Friday, June 28, 2013
Sunday, June 2, 2013
An old standard hymn that is sung in many Baptist churches is: “Just A Little Talk with Jesus,” which was penned by Minister Cleavant Derricks and published in 1937. In this song, the writer is telling his story about being in sin, then being saved or taken in by Jesus and experiencing the light of heaven in his soul. This same light bathed his heart in love. His ‘little’ talk with Jesus made him whole. Scripture tells us that the love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of all believers by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5b). This song is about prayer; just as the writer talked with Jesus, we too can tell Jesus about our troubles and He will hear our faintest cry and answer us. Isaiah 65:24 is a prophetic word to God’s people that assures us of His faithfulness to hear our prayers and answer them: “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” We don’t have to be overwhelmed by the cares of this life; we can cast them on the Lord, because He cares for us more than we know (1 Peter 5:7).
Although, Minister Derricks called prayer ‘having a little talk with Jesus,’ we know there are other definitions for prayer. Let’s examine the Merriam-Webster definition: Prayer is defined as: (1) an address (as a petition) to God (or a god) in word or thought; (2) the act or practice of praying to God (or a god) <kneeling in prayer>.
Those in Christ know prayer as the means to communicate with and offer petitions to God, who is the ‘only One Supreme Creator and Sovereign Lord.’ Jesus made a way through Calvary for us to go the Father and that is through Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son. We can be assured by Scripture that tells us God alone hears and answers our prayers.’ “Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 Mess.)
Here are some important things to know about prayer:
1. Like Jesus’ Disciples, we need to ask the Lord to teach us the manner in which we should pray (being persistent, but not repetitious). Jesus instructed the Disciples to pray – The Model or Lord's Prayer (Mt. 7:7; Luke 11:1b – 4; Matthew 6:9-13);
2. Because, we don't know how to pray as we ought, the Holy Spirit helps us in our [physical] weaknesses and makes intercession for us with deep, inarticulate sounds, which cannot be uttered, according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27);
3. Prayer needs practice therefore, the more we pray, the more able and powerful, we will become in communicating with our Father, hearing His voice and getting results. (Galatians 6:9);
4. Don’t expect God to answer prayers that are not offered from a sincere heart and in [believing] faith. We must pray according to God’s Word. The effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous avail much (produce the best results). (James 5:16b; Hebrews 11:6); and
5. Whenever we approach God’s throne of grace, we are to pray with reverence and expectation (Psalm 95:6). We should expect results from our prayers or if not they are prayed in vain.
In Ephesians, Chapter 6, prayer is mentioned as a weapon of God's Armor, which empowers us to wage war against the devil. God wants us to be thoroughly equipped and able to stand against the wiles of the devil therefore; we are to PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD DAILY.
- WHICH way are we to use this weapon of prayer? We are exhorted to provide a spiritual covering by “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for ALL saints.” (v. 18 KJV)
- WHO should we pray for? We should pray for everyone and especially for those who are of the household of faith. We are also to pray for one for another to receive healing, when there is illness (Galatians 6:10; James 5:16a). Although, it can be painful, we are also to pray for those who express malice or hatred toward us and intend us harm (Matthew 5:44). The best thing you can do behind someone’s back is pray for them.
- WHERE should we go to pray? Instead of being like the Biblical hypocrites, who liked to be seen when they prayed, we should enter our closet and pray to God in secret. (Matthew 6:5-6)
- HOW often are we to pray? We are to pray without ceasing but surely, not on our knees for 24 hours per day. Instead, we are to maintain a prayerful attitude (offering prayers from the altar of our hearts) and focus on God by practicing His presence wherever and whenever we can. For those in the workplace, taking a ‘prayer and praise’ break will provide God’s peace and freedom from excess stress or things that cause it! Daily protection and power require sincere daily prayer (i.e. ‘Watch and pray, so you won't enter into temptation’) (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Matthews 26:41 KJV).
I’d like to leave with you with an important reminder: Let's remember that prayer is personal, an awesome privilege, and should be practiced daily (and throughout each day). We have the God-given opportunity to come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). We are not to come to Him with only our petitions, but we should also come with praise, worship, and adoration as we let Him know how much we love Him. There is nothing better than spending quality time with the one you love and being able to express that love. We can express our love to God any time through simple and sincere prayer.