Prayer is the main foundation of the Christian faith. All Christians pray. First, before we start the discussion on prayer, let us look at the definition of prayer. After we have defined prayer, we will also talk about the importance/reasons of praying and about God answering our prayers.
What exactly is prayer? Prayer is a form of communication that brings the creation to the creator. Prayer is like talking to God and telling Him what you need or how you feel. Someone once said this about prayer and I quote. “Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.”
Understanding the Importance/Reasons of Praying
Now that we have defined prayer, let us look at the importance and the reasons why we should pray.
Why do we pray? Why is it important that we pray?
Simply because Jesus Himself modelled it for us and he instructed us to do so. Let us first look at the most famous prayer of the Bible – The Lord’s Prayer and also a few other examples.
“Our father who art in heaven hallowed by Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Matt 6:9-13)
Example 1 – “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place and was praying there.” Mark 1:35 (Jesus often took time out to be alone with the Father in prayer. If Jesus the Son of God does that, how much more do we, as mere mortal ought to do the same?)
Example 2 – “Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you” (Matt 7:7)
Example 3 – “Until now you have not ask anything in my name. Ask and your joy will be made full” (John 16:24)
Example 4 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and
petition with thanksgiving present your request to God” (Philippians 4:6)
Understanding Prayer – The Hows and the Whats.
Now we have seen the various examples from the Bible about why we should pray. Let us look deeper into the Lord’s Prayer as our model to understand how we should pray and what we should ask for.
First step in prayer is the acknowledgment of God our Father – “Our father who art in heaven hallowed by Thy name”. We recognise our identity as God’s Children and address Him as our Abba Father. Prayer is an act of humility and faith. We pray because we know that God is able to provide for our needs and is able to help us when things are beyond our control. It is the acknowledgment of our dependence for God and we need faith to believe that whatever we ask for in prayer we will receive it. Prayer is not for the proud, for they believe they are able to handle it on their own and refuse to seek help from the only sovereign and Holy One. God is the one who created the world that we live in, don’t you think He has all the wisdom, capability and the solution to all our problems?
Second step in prayer is seeking the Lord’s will and its fulfilment – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Third step in prayer is seeking the Lord for our daily provision – “Give us this day our daily bread”. Notice the Lord uses the word “Daily”. It means that we are to seek him every day for new provision of grace and strength. We are not to depend on yesterday’s grace. The Bible says, “The Lord’s loving kindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 2:22-23)
Forth step in prayer is seeking for forgiveness for ourselves and those who have hurt us – “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. It is important that we seek forgiveness for our sins as well as seek to forgive those have hurt us, as un-forgiveness will hinder our prayers from being answered. The Bible says in James 5: 16 – “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. “
Fifth step in prayer is seeking the Lord to guide us away from temptation and for the deliverance from the enemy – “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. This is very crucial because the bible gives us this warning of Satan, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Sixth and final step in prayer is to praise the Lord, “For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever”. One of the examples I’ve quoted earlier from the bible is this “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving presenting your request to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
The above is only an example and not a format to prayer. There is no hard and fast rule how we should pray, but the Lord’s Prayer is a model for all of us to follow.
Now we have looked at The Lord’s Prayer and have understood better how we should go about praying. We will now discuss one of the most talked about topic – Does God answers all prayers? Does He or doesn’t He?
So does God answer all prayers? Does He or doesn’t He?
I personally believe that He does. God answer prayers in 3 ways, “Yes,” “No” and “Wait”.
When God says “Yes”, that is a pretty straightforward answer and a sign of approval that God is giving you the go ahead light to do as you wish or is giving you something that you were seeking for.
When God says “No”, that is a denial. Most of us cannot accept “NO” as an answer but the fact that God says “NO” is already an answer and the answer is simply “NO”. Earlier in the blog, I mentioned that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. But if God does not answer you, does that mean you are not righteous? Of course not. God is not a mean or stingy Father who will withhold things from His children. The Bible says in Matt 7:7-11 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him”.
Sometimes it may not be a bad thing when God tells you “No” it could be that God has prepared something better than what you were asking for. Imagine if God said “Yes” to all our selfish requests, the world would be in much havoc.
And finally, God sometimes says “Wait” and that refers to “Delay”. Most of us don’t like to wait because we have no idea how long the waiting is going to take us. But that waiting part is the testing of our faith. In the beginning of my blog I quoted this, “Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door. One thing to be thankful of is that at least God didn’t say “NO”, He is only telling you to wait, that means it will eventually take place, but in His time and not ours. That’s why in the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to seek the Lord’s will – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Seeking God’s will, includes trusting in His perfect timing to do as He says.
In conclusion, pray because –
1) Jesus modelled for us to do so
2) Jesus instructed us to do so
3) It is God’s desire to bless us when we pray
4) It is our privilege as God’s children to seek Him and request for things
5) God hears and answers them
God bless you!
Serving with you in His Kingdom with love;
Princess Michelle –
Beloved Daughter of the Most High King