The Necessity of Prayer
During the last week in two different groups discussing prayer, in each gathering some member make a statement about the fact that prayer is a necessity for a Christian. Other comments were added in agreement with this idea. The realization that many Christians place minor importance to their responsibility to pray was emphasized. The groups stressed the reality of the urgency for God’s people to pray.
The words of James Montgomery depict prayer vividly: “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Unuttered or expressed, The motion of a hidden fire That trembles in the breast” and, “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath, The Christian’s native air, The watchword at the gates of death: He enters heav’n with prayer.”
Jesus Christ lived a perfect life which is an ideal example for us. Prayer was a major element in His life. His prayer recorded in the Gospel of John demonstrates how He prayed.
Jesus prayed for Himself. John 17:1 “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:”
Jesus prayed for the disciples. John 17:6 “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” John 17:19 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
Jesus prayed for other believers. John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
The life of His disciples also provides us with guides on what we should do. We should be concerned about learning to pray as the disciples were. The disciples of Jesus requested Jesus teach them to pray. Luke 11:1-2 “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say.”
Albert Reitz expressed this plea beautifully: “Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; This is my heart’s cry day unto day; I long to know thy will and thy way; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.”
We need to be attentive to the manner of our prayers. Jesus is the intercessor between man and God. As we speak to God in prayer we need to use the name of Jesus. The Scripture instructs believers to pray in Jesus’ name. John 14:14 “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.“
We have not been given one prayer to repeat on all occasions but Jesus provided a model prayer for His followers. This prayer provides us with an example of what a prayer should contain. Since prayer is a two-way communication between God and us, our prayers must be Matthew 6:9-13 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.0 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Our Lord demonstrated His concern for all mankind. As Jesus prayed for Simon He makes this prayer for us. Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
Jesus came to earth to give His life on the cross to offer salvation to all who will accept Him. Being aware of the agony He was facing Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He called upon His disciples to pray with Him. Mark 14:32 “And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.” Mark 14:35 “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:39 “And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.”
All of God’s children encounter difficulties in life. We need to have a loving spirit of concern for one another. Believers are to pray for one another. James 5:16 ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’
At the present time our nation is in grave danger. As individuals we need to feel the touch of God’s hand. As believers we are given some assuring word. We are told that if we will call upon God in humble prayer that God will heal our land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Christians need to enjoy praying as William Walford wrote: “Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, That calls me from a world of care And bids me at my Father’s throne Make all my wants and wishes known!”
As the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, I plead with you, as a believer, to submit yourself to more time in prayer. Call forth praise to God as you pray. Ask and listen for God to direct you in all that you strive to do. Pray for fellow believers that they will have the strength and courage to live as God would have them. Pray for our nation that God will heal our land.