Prayer In Our Daily Lives
According to God's Word Series
Prayer, speaking to God who is now our Heavenly Father, is an integral part of our relationship with God. How do you have a relationship with anyone if you don't talk with them? If there is no communication between you and God there will be no real relationship. This communication is more than just a cry for help occasionally, it is deeper than that. Let us take a quick look at prayer and how it pertains to our daily life.
The first thing we notice when looking at prayer in the Word of God is that there are different kinds. Just as there are different reasons to communicate with your Dad here on earth: telling him you love and appreciate him, asking for help with something, spending time together on shared interests, and telling on a sibling (yeah it's true), such should be our communication with God, well, except for the telling on the sibling part.
I Timothy 2
:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
God instructs us to pray to Him for all men (and women). God has given us free will and He is not going to overstep that. He will act on the words that we speak; for the words that we speak on lips of believing are power filled. He is telling us to pray and in four different ways: supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks. Supplications are, according to The Companion Bible, a petition for a special object, having regard to our necessity rather than God's sufficiency to supply it: giving prominence to personal need." Prayers, according The Companion Bible, is "in the New Testament it is restricted to prayer offered to God, having regard to the power of Him Who is invoked and giving prominence to personal devotion." Intercession, according The Companion Bible, means "confiding access to God, giving prominence to childlike confidence in prayer" and is used when praying for others with the emphasis on having the personal access to God. And then giving of thanks is giving God thanks, praising Him.
In Philippians 4:6 there is one more communication we are told to do with God, that is "requests".
:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Requests, as defined by The Companion Bible, is "a specific petition for a particular thing." The Greek word for "requests", aitema, is also translated ask, this is asking with authority or demanding. God has given us specific promises in His Word and it is in our right and authority to demand fulfillment. Demand is not used with arrogance or haughtiness; it is in the sense of going to the bank and presenting a withdrawal slip, you are demanding the money from your account and they are obligated to comply. You have every right to the money in your bank account. Well, you have every right to the promises in God's Word.
This teaching will focus on prayer, ". . .prayer offered to God, having regard to the power of Him Who is invoked and giving prominence to personal devotion."
When you look at the prayers that are in the Word of God you will see patterns emerge. In one instance Jesus Christ told us how we are to pray In Matthew 6:5-13, even though this is in the Gospels and before Pentecost, we can learn from this prayer, which man has called "The Lord's Prayer." First of all, when we pray, it is between us and God primarily, we are not supposed to pray calling attention to ourselves, it is our personal relationship with God. Then we are not supposed to use vain or empty, heartless repetitions. Jesus Christ didn't want us to take this prayer and repeat it every Sunday or every day but he specifically said, "after this manner":
:9 After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Let us look at the manner of this prayer. The first words ?Our Father?, starts to lay the foundation as to how we can relate with God. Prior to Jesus Christ, God was not considered a Father. Looking toward God as a father brings Him into a closer familial relationship. Jesus Christ knew firsthand the fatherhood of God. So first of all we can come to God as our Heavenly Father.
"Hallowed by they name" is praise. We are to always praise God, our Father, first in our prayers.
"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" We do not see God's will being done in everyone's lives today. God's will is to have all men saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth. But we can still pray for people to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth (see I Timothy 2:1-8 and Colossians 1:9).
"Give us this day our daily bread" is applicable to the gospel administration but during the grace administration, after Pentecost and the receiving of the holy spirit, God supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). We can thank God for fulfilling His promises in our lives. For our administration we declare the promises of God and thank Him for filling them.
"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Our standing before God is not contingent upon us forgiving others, we are righteous before God because we have made Jesus Christ lord in our lives and believed that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9 & 10). So, what can we learn? This is a heart conditioner; if we are holding animosity towards others it will affect our prayer life. If we are not loving people with the Love of God, who has forgiven all our sins and wiped them out completely, it will make it hard for us to pray with the love of God in our hearts.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Here is a request for deliverance. After we have praised God, spoken His Word, declared the applicable promise then we ask for deliverance which can be mental or physical deliverance.
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Praise and glorify God once again. We need to start our prayers with praise and end with praise.
We are sons and daughters of God; we have access to the throne of grace. We can come to God with confidence and boldness knowing He hears our prayers, supplications, intercessions, requests, and giving of thanks. The greatest example in the Word of God of a man going to God in prayer is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ would rise up a great while before day and pray (Mark 1:35). After Jesus Christ found his disciples and he started healing and delivering people his fame spread quickly and he would be encompassed about with multitudes of people seeking deliverance. Until John the Baptist, Israel had been without a prophet for 400 years. There was much to be done for God's people. To be ready for the work ahead he would need to get up before anyone else and get quite with God so that he could do God's will throughout the day. This is a valuable principle in our daily prayer lives; to wake up and speak with God before the world starts to infiltrate our minds.
Jesus Christ would go to be alone with God on numerous occasions.
:15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him:
and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
Not just multitudes of people but great multitudes. The responsibility could be overwhelming. Prior to selecting the 12 apostles, those that would be trained to lead others when his ministry was finished, he prayed all night (Luke 6:12 & 13). In Matthew 14 and Mark 6 God tells of a day in Jesus Christ's life. Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded by Herod and when Jesus was told this by his disciples he attempted to get away and get alone with God but the multitudes found out and followed him. Instead of getting to spend time with God and be comforted he was moved with compassion and healed the people and taught them. Then he fed the five thousand with their women and children. He was finally able to send the multitudes and the disciples away so he could be alone and pray. That was a very mentally and physically exhausting day. Jesus Christ would get alone to seek solace, guidance and strength from his Heavenly Father. His next day started very early for in the fourth watch, between 3 am and sunrise, the disciples were on a boat and in trouble and Jesus Christ came to them walking on the water.
There are many other records of Christ getting away to pray. His most earnest prayer was prior to him being taken for his crucifixion, he was so distressed his sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Even though he didn't want to go through with it, he knew what was ahead, he wanted to do God's will more than his own. God did something for Jesus Christ to give him the strength and fortitude to go through with it for you and me. Since Jesus Christ paid the price we will not be asked to go through that but in all our situations and circumstances in life God will make a way to escape.
1 Corinthians 10
:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Jesus Christ was able to do what he did because he was tapped into his Heavenly Father. We have the same Father and we are able to do what Christ did and more. In order to be tapped in we need to go to God in prayer often and always.
When you pray you are talking with God and He is listening. We are to come to God with boldness and confidence believing that He hears us and that He will answer our prayers.
I John 5
:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Believe God, take Him at His Word!
:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
God even tells us to be persistent in our prayers to Him. In Luke 18 Jesus Christ tells the followers a parable to drive home the point that they need to pray and not faint. We always need to continually pray for one another.
:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son,
that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you,
and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
"Continuing instant" is the Greek word proskartereo - be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing. This is what God would have us do!
There are two ways to pray according to God's Word, with our understanding and by speaking in tongues.
I Corinthians 14
:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:
I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
Speaking in tongues, praying in the spirit, is for your private prayer life. It edifies you spiritually ( I Cor 14:4, Jude 20), it speaks to God divine secretes (I Cor 14:12), it is speaking the wonderful works of God (Acts 2:11), it magnifies God (Acts 10:46), it is perfect prayer (Romans 8:26, 27), it gives thanks well (I Cor 14:17), it is the spirit bearing witness with our spirit (Romans 8:16), it is evidence that you are a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17), it strengthens us with might in the inner man (Eph 3:16, II Cor 4:16), it is a sign to unbelievers (I Cor 14:22, Mark 16:17) and it is rest to the soul (I Cor 14:21). To learn more about speaking in tongues and how to speak in tongues; Rev. Bob Lindfelt has written a wonderful concise book on the speaking in tongues which is available on the San Diego Biblical Studies Fellowship website.
Prayer with our understanding has been the primary method of prayer for many but, when we feel compelled to pray yet we don't know what to pray for God has given us speaking in tongues:
:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought:
but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
In every day of our lives, praying, talking with God, is a vital part of walking by the spirit. In Ephesians, directly after the great section on putting on the armor of God, we are instructed to:
:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
This is spiritually intense, we are to pray with all prayer and supplication (specific requests) in the spirit, (speaking in tongues) and also watch. The word "perseverance" is the noun form of "continuing instant" in Romans 12:12, it is used only here. With steadfast attention and unremitting care watch, and watch with specific requests for all saints. We are in a spiritual battle, we must walk circumspectly listening to God and praying continually. That is prayer in our daily lives.
To recap, God instructs us to pray with supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks making our requests known to God. When praying with our understanding we are to begin with praise, speak the promise(s) of God, make our request for deliverance, and praise and glorify God. The greatest example of a man who prayed is Jesus Christ, he would rise up a great while before day and oftentimes get alone to pray to be comforted, instructed and strengthened. As a result of his relationship with God (which we can have) he was able to do many signs, miracles, and wonders. We have access to God, Jesus Christ made that available to us so we must come to God with boldness knowing he hears us and answers our prayers. Our prayer life is also two-fold, praying with our understanding and speaking in tongues. When we pray we are to be persistent and with steadfast attention and care, persevere in our prayers for all of God's people in the spirit and with our understanding. That is prayer in our daily lives.
For a more complete study on prayer read In Pleasant Places: The Joy of Prayer by Rev. Ken Petty. Ordering information can be had at the Emmaus Road Bible Fellowship website.