Prayer

Prayer is simply talking to God. It is not supposed to be ritualistic (e.g. saying the "Lord's Prayer" or the "prayer of Jabez"). The Lord's Prayer was a model that Jesus gave us, an example to follow, and was never intended to be repeated like some mantra or incantation. This is idolatry and unscriptural. Jesus said, "when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them" (Matthew 6:7). The Bible says to pray continually/pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) but it is not to be with "vain repetition" (Matthew 6:7).

If you are like me, your prayer life is inconsistent and mostly when you want or need something. However, Jesus said it's more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35), and we should be praying for others (Ephesians 6:18) more than we pray for ourselves.

An interesting analogy is the one that Akiane Kramarik painted called "Power of Prayer." Chick here to see the painting on her website, a new tab will open. In her description, she writes:

"...The birds in this painting represent prayers. The power of prayer is direction, humbleness, sincerity, and faith. These birds just like the prayers seeking God are flying towards the light. Some birds are focused on their destination, some are distracted, others are playfully soaring, while still others are disappointed and returning back. Once in flight the birds will have to listen to God's quiet voice where to find him. If they are anxious and angry, they will crash against the steep mountains. If they lack faith, they will drown in the river. If they fly just for fun or vain curiosity, they will not hear the spiritual warnings and fly into each other. If they fly just to show off, they will be the first to burn up by the most intense God's energy. Unless they are humble and trusting, they will not be accepted by the light. The force of the fastest and most dedicated prayers is melting the snow off the mountains and cliffs. The more prayers, the more power. The snow in this particular painting represents confusion, hardship and unhappiness. Half of the ridges are almost free of snow, and as the birds come closer to the light, all of the landscape is becoming full of summer waterfalls and flowers." -Akiane

I believe there is a lot of truth to this illustration - Namely that not all prayers reach God which is Biblical (e.g. Isaiah 59:2) and the more humble and trusting prayers, the more power! (Psalms 55:17, Psalms 145:18, Matthew 21:22, Mark 9:29, Mark 11:24, Luke 18:1, John 16:23-27, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:16-18, I John 3:22, I John 5:14-15, and others).

Geoge Mueller, a famous English evangelist in the 1800's who started 117 schools which educated over 120,000 young people and orphans, said in a booklet entitled "Soul Nourishment First" that for the past 14 years he changed the way he prayed. I believe there is a powerful truth to what he says and that this will help you in your prayer. He said that formerly, when he rose, he "began to pray as soon as possible" but his mind would wander and he says "I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour, on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc..." He then goes on to say "Now I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, while meditating on it, my heart might be brought into experiential communion with the Lord." He goes on to explain that the Word of God is our "food for the inner man" and that it must be considered, pondered, and applied to our hearts, not simple read so that it passes through our minds like water through a pipe. He says of this meditation, "after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for a while making confession or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it, but still continually keeping before me that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and then my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened..."

English pastor and writer W. Graham Scroggie wrote, "In the Bible God speaks to us, and in prayer we speak to God." This is true, however God also speaks to us in our prayer if we are in tune with Him and listen to Him. It would be similar to finding a radio station. Most people have static but with a relationship with the Holy Spirit, we can move the tuner to different frequencies. There are a lot of voices and God's is a small still voice, one of those stations that only comes in on one specific frequency. It needs to be listened to in a quiet place. In the same way we can be tuned in to the Holy Spirit and hear from Him regarding our lives and everything we do.

I highly recommend George Mueller's method of meditation and prayer. Spend what time you can in the morning and do not let it become a burden, it is supposed to be refreshing! If it becomes a burden, you need to make some changes to make it more enjoyable.

Click here to read Edward M. Bounds' classic book Power Through Prayer


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