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Prayer – Week 5 / January 27th
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying,
Pray. Let petitions and praises shape your
worries into prayers, letting God know
your concerns. Before you know it, a sense
of God’s wholeness, everything coming
together for good, will come and settle you
Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
In our last discussion together we talked about living in God’s Word and how important it is to have the Word of God built into our lives. According to James, when it is implanted in us it will “save our souls.” We neglect it then to our peril! Of equal importance is prayer as it brings us into real fellowship with God by Jesus Christ. Prayer is quite simply conversing with God and its regular practice enables us to stay close to Him and, when we are close to Him, our relationship with Him is placed on a good footing. It is for this reason that John tells us in His first Epistle that we have no fear of the Day of the judgment of believers because, being close to Jesus, we will simply appear before Him physically in the same intimacy with Him that prayer brought us into day by day. He therefore writes, “And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for Him when He appears, ready to receive Him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when He arrives.” (1John 2:28)
You cannot talk intimately with someone if there is something displeasing and hurtful between you and so, in like manner, you cannot talk with Jesus freely if you have sin issues in your life. Real prayer keeps your life clean and pleasing to God. Christianity is about fellowship with God and this fellowship is based on righteousness imputed (given as a gift) and imparted (entrenched in our lives). Again John writes, ‘We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (1John 1:3) For this fellowship to be retained and enjoyed, only by prayer, we must live clean lives.
Our opening quote taken for Philippians teaches us that we are to handle all of life with prayer. The New King James Bible puts it this way, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” We are God’s children and He wants to walk with us, each one, through all of life. There is no issue too big or too small for Him in your life and in fact He delights in your intimacy by prayer with Him. John is right; Christianity is about fellowship with God.
Given the above, our prayer lives should be extremely important to us and we should all give close attention to this. We must make time for God and thus deliberately give structure to our prayer routines. Short little prayer sessions are quite frankly the evidence of immaturity and spiritual weakness. We have been called into prayer fellowship with God and we must therefore embrace this privilege and practice with Joy. After all we are talking to the great King of the universe!! Paul therefore states that we should be unceasing in prayer (1Thesalonians 5:17) and he frequently writes that he has been in prayer “day and night” for the believers in various locations.
Giving structure to our prayer lives means that we grow our times of prayer by constantly adding prayer items to them. This is a lifelong journey and we should embark upon it as quickly as possible. I have done this for decades so that today with much joy I pray for family, people, churches, mission organizations and nations every day. The Lord has added to my list because He has counted me faithful. I share this with you not to brag but to invite you to follow me as I follow Christ. Our prayers then should have what I call “pillars of importance.”
That is, we must build God’s priorities into them. These are:
1. Praying for your government (1Timothy 2:1-4)
2. Praying for Israel (Romans 10:1)
3. Praying for your church (1Thessalonians 1:1-3)
4. Praying for the proclamation of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:18-20)
5. Praying for family…..and,
6. Praying for the will of God to be done on the earth (Matthew 6:9-13)
Once you have put these pillars in place you can build other important issues around them and so embark on your personal prayer adventure. Naturally, correction and thanksgiving must be the “book-ends” of your personal prayer library. The first keeps you in good standing and fellowship with Jesus (1John 1:8-9) and the second honors God for who He is and teaches you to expect prayer answers. He is a “rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:60)
Jesus Himself, the perfect Son of God, spent much time in prayer. (Mark 1:35) It was the power and strength of His ministry. We must do the same and so urgently move away from weak and beggarly concepts of prayer that amount to nothing but nice sweet platitudes. We must come boldly to the throne of grace as people determined to get hold of God. (Hebrews 4:14-16) God is waiting to welcome you into a life of real fellowship with him.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries