What is Prayer? (Part 2)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

“He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Human beings are spirit beings—infused with the breath of the Living God Jehovah, to keep us in constant touch with our Maker. It means that God is accessible to each and every one. We only have to tune our radio sets to God’s wavelength to stay connected. That connection is through prayer and through the reading and meditation of His word. 

It is important to underline that God is our Father and we must treat Him as such. Our Lord Jesus taught us to pray saying; “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:8) So when we come to Him, we must approach Him with reverence but not in fear. The Bible teaches that there is no love where fear is present. “But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18) We must come to Him knowing that he is a loving Father and that because He loves us He has our best interests at heart. God is looking for every opportunity to bless us if only we would ask with the right motives. “No good thing will He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11) Do not exclude yourself from God’s children; we all qualify when we reach out to Him.

The Bible outlines a number of attitudes that we must cultivate, others to discard. Prayer is not like going shopping.

By way of advice, do not come to God with a long list of ‘like-to-have’; as if you were going to the supermarket. God is not an ATM machine either when you punch a code and money gushes out. “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8) I have learnt that the more we worship Him, the more we seek to knit a closer relationship with Him, the more our needs will be met. “Put the kingdom of God first and all these things will come after.” (Matthew 6:33) 

Asking God to endorse our petty projects.

Much of what we embark on in life ought to come from God for guaranteed success – not the other way round. However, we find ourselves executing our own plans and projects and only asking God, as a second thought, to bless them. This is nothing short of giving instructions to God to endorse our personal endeavours. His opinion was never sought in the first instance. Except God takes centre stage in our lives our enterprises are doomed to fail. In matters we deem ourselves apt to handle, God will only watch in our false belief that we do not need His counsel. Nothing is too little for God to handle. Remember He knows the end from the beginning. “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come.” (Isaiah 46:10)  

Prayer is not a time for complaints and murmuring.

Needless to say that we must watch very closely the content of our prayers to ensure we are not complaining or murmuring about something or the other to God when we should be praising and thanking Him for the manifold blessings He has bestowed on us. Very often, we are looking at our circumstances rather than looking up to God. Let constant praise be on our lips in spite of what we may be experiencing.

When we learn to appreciate the little we have then we will cease focussing on what we do not have. A man had been pleading to God for a pair of shoes until one day he met a man who had no feet. He rested his case. Our circumstances are always better than someone somewhere, so let us cultivate a sense of praise and thanksgiving.  In the worst case, we should just handover our troubles to God and watch him go to work. Do not ever pray a negative prayer rather pray that God may bring your enemies to the knowledge of the truth and that they may receive salvation.

Prayer is not about vain repetitions.

Prayer is communication with God. When we do all the talking or constantly repeat the same things over and over and over again it is as if God has not heard us or that He is limited. Jesus calls it vain repetitions; they bore God. After a time you just babble the words as if you are in the automatic mode. The words lose their meaning. “But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7 King James) It is time to change our song and talk to the Father. Vary the language! Pray from the heart; just literally empty ourselves to Him – but not in a murmuring mood. 

Prayer is personal

Pray in secret. We should not boast about how often we pray or how long we pray. Prayer is between us and our Maker. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they receive their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6) These are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Make prayer a lifestyle!

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye