Prayer is a gift of God. It is an open line of communication between Almighty God and His people. Because prayer is from God, to help our relationship with Him, it is called, “a means of grace.” It takes faith to pray, and prayer is an act of worship because those who pray, find God worthy of our communication. It we found God as worthy as He is, we would no doubt pray more. We are encouraged in God’s Word to pray without ceasing, like a continual burnt offering before the Lord.
Prayer is a universal exercise by most, but most prayer is done in ignorance. Prayer recognizes the “Greater Other,” but this is impersonal and motivated by fear. Most men acknowledge they are not God, although they practically act as if they were gods (Gen 3:5). Prayer is an act of submission. It recognizes a certain discord between God and man. It may even use the word “sin” to define the lawless separation.
Vain repetition of rote prayers, done with great formality is common practice, by those who have no personal relationship with God. They think they merit favor through ostentatious displays, or even highly visible displays of great submission. God is not impressed. Religious men are all about externals, but prayer is sourced in the human heart, longing for a love connection.
Ironically, men, blind with sin, often neglect prayer. They breathe God’s air. They eat God’s food. They enjoy God’s sun. They are recipients of great providential care from God. They live the full extent of their lives, and they say little or nothing to their Creator and Sustainer. The reason is that man is at enmity with God. There is a hostility in the human heart toward God. Man easily blames God for the plight of man. God has told man the truth about His condition, but this legal truth only infuriates man’s disposition. As the Psalmist says about unbelievers, they do not call upon the name of the Lord (Ps 14:4).
When a man is converted to Jesus Christ, he becomes a man of prayer. He has entered a personal relationship with the living God, who he now calls, “Abba, Father (Rom 8:15).” This is unique to Christians. We claim God as our Father, and we pray to Him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:17; 1 Cor 1:2). Our prayers are mostly private, but they can be corporate and public, too. The elect, redeemed, regenerate pray.
Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God (Rom 8:9, 11). Therefore, we ever have an internal prompt to speak with our heavenly Father, even as Jesus taught His disciples to pray, what is commonly known as the Lord’s prayer. “Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray (Ps 55:17).” It is the Holy Spirit who aids our prayers, even when we are at a loss for words or the heart to pray (Romans 8:26). We pray in the Spirit, and the Spirit works intercession for us (Rom 8:26–27).
Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5). Men have no access nor communication with God, apart from the One who ever lives to make intercession for us. It is only through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ that the veil of separation between God and man is torn down from top to bottom. Easy access is a grace from God. Peter prayed, “Lord, save me.” Prayer brings us close to God, who is a very present help in our time of need.
Prayer differentiates the babe in Christ from the mature in the faith. The notable people, of faith in the Bible and throughout church history, were identified as people of prayer. The habit of diligent private prayer was the secret to their holiness. It was the power employed against the wiles of the devil and against the besetting sins of these people. They prayed against the world, and they prayed night and day against sin. Prayer and sin will not, at the same time, occupy the same heart. There is a way that prayer consumes sin, and there is a way sin chokes out prayer. The principle is, “do nothing without prayer,” or positively, “take everything to God in prayer.”
The promises of prayer are profound. Jesus said, “Ask anything in my name, and I will do it (Jn 14:13–14).” Pray, believing, and you shall receive it (Mt 21:22). Prayer parted the Red Sea. Prayer brought manna and water in the wilderness. Prayer made the sun stand still. Prayer brought fire from heaven. Prayer healed the sick. Prayer raised the dead. Prayer is powerful.
When men are careless in prayer, a spiritual lethargy overcomes them. Backsliding in the Christian life is rooted in prayerlessness. In days when Christian, public figures are openly disgraced, one can only conclude that lack of prayer long preceded their humiliation. Repent and pray (Acts 8:22).
There is no excuse for prayerlessness. If one is deficient in “know how,” he must only attend a local church prayer meeting, to learn to pray from others. Jesus’ disciples made their request known, “Teach us to pray.” No place is off limits for prayer, both public and private. No time is excluded from a regular regimen of prayer or anytime ejaculatory prayer.
Afflicted? Pray (James 5:13), “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me (Ps 50:15).” Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you (Ps 55:22). Avoid carrying your own burdens, let Him lighten your load. Cast all your cares upon the One who cares for you (1 Pet 5:7). Happiness does not depend on our situation, but it is born and sustained in the heart of a man intimate with the Almighty. Prayer helps us carry our cross. Prayer affords us relief in days of loss. Therefore, we should call upon the Lord, while He is yet near (Isa 55:6). It is imperative that we take our words, and turn to the Lord (Hos 14:1).
Prayer helps us persevere, but we must also persevere in prayer. Never give up. Press on in prayer. He that is spiritual will allot time for prayer, and his state will be clear to those who hear him pray. Formality is merely a front. Be reverent, instead. Be earnest, effectual, fervent, warm, and bold before the Lord. Most of all, have faith in prayer, believing the promises of God. Pray the Bible, not the rosary. Prayer should be our daily business of sacrifice, a sweet savor in the nostrils of God. The prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Love one another, and what says love like a prayer for the blessing of another. Therefore, make intercession, even for your enemies, as a demonstration of love over fear. Love is the motive of the heart of God, therefore, let love and prayers abound. Give me a sign of your love, and prayer will be that sign.
If we are to pray without ceasing, then in everything , by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God (Phil 4:6–7). Prayer brings us peace that passes comprehension.
Why prayer? Our small sample of thoughts on prayer has given us some reasons to pray. First, God has made Himself accessible. Second, God the Son and God the Spirit both work to help us pray. Third, prayer offers remarkable promises. Fourth, prayer is an inspired grace from God’s indwelling Spirit. Fifth, prayer releases us from sin and fear and Satan. Sixth, prayer comforts and encourages us. Seventh, although prayer is not natural to unbelievers, it is the spiritual pulse of believers. Eighth, God hears and answers prayer according to His will, and there is nothing better for us than God’s will and good pleasure toward us. Ninth, prayer is evidence of our conversion. Tenth, prayer is an act of love for others. Eleventh, prayer is obedience, for it is not, “if you pray,” but “when you pray.”
My dear reader, do you pray? This is the crucial question that reveals everything about your spiritual life. Dead men do not pray. Men made alive in Christ live abundant lives of prayer. Prayer is supernatural, evidenced by natural man’s neglect of prayer. Are you a man or woman of prayer, as described here, then, be assured of salvation. God has made you spiritual. You have been born of the Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). Do you call God your Father? Do you pray in the name of Jesus Christ? Have you felt the power of the Spirit, in your prayers? Let prayer be one test, to determine whether you are in Christ Jesus.
As the Anglican bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle once said, “Do not lose heaven for want of asking.” Call upon God in the name of Jesus and make your request known. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you in prayer, as your ever-present help and comfort. Call home to heaven and let them know you are on your way. Call every day. Call throughout the day. God never tires of the prayers of His people when their hearts are filled with love and adoration for Him. Wherever you are right now reading this…call. Whatever time of the day you are reading this…call. Reject formality…just call. God hears you. God listens to you. God will answer you according to His will. I love you, and I am praying for you.
David E. Norczyk
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 1, 2020