My parents instilled a habit of prayer. I made it religious. I diluted what it was to a mere ritual, something that I ought to do because I claimed to be a believer. Have you done the same?
Maybe it is because we didn’t understand prayer. Maybe it’s because we prayed and our prayers weren’t answered. I don’t know where but somewhere along my upbringing, prayer just didn’t seem so important.
Thank God for His Word.
Last week we noted that prayer was the key to the success in the ministry of Jesus. He was constantly communicating with His Father. He demonstrated a life of prayer to His disciples. Jesus also taught us how we shouldn’t pray.
As I read the Gospel and study the ministry of Jesus, I noticed that praying wasn’t just a topic that He spoke about; It was what He actively did. Prayer was forever present in His life.
It is not a surprise, then, that prayer is the one thing that the Bible tells us to do “without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
One of the pillars of the Christian faith is living a life of prayer. Without it we do not grow, we do not know, and we do not actively participate in relationship with God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit.
In the great book of Acts we see the church growing in knowledge of Christ, flowing in signs and wonders, preaching prophetically, and seeking the Holy Spirit. Why? It is because they prayed.
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
If you find yourself lacking boldness to speak the word of God, I would encourage you to evaluate your prayer life. How do you know your prayers lead to boldness?
Here is an example of bold prayer:
In this passage we see Jesus about to execute one of His greatest miracles during His ministry, which is raising a man, Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, from the tomb in front of dozens of witnesses.
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
His prayer is one of thanksgiving. He never even mentions Lazarus in this short, public, prayer.
Why? Wouldn’t such a situation call for a long, powerful prayer?
If I were in that position, I would have pleaded with God to hear me out because this situation was heavy. I would have asked God to let Lazarus’ heart beat again. I would have asked that He allow blood to flow through Lazarus’ veins again. I would have informed God that everyone was sad and that if He would raise Lazarus up from the tomb, that He would get all of the credit.
My prayer would have definitely been longer than Jesus’ prayer.
I believe that we associate the power of something to how long it takes. We often feel that when we pray intensely for something that God is moved by our commitment to praying for it.
It doesn’t work that way with God.
Now, I’m not saying the intercessory prayer does not work. It certainly does. And there are times when it shows us just how faithful or faithless we are. Even Jesus Himself, being led into the wilderness, fasted and prayed for 40 days.
What you need to understand is that God knows your motives and the reasons behind your choice of words. When Jesus prayed the way He prayed, everyone witnessed the power of the One granting the prayer request. It wasn’t the prayer in and of itself that raised Lazarus, but rather, it was a miracle orchestrated by God to show His glory.
Don’t make prayer about you. Make it about Him. The Bible clearly states that if “we ask anything according to His will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
Even then, knowing what His will is gives you the upmost confidence in praying because you know that He hears you.
So here is the takeaway: Privately, your prayers should be long, intimate, and personal. They should contain the outpouring of the worship He so rightfully deserves. Those private prayers should be your time to listen for His will over you life. These are the best moments to ask your Heavenly Father for the things you need most. Think Matthew 6.
Publically, your prayers should be short and concise. It should always be about Him. He gets the glory. One of His most powerful prayers was at the tomb of Lazarus. A man was dead for four days walked out of his own tomb because of a faith-filled prayer.
The shorter we pray the more we make it about Him. We give Him the glory.
I do not know what you are going through, but I would encourage you to lead yourself into your prayer place and just pray. It doesn’t matter where it is. Just get away and pray.
Also, I am here to help you pray, so please let me know in the comment section below what it is I can help you pray for. No prayer request is too small or too big. God cares for you.
Have the upmost confidence that He hears you. God bless!