7:14
We often assume that because a person professes a belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and subsequently becomes baptized that that person is automatically “anointed” with everything he needs to know about every aspect of Christianity. This is a wrong assumption. The Word clearly states to “Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needeth not be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of God”. It is imperative that we study to gain a clear understanding of what it means to “know the Word of God.” We cannot study appropriately, however, without knowing how to communicate or pray to God.
Prayer is basically is our honest communication with God. Prayer is the highest exercise
of man’s spiritual nature in which we can express trust, submission and union
with God. Prayer is the essence of the soul’s (or inner spirit’s) contact
with our Holy Father. It is in and through prayer that we are able to speak to
the very heart of God.
we pray, we are able to partake of the God’s presence and power. He refreshes
our spirits, comforts our weary souls, strengthens us for life’s battles and
brings us to a new awareness by allowing His Spirit to touch our hearts and
minds. In our moments with God, we discover the Spiritual strength that comes
when we place our confidence and trust in Him. When we pray, God reminds us of
His Word and provides the wisdom and direction that we need. In prayer we become
comforted and confident that we have a Father who can solve all our problems,
take care of all of our needs; and handle them according to our best interest.
At the minimum, our prayers should be twice a day
(as we rise and as we retire), however, there needs to be some daily time in
which we spend in communication with God, allowing ourselves to be receptive to
His voice. We cannot develop an intimacy with the Father, if we do not spend
time talking and listening to Him. God’s Word tells us to “ Pray without
ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). It is possible to pray anytime and anywhere
(and we should) but the importance of private prayer cannot be over emphasized.
Even Jesus knew that He had to have a secret place to get away to be with His
Father. The type of prayer that takes place in a group (usually in worship
services or public occasions) is known as public or corporate prayer. The goal
in public prayer is to be praying in unity, in one accord, for a common purpose.
The most important factors in any prayer are: readiness of the heart, openness
of the mind and unquestionable faith.
There are many types of
prayers. These are just some examples.
There is the Prayer of Praise or Thanksgiving – this prayer displays
our adoration of who God is and what He has done for us through Jesus Christ.
There is the Prayer of Intercession – this is the prayer we pray asking
God to bless others or act on the behalf of others.
There is the Prayer of Petition –
in this prayer, we ask for God’s blessings upon us and express the desire for
those things that are within His will.
There is the Prayer of Repentance or Forgiveness – in this prayer, we
confess our sins to God, ask for forgiveness in an sincere effort to refrain
from those activities that are sinful and against God’s will.
There is the Prayer of Meditation or Contemplation – this prayer is the
highest form of praise, meditating on the divine nature, excellence, essence and
love of God.
Prayer was very important in the life of Jesus Christ. The
Bible often depicts Jesus in prayer. The prayer that Jesus prays in Matthew
6:9-13 is better known as “The Lord’s Prayer”, is often given as the model
for prayer. In these scriptures, Jesus was not telling his disciples to pray
this prayer word for word, but rather was giving a pattern or a set of
principles by which to pray. We first recognize God for who He is and our
relationship with Him ("Our Father which art in Heaven"). We come into His
presence with praise and worship, recognizing and giving honor to His holiness
(“Hallowed be thy name”). We recognize that God’s will and concerns come
first ('Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven"), We ask
God to meet our needs ("Give us this day, our daily bread"). We confess our sins
and ask for forgiveness ("and forgive us our debts"). We recognize that we cannot
ask God for forgiveness if we fail to do this for others ("as we forgive our
debtors"). We are reminded that when we are in God’s presence we should release
all grudges that we hold against others. We ask for God’s help, strength and
power with the temptations and trials of life; as well as the spiritual battles
that we must face ("and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil").
We leave God’s presence as we entered it, with praise, honor and worship ("For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.")