Prayer … Take it Seriously!

Fervent, focused prayer; seriously, is there anything more difficult? To go into a room and close the door and pray to the Father who is unseen sounds simple and blessedly rewarding enough, yet I find that it all too often takes more effort and skill to stay on task than I apparently possess. Something tells me I am not alone in this. Indeed, the disciples wanted the Lord Jesus to teach them the secret of His connection with His Father after observing Him model prayer.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

Our Lord was constantly praying–He could be found both rising early as well as praying through the night. He certainly prayed prior to or at every major event of His life–His baptism, His choosing of the disciples, in the garden prior to His betrayal, and even on the cross–setting forth for us an example that we would all do well to follow. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:

Pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

James wrote:

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

It is God’s desire for us to have continual communication with Him in the midst of our daily living.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
-Matthew 6:6

In our verses for today, Jesus was telling His disciples how they would stay in touch with Him after His soon to be departure. They would derive power from Him through prayer after He left to go to His Father’s side. They would send forth their prayers and Jesus would communicate to them by the Spirit.

The Bible tells us that that Jesus is our great High Priest who sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us:

But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:24-25)

“Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of frontline forces and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider. The one who gives the power gets the glory. Thus, prayer safeguards the supremacy of God in missions while linking us with endless grace for every need.” -John Piper

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Take It to Heart

Here are a few tips that I have found beneficial in my prayer life and they may be helpful to you! I find that there are many ways to offer prayer and all are necessary and important.

First of all, it is essential to have a time alone with the Lord, pouring out our inmost thoughts and concerns. It is simply a matter of letting Him know of our deepest heart matters.

It is also important to pray with others. I find it helpful to pray with someone as soon as I receive a request from another or desire a request myself. This keeps me from forgetting to pray as well as giving me the privilege of corporate prayer. Again, Jesus tells us in God’s Word:

“I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

At other times I simply pray throughout the day as thoughts come to me. Perhaps it is to praise Him or thank Him, perhaps He brings someone to mind for me to pray for. I seek to respond quickly to this, though sadly I often fail. I am sure that I neither praise nor thank the Father a fraction of what He is due.

King David proclaims:

“The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer but unoffered prayer.” -F. B. Meyer

My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145:21)

I also seek to pray God’s Word back to Him. He is always faithful to His promises. Hiding His Word in my heart helps keep it always at hand. Scripture is full of promises to pray for ourselves and for our families.

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.” -John Bunyan

Remember to thank God for His answers. Unfortunately, it is easy to take things for granted. God enjoys it when we are thankful for what He gives us.

Journaling your prayer requests is an easy way to keep up and remember all the ways that God is answering your requests and also to record all of the things you are thankful for.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)