Notice that “prayer” is listed among the tools available to us as believers that we need to utilize if we want to live victorious Christian lives.
Let me ask you a question? Do you ever feel like your prayers have no power? Do you ever wonder if you even really know how to pray? It is interesting to note that as the disciples travelled with Jesus, they never asked Him to teach them to be great teachers, like He is, or to show them how to perform miracles. However, one thing about Jesus impressed them so much they want to know how to do it. And so in Luke chapter eleven, they ask, "Lord, teach us to pray" (Lk 11:1).
To answer that question, Jesus shares with them what we today call the "Lord's Prayer" or the "Model Prayer." In this prayer, Jesus provides all the principles necessary to have a "Powerful prayer life." I want to look at several things about prayer over the next few weeks, but I want to start the first lesson with a question that we must answer. The question is simple, "why pray?" Well, there are at least four reasons:
-First, praying is a command.
As He introduces the Lord's Prayer in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “After this manner therefore pray ye.” (Mt 6:9a). Is that a suggestion or a command? It is a command! Jesus also gives another command in Matthew 7:7 where he says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
The three key words here are —ask, seek, and knock— and they form an interesting acrostic. A-S-K, Ask! These three words are all imperative mood, meaning they are commands. They are also present tense, which means continuous action. Therefore, that verse could be translated, "Keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking." This command is amplified by what Paul commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where he says, “Pray without ceasing.”
To pray without ceasing means we are always in a spirit of prayer, saying numerous prayers throughout the day as the Lord brings needs to our attention. To obey God's commands to pray, we must make a habit of praying short prayers throughout the day as He reminds us to pray through requests, circumstances, or spiritual impressions.
Whenever and wherever we pray, we must remember Jesus told us not to pray with the motives of the hypocrites who stood in the synagogues and prayed wanting to be seen by men in Matthew chapter six. Instead, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:6 where we should pray when He says, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
When we pray, we should not pray to impress people because the Lord commands us to pray privately or unseen by others. Private prayer enables us to pour out our hearts to God and to listen to Him without distractions. Number one we said that we should pray because praying is a command.
-Second, praying allows God to meet our needs.
In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us how to pray so that God can meet all our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. God chose prayer as the means through which He will meet our needs. The Bible teaches there are some things God promises to give us only if we ask. Some people think, "God knows what I need. I don't have to tell Him. He'll just give it to me when I need it." No, that is not how it works. God gives us some things only if we ask Him, no matter how obvious they are. James 4:2 says, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.”
At this very moment, what are you in need of simply because you have not asked God? Why does God want us to ask Him to meet our needs? God wants us to ask Him to meet our needs because it makes our joy full. It will cause us to be happier with what we have. When good things we don't ask for happen to us, we think it is luck, our own hard work, wise investing, or whatever. However, when good things happen to us because we ask God for them, we experience a completely new dimension of joy. It is not so much what we have but why we have it that brings us joy.
When we ask God for things—a house, car, or better job—and we realize God gives them to us because He loves us, we will have a completely new appreciation for them. Our joy will be full. We said that we should pray because praying is a command, praying allows God to meet our needs, and...
-Third, praying releases God's power in our lives.
God is "omnipotent," which means He is all-powerful. This means His power has no limits and therefore, neither does prayer. Let me ask you a question. With the exception of the Lord Jesus, through whom did God perform more miracles than anyone else in the Bible?
The answer is Moses! The last forty years of his life are filled with miracles. You may remember many of them. Such as the ten plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, etc. God worked His miracles through Moses because Moses met with God in the Tabernacle. The Bible says in Exodus 33:11, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” In the Old Testament, Gods presence filled the Tabernacle and Moses would meet with God there. He had a place where he met with God!
To experience God's mighty power in our lives we also need a tabernacle—a regular place where we can meet God. It can be in our home or office, in a car on the way to work, or wherever we can privately pray. It is then that we can begin to experience what James 5:16 talks about when he says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
We said that we should pray because praying is a command, praying allows God to meet our needs, praying releases God's power in our lives, and...
-Fourth, praying brings immediate rewards.
Although we should ask God to meet our personal needs, such as our daily bread or deliverance from temptation, our prayer time should not be just giving God our personal wish list. One reward of prayer is being able to help others when there is little else we can do. Praying should be a ministry—a way of helping others. We are commanded to bear each other's burdens because this is the way we fulfil the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). A primary way we bear each other's burdens is by praying.
As we pray for others, we will have the immediate reward of knowing we are having a powerful and positive impact on their lives. Prayer also has an immediate reward when we pray for our own needs or problems. Philippians 4:6 commands, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
The very next verse tells us what our immediate reward is for this kind of prayer. It says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Praying allows God to guard our hearts and minds immediately against worry, anxiety, and stress. The peace that exceeds human understanding is one of the greatest rewards of prayer. I don’t know about you but I need the peace of God amen?
We sais, Why pray? Because praying is a command, praying allows God to meet our needs, praying releases God's power in our lives, and praying brings immediate rewards.
As we begin a new year of serving the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, let’s make a commitment to spend time sitting at Jesus' feet, learning how to have a life filled with “powerful prayer."