WHAT IS PRAYER?
The greatest privilege a Christian has is the privilege of prayer. Prayer is not only a privilege, but it is also the responsibility of every believer. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). The simple definition of prayer is talking to God, letting our concerns and requests be made known to Him, and listening for His response. When we pray, we admit our need for God and our total dependence on Him. It is only through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we have access to God (1Timothy 2:5). We approach God in Jesus’ name, not our own. Prayer is not intended to be a means of trying to get from God what we want, but rather, a means by which we enable God to give us what He wants. Regarding prayer, Billy Graham said, “Prayer is the rope that pulls God and man together. But it doesn’t pull God down to us; rather it pulls us up to Him.”
We pray because God commands it (2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 18:1). Through prayer, we receive (James 4:2), we experience fullness of joy (John 16:24), and we find help in times of trouble. Prayer is the cure for worry (Philippians 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7) and prayer also helps us to resist temptation (Matthew 26:41).
WHEN ARE WE TO PRAY?
The Bible commands us to, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The Apostle Paul exhorted believers to pray “always with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18).
TYPES OF PRAYER PRAISE AND ADORATION
Through praise and adoration, we acknowledge God’s goodness. When we pray, we enter God’s presence (Matthew 6:9). As we reverence the Lord by communing with Him in prayer, our relationship with Him becomes more intimate and our love more tender.
CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE
Confession and repentance are prerequisites for approaching God. The Bible assures us of forgiveness if we confess our sins to God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
It’s always healthy to remember what God has done for us, and to give Him thanks for it. We’re to thank Him during the good times, as well as the bad times, “giving thanks always for all things…” (Ephesians 5:20). We’re also to make our requests to God “with thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6).
As believers, we are to pray for our own needs, seeking God’s help in our daily affairs. We must never think that our requests are too insignificant or too overwhelming to bring before the Lord. As Christians, we are to prayer about everything, confident that God hears us, cares about us, and acts on our behalf.
Intercession means to pray on the behalf of others (1Timothy 2:1). We’re instructed in Scripture to pray for our family, friends, Christian leaders, country, and whatever else God lays on our hearts.
WHAT IF I DON’T PRAY?
Neglecting to pray is a sin. David said, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). D.L. Moody summarized the necessity of prayer with this observation, “Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.”