This past Saturday was the annual LFBC Men’s Retreat. John Franklin came and shared with us about Prayer. If you were there, I can’t imagine that you left unchanged. For those of you who were unable to attend, I would like to share a few of the things we learned.
Prayer requires effort. Now that may sound obvious but think about it. How often do you pray? How hard do you pray? Or how intense is your prayer life? There is an intensity that we must have when seeking God in prayer. Jesus prayed so intensely in the garden that he sweat drops of blood.
Prayer requires a relationship. That’s the way God meant for it to be. We must have a love relationship with Jesus to pray effectively. Like any relationship, if we neglect our love relationship with God our prayer life will suffer. It seems that prayer becomes important when something bad happens. There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying then; but is that the only time we pray?
“Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV).
God will communicate with us depending on our maturity level. To become mature we must be in the Word of God. How often do you spend reading God’s Word? When you read it, are you meditating on it and seeking what He is trying to tell you? Our prayer lives will never be greater than the Word that nourishes us.
The Disciples asked Jesus to teach them only one thing. What did they ask?
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” Luke 11:1 (NIV).
The Disciples had seen Jesus turn water into wine, raise the dead, heal the lame, rebuke evil spirits and preach to the masses. Jesus had even sent them out, giving them the power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and to preach the kingdom of God. With all of this, the only thing they asked Him to teach them was to pray. So how important is prayer?
When we want to learn something, we want to learn it from the best. Who better than Jesus to teach the Disciples and us how to pray?
“You may as soon find a living man that does not breathe, as a living Christian that does not pray.” Matthew Henry
One thing that John shared that really stuck with me is: “You don’t just need to believe God answers prayer, you need to believe he answers you.” Wow. Now that hit me right between the eyes.
“Teach me you way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11 (NIV).
Do you believe that God answers you? It’s hard to communicate with someone you don’t know real well. How well do you know God? How often are you communicating with Him?
When we go to God in prayer what are our motives? Does our requests match our desires? God is truth, so when we approach Him our motive for seeking is the first thing He reads about us. He cuts through the garbage and gets right down to what our desire is. I know that there have been many times I have approached God in prayer and tried to sell Him something. The “Me Monster” thinks he can manipulate God into granting what I want. If we are to grow in prayer and become true “Prayer Warriors”, we must seek Him with a pure heart.
That’s a sign of maturity, seeking God for His desires, not treating Him like Santa Claus or a Genie in a bottle.
Finally, when you pray do you believe it will happen? If not, why?
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 (NIV).
Jesus is on record for saying that whatever we ask in His name, it will be done. Not to “name it and claim it”, to fulfill our selfish desires but to seek His will and His glory.
“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 (NIV).
Prayer, is it an important part of your daily life? Or is it like calling 911, you just use it when you absolutely have to? The only way we can ever begin to understand how important and powerful prayer is, is to purposefully and passionately seek Him.
Pray while you’re running to the cross!