The first mention of prayer in the Bible is Genesis 4:26b “…then began men to call on the name of the Lord.” God loves us so much He sent His Son to save us from our sins (John 3:16). He loves to hear from us and wants us to talk to Him on a regular basis. Some people say they’ve given up on prayer because they never get an answer. I beg to differ. He always answers, but sometimes the answer is “No” or “Wait.” (note, all emphasis mine).
James 4:2b-3 “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
He’s not Santa Claus as prosperity preachers would have you believe. They quote numerous verses that are taken out of context and without going on to complete the actual message the Father wants us to have.
In John 14:13-14, Jesus says to ask anything of Him and He will do it. However, going on to verse 15, “If you love me, you will keep My commandments.” James 4:2 above is usually given without verse 3. Anything asked for selfish reasons or that will cause harm to others will be denied. Any good parent would respond to their child the same way, and God is the absolute best Father of all.
Jesus gave the best example of prayer by always deferring to the Father for His needs. In John 17, His prayer is very personal and intimate as He asks to be glorified through His death, which was the plan from the very beginning. He prays for His disciples and ALL believers, which means you and me. Knowing how much He loves us and was willing to die a horrible death for us gives a new perspective in wanting to talk to Him, thank Him for His gift, and to just let Him know what’s on our minds. He truly is interested, and He’s never too busy to listen.
He wants us to keep His commandments, which some organized religions add a whole lot to. There are two: Love God; Love Each Other (Matthew 22:36-40 paraphrased). These two incorporate all 10 commandments given by the Father to Moses.
At Gethsemane, Jesus showed a real troubled spirit when He asked if possible the cup could be passed from Him (Matthew 26:39-42). Thing is, although He was fully God and fully man, the human side would’ve been concerned about how He knew He would have to suffer. I do not believe this is what caused His greatest dread though. He knew that, for the first time ever, He would be separated from the Trinity if only for a brief moment. But overall, He still deferred totally to the Father by saying, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.”
Jesus showed that, even though we face trials, it isn’t a problem letting the Father know how we feel.
By the way, for that brief time the Father had to turn away from the Son, Jesus felt what it was going to be like for all who are thrown into the Lake of Fire at the White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Biggest difference is, He experienced it for but a moment; however, all the lost will be there forever. Again, that makes His sacrifice all the more valuable for us.
God knows what we need, but wants us to ask Him for those needs anyway. He does not guarantee taking care of our “Greeds.” By the way, He is not an ATM who always gives an immediate response. His timing is different than ours; and sometimes His answer is to prayer is “wait.”
Do not try to impress the Father with “religious” or “flowery” prayer. He is your Father, so talk to Him as you would your parent – with respect, but personal. After a period of time, this will become second nature. Remember, He has already seen what you are doing or have done. Be truthful. If you will start out by just taking to Him for 5 minutes a day, eventually you will find yourself talking more and more, if only in your mind.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:5-7 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, so they may be seen by all. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”
Don’t worry about where you are or even if you get the words right. He loves all of us and really wants us to form a relationship with Him. You don’t even have to speak out loud. Just concentrate on what you would like for your message to be, and He will hear you. Always ask for divine wisdom, and don’t make any promises you don’t plan on keeping.
Psalm 4:3 says “…but know the lord has set apart the Godly man for Himself. The lord hears when I call Him.”
As I said earlier, the more we talk to Him, the easier it gets. That even goes when we must confess our sins. No, He’s not happy we have sinned, but He knows we are weak by nature and will sin as long as we are on this earth. He has given us a pathway for forgiveness, and it’s found in 1 John 1:8-10. A true believer will have a “conscience” problem until we confess to the Father – we get relief by opening up to Him.
Always remember to thank God for Jesus. After all, it was our Savior who gave us the right to approach the Father through His sacrifice. Also, thank Him for sending the Holy Spirit to be our protector and conscience. Without Him, we would be at the total mercy of the evil one.
We are in troubling times, and major changes are about to happen. It will only get worse rather than better. Don’t you really want the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth to be on your side?
We also pray and ask all our petitions “in the name of Jesus.” He bought and paid for our right to do so at Calvary with His own precious blood.
Two passages in closing:
Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless you and protect you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and to be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”