Thu | Aug 13, 2020

What is prayer?

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2020 | 8:26 AM

Mothers are often well-known for their ‘power prayers’ that agree with Heaven to shift circumstances in their families. On this Mother’s Day, we bless them for their love and sacrifice! And now more than ever, we want to make sure that our prayers are reaching the heart of our heavenly Father.

As we begin our new series, ‘Prayers that Rock the World’, we will look at what the Word says about prayer and the prayer life of persons who changed the world through prayer. We will also look at how we can develop a powerful prayer life. But before we get there, we have to answer some fundamental questions.

What is prayer?

Prayer is having a heart-to-heart conversation with God. When you talk to God in your unique language style, He listens, then He speaks and you must listen. Your language style of praying is unique to you.

Who should pray and how often?

Everyone should pray. In the Bible, all types of people, from prophets and kings to shepherds and even Jesus, prayed. There is no one too ‘good’ or too ‘bad’ to pray. Jesus’ disciples also understood the importance of prayer and prayed often. Consistency and frequency of prayer is key in maintaining a close relationship with God. In the same way that it is important to converse with loved ones, so it is even more important to stay connected with God through prayer.

The Word teaches us that prayer is powerful and it can change things because it puts you in connection with the source of ultimate power: God. We can experience God’s power when we pray and receive His blessings in our lives, so learning to pray effectively is the key to walking like Jesus walked.

Many of us do not experience God through prayer because of our approach to it.

What are ineffective approaches to prayer?

1. Genie in the Bottle Prayers: ‘Our wish is God’s command’. “God, I want this and that and these and those!”

2. Parachute Prayers: Use only in case of emergencies. “We’re glad the parachute is there, but we hope we’ll never have to use it.” When all else fails, and we’re in big trouble, that’s when we decide to pray. Prayer should be our first choice not our last resort.

3. Sales Pitch Prayers: These are like the requests our children make at bedtime, “I’ll be good if you will let me go to the birthday party.” We negotiate with God in an effort to get what we want.

4. Religious Duty Prayers: “I have to pray. I ought to pray! It’s my duty!” These are boring, routine, empty, meaningless, guilt-trip prayers. When we pray only because we feel that we have to pray, we are in a rut.

These prayers don’t seem to help. In fact, it reveals not only our heart condition, but also that we are not living according to our true identity. And when we live like that, we end up living frustrated and unfulfilled lives.

As we seek to transform our lives and the world through prayer, let’s spend some time this week honestly considering our reasons for praying. Why do we pray? Our ‘why’ often forms the key ingredient in our motivation and our results. When our ‘why’ becomes our passion, we will be more determined and more engaged. This is the reason we need the right ‘why’ to pray. Ordinary people have changed lives, impacted nations and the world through prayer, and so can we! James 5:16 teaches us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”, and those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour have been made righteous through Him. So our prayers can also accomplish much!

Join us next week as we look at some right ‘whys’ to pray that will change our lives.