Prayer is the Christian’s open line of communication with God the Father, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling Spirit prompts the child of God to call upon the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32; 10:13).
Prayer is an act of worship. It demonstrates that we are in a personal relationship with the living God. Again, it is the Holy Spirit who helps us when we are at a loss for words (Rom 8:23). As with thoughts and spoken words, our prayers can be audible and inaudible. In the same way, they can be public or private.
As with one’s closest friend, the content of prayer can be intimate. Prayer can be seasoned with every human emotion, as shown in the book of Psalms. The Psalms are the God-given prayer book that we can pray verbatim or as a model to follow. Jesus taught His disciples to pray (Lk 11:1–4), and He Himself prayed to the Father (Jn 17).
The form of prayer is helpful, but content is foremost. We must speak the truth in love to God, who is omniscient. To lie to God in prayer is absurd. We worship in Spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23–24). This is especially true with our confessions of sin.
The apostle John assures the repentant believer that if he or she confesses sins that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9). This affords every believer the opportunity to then give thanks to God without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), for the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:19), which takes away our sins and shields us from the just wrath of God against sinners (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10).
Peace with God means blessed communication because enemies only speak malice and threats. Prayer is filled with praises for the One who has done great things, for the benefit of those in relationship to Him. The name of our God is exalted in prayer, and in His name do we trust and declare our allegiance. He alone is worthy because He is Faithful and True (Rev 3:14; 19:11).
With reverence do Christians pray, but also in earnest do we make our petitions known to Him, who is able to do above all we can think or imagine (Eph 3:20). God hears our prayers through the righteousness of Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25). He listens and He answers according to His perfect will.
Prayer does not change God, but God can change our prayers. Immature prayer is selfish, but even as faith and knowledge grow, so our prayers find better alignment with the will of God, revealed as the Word of God. In other words, if you want to pray in alignment with the will of God, read your Bible, then pray with it in hand.
All Christians pray, but elders in churches must be devoted to prayer, even as they are devoted to the ministry of the Word of God (Acts 6:4). It is wise for the church to pray for those who make known the mystery of the Gospel through utterance to us (Eph 6:19), especially if our pastor is imprisoned (James Coates; Edmonton, Alberta; February 2021). When Peter was imprisoned, fervent prayers were made for him and his release (Acts 12:5).
Praying and petitioning at all times in the Spirit, Christians make petitions for the saints (Eph 6:18) and for all men as the Spirit leads (1 Tim 2:1). Godly widows are positioned and prompted to entreat God for themselves and others, night and day, as their hope grows more and more fixed on God (1 Tim 5:5). Again, the Word encourages these saints to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgivings, letting their requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6).
Faith grows by means of prayer (Jude 1:20) and it staves off temptation when demons entice (Mt 26:41; Mk 14:38). Wisdom also increases when prayer is employed to discern the way of the Lord (Jas 1:5). Ask God for your heart’s desire, in the name of Jesus, and He will gladly answer the prayer for more of Jesus, as one’s desire of the heart.
Prayer is for all seasons and every situation. Elijah prayed against the ungodly, wicked, civil authorities and God held back the rain (Jas 5:17). He prayed again 3 ½ years later and relief came from heaven (Jas 5:18). Elijah later lamented that he alone was faithful and serving God under great persecution, and God answered. The man of God was not alone, but that in His sovereign free will and choice, Yahweh preserved 7,000 other Israelites who would not bow the knee to Baal (1 Kgs 19:18; Rom 11:4).
Are you suffering, today? The apostle James would encourage you to pray (Jas 5:13). Are you sick? Pray (Jas 5:14). Are the ruling authorities over you corrupt, wicked, and deceitful? Then, be obedient and pray for those in authority that righteousness would return and reign.
In conclusion, there is much to pray about, which should compel every Christian to pray and not lose hope. We have seen that there are many ways to pray, but our format and content should be biblical.
God’s grace toward His chosen, redeemed, and regenerate people includes His compelling them to pray. We who believe should be quick to pray and without shame. We should delight in our relationship with God and in the communication afforded to us to speak our praise, worship, thanks, and supplication for all things, as prompted by the Spirit, who intercedes for us (Rom 8:26–27). Pray and God will answer as He wills, which is always the best answer to prayer.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 28, 2021