The Importance Of Prayer
The very thought of prayer reveals a submission to the Lord. The existence of prayer shows that you realize your inability to change circumstances in this life. If you do not pray regularly, what message does that send to yourself and to God? A man or woman who does not pray is implying to the world that they have no need for help from the Lord. We all need the Lord greatly in our lives. Prayer is one of the ways our inner man gains spiritual strength. We gain spiritual strength through prayer, worship, reading/studying Gods word, and fellowship with other Christians. Life, with all of it’s uncertainty and ability to vex every child of God, has a way of adversely effecting us by tearing us down and tries to bring us into it’s bondage and woe. However, prayer is the means by which we can “Cast our Cares on Him; for He cares for us!” Prayer is precious in the eyes of God. God longs to hear from you and I.
There are many men and women of God who were used of God in great and mighty ways. The secret was their commitment and dedication to prayer.
1. Daniel was a man of prayer. Prayer was the one thing that got Daniel thrown in the den of Lions to begin with.
2. Hannah is probably one of the best examples of an intercessor. I Samuel 1.
3. Elijah was also a man who prayed earnestly. His communion with God through prayer caused him to be directed away from those who sought his life.
4. Moses was a man who continually communed with God. He was continually going up to the mountain of God to be in God’s presence and to find direction on how to lead God’s people.
5. Anna who served God with fasting’s and prayers night and day. Luke 2:36-38
6. Jesus is the best example of how we should model our prayer life. Verse after verse we find where Jesus went “oft times to pray.” The mount of Olives was a “prayer ground” for Jesus.
There are many others in the Bible who are great examples of people of prayer, but the importance of this section in discipleship is learning how to pray. We have already experienced the reality of having God answer our prayers, but there is definitely a necessity to understand what causes God to hear or not hear and answer our prayers.
The Accomplishments Of Prayer
If we expect to accomplish anything for God in the world, whether it’s seeing our lost people saved, healed or delivered, we need to learn how to pray effectively.
• Our communication with the Father.
• One of our sources of spiritual strength.
• One of the ways we enter into communion/presence with God.
• Not just a selfish “want list” or a “laundry list.”
Things that prayer has done throughout scripture:
• Brought deliverance to an entire nation. Exodus 3:7
• Closed the windows of Heaven causing the rain to stop. James 5:17
• Opened the windows of Heaven causing the rain to return.. James 5:18
• Turned to flight, the enemies of Israel. Hebrews 11
• Brought direction for the Apostles Acts 13:1-3
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. Luke 11:1
I believe the same thing applies today. We need to learn how to pray. We need to be taught how to pray effectively.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:5-8
The Hindrances To Prayer
• Sin will destroy your prayer life John 9:31 Isaiah 1:15, 59:2, Psalm 66:18
• Unbelief James 1:5-7, Hebrews 11:6
• Praying out of the Will of God I John 5:14
• Praying selfishly James 4:3
• Fellowship with your spouse I Peter 3:7
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16.
Effectual Successful in producing a desired or intended result; effective, with faith.
Fervent Having or displaying a passionate intensity. Sincere, heartfelt, hot glowing, burning.
Righteous Right with God. Just. Aligned with God’s word and ways.
Relationship comes before benefits
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 1 John 5:14-15
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:7
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:7-12
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 John 3:19-24
The majority of the time, the reason why we don’t have answers to our prayers is because our fellowship with God is broken. Once our fellowship is broken, the only prayer God has promised to answer is the prayer of repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14, Luke 18:13, 1 John 1:9.
According to the verses above, there are four main things that are conditions to answers to prayer:
1. Walking in obedience John 15:7, 1 John 3:19-24
2. Praying in faith Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24
3. Praying according to God’s will 1 John 5:14-15
4. Asking in the name of Jesus John 14:13-14, 15:16, 16:23-28, Acts 3:6, 4:10
God so wants to answer prayer for us. It’s a matter of honor and glory on the part of Jesus: …that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
It’s also a sign to unbelievers that Jesus is the Way!
Prayer of Hezekiah Isaiah 37:14-20, 2 Kings 19:14-19
Thy Closet…The Place Where We Change!
Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret… Matthew 6:6
Have you ever considered much what Jesus was referring to when He said enter into thy closet? Everyone of us have closets in our homes. Closets are a place where clothes are hung awaiting a person to put them on. The closet has come to represent the place where we CHANGE! Yes, a person can enter their closet, shut the door, and change clothes, but Jesus said to enter into our closet to pray.
There are some things interesting about the closet. Once you shut the door, you have shut out everything else in the world. In this place, there are no distractions. There is nothing to hinder. So many times we want to pray while we are doing something else. Jesus said when ye pray, enter into thy closet. Now, I’ll be the first to say that God does not expect you to not pray unless your in your prayer closet, but He does expect us to find a place to pray. We must understand that when we pray the way God wants us to pray, then all other distractions are laid aside.
The Closet Atmosphere
Once we find ourselves in a solitary place to pray, we can start to pour our hearts out to the Lord.
In the end, I have found there are three types of prayer:
1. Praying to obtain promises
2. Intercessory prayer
3. Communing with God