When I discussed Meditation in another blog, the Discipline of Prayer is mentioned a number of times. Prayer is part of the Disciplines of communing with our Lord God. The thing is, Prayer is a learning process. When the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11-1) they were asking Him to help them talk with God better. ? I have taken the liberty of using data gleaned from a Sunday School lesson I did, which drew from Richard Foster’s “Spiritual Disciplines, which I asked for permission to use, but the publisher never responded to my request. I highly recommend his book which has detailed and very useful information.
Getting closer to God
Do we get “closer to God”, when we pray? I believe so. Therefore, when we pray we are set free to question, experiment and sometimes fail in our endeavor to be closer to God in prayer, because we are learning, and always learning. It has only been the last few years that I feel comfortable to pray aloud at a gathering, because I never did so before. Our Lord wants to hear from us, even when we stumble in the process.
I taught an Adult Sunday School lesson on Prayer in 2010. I went back and looked at the files and found that I spent a lot of time on that lesson. I think I will draw from them and have a shorter but meaningful telling about Prayer as it relates to the Disciplines.
Why do we pray?
I personally do not believe that you NEED a reason to pray, but we do have reasons many times. We pray for ourselves, for others, for events to happen or not happen, etc. Our prayers for ourselves could be for a countless number of reasons. I think of depression, loneliness, wanting something, thanking God for something, confessing our sins to God, etc. I really think that having a better personal relationship with God, is the reason you should pray. For one thing, prayer is a form of serving God and obeying Him. Our Holy Bible is full of versus about prayer, and is an excellent source on the subject.
Does God always get back to us?
Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God’s will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own
Gods Will For situations in which we do not know God’s will specifically, prayer is a means of discerning His will. If the Syrian woman with the demon-influenced daughter had not prayed to Christ, her daughter would not have been made whole (Mark 7:26-30). If the blind man outside Jericho had not called out to Christ, he would have remained blind (Luke 18:35-43). God has said that we often go without because we do not ask (James 4:2). In one sense, prayer is like sharing the gospel with people. We do not know who will respond to the message of the gospel until we share it. In the same way, we will never see the results of answered prayer unless we pray. It’s like saying, “You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play the lottery….”.
A Lack of Prayer Do we HAVE to pray? A lack of prayer might mean that this demonstrates a lack of faith and a lack of trust in God’s Word. We pray to demonstrate our faith in God, that He will do as He has promised in His Word and bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope for (Ephesians 3:20). Prayer is our primary means of seeing God work in others’ lives. Because it is our means of “plugging into” God’s power, it is our means of defeating Satan and his army that we are powerless to overcome by ourselves. Therefore, may God find us often before His throne, for we have a high priest in heaven who can identify with all that we go through (Hebrews 4:15-16). We have His promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much (James 5:16-18). May God glorify His name in our lives as we believe in Him enough to come to Him often in prayer. It would be in the best interests to pray instead of not praying, what is there to lose?
Whom are we to pray to—– the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?” When we pray, who do we pray to? All prayer should be directed to our triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that we can pray to one or all three, because all three are one. To the Father we pray with the psalmist, in (Psalm 5:2), “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray” To the Lord Jesus, we pray as to the Father because they are equal. Prayer to one member of the Trinity is prayer to all. Stephen, as he was being martyred, prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).
We are also to pray in the name of Christ. Paul exhorted the Ephesian believers to always give “thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). This really is following y the ELCA guidelines in their belief in prayer.
Jesus assured His disciples that whatever they asked in His name—meaning in His will—would be granted (John 15:16; 16:23).
Similarly, we are told to pray to the Holy Spirit and in His power. The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we do not know how or what to ask for (Romans 8:26; Jude 20).
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps the best way to understand the role of the Trinity in prayer is that we pray to the Father, through (or in the name of) the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. All three are active participants in the believer’s prayer.
The above gives an idea about prayer, but there are other things we could talk about regarding prayer. I shall save the below for another discussion. These are good questions that people ask about prayer and are, I think, important. Let me know what you think about these areas about prayer.
Who NOT to Pray To Perhaps??
Where do we pray?
How to Pray
When should we Pray