What is prayer? Well, a simple answer is that prayer is the language of faith. Jesus words in Matthew 7:7-8 seem to suggest this. Here Jesus said:
7“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
With that in mind my hope is these lines will encourage us all to greater faithfulness in prayer.
The Gospels clearly portray Jesus faithfulness in prayer. He both modeled prayer (Luke 11:1) and taught a model for prayer (Matthew 6:9-15). Knowing the human tendencies of hypocrisy and feelings of self-sufficiency, he warned about proper attitudes in prayer (Matthew 6:5-8).
With respect to the practice of prayer, a little acrostic has helped me a lot through the years. I dont have any idea who originated this. Thinking a praying in these categories has proved beneficial, when comes bringing balance and focus to my prayers. Many of you will recognize this as the ACTS of prayer:
A doration: Psalm 112; 117; Matthew 6:9; and 11:25ff.
C onfession: Matthew 6:12; Luke 18:13; and 1 John 1:5ff.
T hanksgiving: 1 Thessalonians 5:18; and Philippians 4:6.
S upplication: Intercessory- 1 Timothy 2:1ff; and Personal- Philippians 4:6-7.
Probably the most import thing for me to keep in mind is the fact that faithfulness in prayer is a very personal matter. Keeping my heart in tune with God remains the most important factor. It remains true that the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (James 5:16, NLT). It is far more important to be a person of prayer than it is to be familiar with and follow a formulaic list of correct prayer-practices. A person of prayer is one who approaches God
In fear (with respect)- Psalm 145:17-20; and Psalm 115:12-13.
In faith- James 5:6 and 5:15.
In humility- James 4:6 (Proverbs 3:34); and 2 Chronicles 7:14.
With ones whole heart- Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 21:21; and James 1:5-7.
With selflessness- Luke 18:9-14 and James 4:3.
With forgiving spirit- Matthew 6:14-15; and Ephesians 4:32.
With confidence- Hebrews 2:18; 4:16-17; and 10:19, 35.
With persistence- Luke 18:1-7; and 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
With sincerity and simplicity- Matthew 6:5-8 and Mark 12:38-40.
In accord with Gods will- Matthew 26:42 and 1 John 5:14.
With a heart for obedience to Gods will- 1 John 3:22.
Someone has said that the power of prayer is in praying. I believe I understand and agree with the sentiment behind this statement. Only those who pray earnestly ever experience the awesome efficacy of prayer. However, the true power of prayer is wrapped up in the reality that God hears and answers our prayers. That really is incredible, isnt it? The Creator of the Cosmos, the Sustainer of all that exists, hears and answers our prayers. This is the ultimate encouragement to faithfulness in prayer. We can have complete confidence in this reality. To help us keep this in perspective we must remember the following:
Sometimes God chooses to delay His answer, Luke 18:1-7.
Sometimes God lavishes us more abundantly than we ask, 1 Kings 18:24, 36-38; and 1 Kings 3:10ff.
Sometimes God grants us a different, a better response the we seek, 1 Kings 19:1-9; and 2 Cor. 12:7-9.
Sometimes, since God loves us and has our best interest in mind, God simply says No to our requests, 2 Samuel 12:15-20.
Sometimes God responds immediately in the affirmative to our prayers, Numbers 14:30; 1 Kings 17:20-21; and Acts 12:5ff.
Hopefully, this little article will encourage you to greater faithfulness in prayers. Remember, seven days without prayers makes one weak! Believe and you will receive. Doubt and do without.