Principles of Prayer4 min read
Prayer is an essential and key part in our Christian walk. Enoch was a man of prayer; he did not see death. Daniel was a man of prayer; he had God’s protection. Christ was a man of prayer; He is the ultimate example. Prayer is vitally important, for there is no such thing as a personal relationship without conversation.
The Precept of Prayer
Prayer is something one absolutely must do. Without it, our focus tends to be on the creation rather than the Creator. God must not be neglected, especially as a result of worldly pleasures. Prayer is a clear precept in Scripture, meaning it must be done. Christ, before saying the Lord’s Prayer, said, “When you pray…,” not “If you pray.” Paul, as we know, said, “Pray without ceasing.” We can therefore conclude that prayer is a lifestyle, not necessarily a single action; it must be the believer’s lifestyle to pray. Constant communication is what makes a relationship thrive. How can one have a relationship with God while he neglects Him? Christ, the Bible, and common sense say that prayer is essential. What do we say? What is our attitude?
The Privilege of Prayer
Prayer is not only a precept, however; it is a privilege. If we had a chance to freely have a conversation with our choice celebrity, no doubt many of us would jump at the chance; yet they are merely people, just like us. When it comes to talking personally with the King of kings, the Creator of those we look up to, we often neglect prayer for the most foolish reasons. Who in their right mind would not want to talk to Him? He is our Saviour! Because of His awesome provision, should it not be our greatest desire to come to Him in humble thanksgiving? He is the Most High; why is He often secondary?
The Promise of Prayer
Prayer has great power, and it comes with a promise. That promise is that God not only hears (which in itself is an awesome privilege), but He answers (Is 58:7). Though the answer may be no, we can know that if prayer is offered according to His will in full assurance of faith, He will fulfill it. The Bible says, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you.” There are many other promises of prayer, but the main thing to remember is that God cares. Because He cares, He will act. God takes joy in answering the prayers of His children, and because of this great fact, we should be prompted to take advantage of prayer and “pray without ceasing.”
The Practice of Prayer: The Position
It is clear why we should pray, but when it comes to how we should pray, there is a main aspect that must be considered. That aspect is the position of prayer — the position of the heart that is. One simple key in maintaining the right attitude before God is to have the right focus: Him. When a heart is focused on eternity, it can never go wrong. Having the right focus means praying to Him, through Him, and according to His will. It is then that prayer is successful. When is comes to our personal prayer, is it vertical (to Him), horizontal (at others), or backwards (to us, just as the Pharisee prayed in Luke 18)? It is so important to pray with Him primarily in mind, because He is the Most High.
The Practice of Prayer: The Place.
Though prayer can be anywhere, at any time, it is important to remember that we should spend daily communion with God in private. It must be secluded, away from any other distractions, so the concentration can be on the matter at hand. Being interrupted not only can be frustrating, but makes one lose their train of thought and causes the conversation to be less intimate. When we allow ourselves to be interrupted by people, places, phones, etc., it causes prayer to be devalued. In reality, when we allow unimportant things to disrupt our prayer life (or cause us to neglect it completely), it tells God that He is not as important as He reveals in Scripture. This is disobedience to the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37). After seeing His devotion of the cross, the least we can do is set a time aside to pray that should command our full attention.
From these few principles, we can see how important prayer is. We need to learn from them and apply them. If you don’t pray (besides for meals), start immediately. God deserves so much more than he receives at this point. When you do set aside time to pray, make sure to focus on Him first, realizing He hears and cares, with reverence and respect. Do not let anything get in the way, commit yourself to prayer every day. Make it a habit, for it’s one of the best.