Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Many christians today do not know what it is to pray. We come to God with a "Grocery List" of wants, needs, and problems; when all that He wants is for us to be quiet and wait for him to speak to our hearts.
Prayer is communion with God. It is a two-way conversation. We speak to Him, then we wait for Him to speak to us. He does not speak with an audible voice, but He is the "still, small voice" that we hear in our hearts. If we ask Him a question, He will answer. If we praise Him and exalt His name, He will strengthen and encourage us.
There is a time for "Corporate Prayer" and a time for individual prayer. Corporate prayer is when a group of believers come together and pray as one voice for a specific need or purpose. It is effective to achieve the goals of the group, but it is not what causes us to grow as believers. The only way that we can grow as believers is through individual prayer. Personal time with the Creator of the universe. Jesus is our example. Scripture is filled with times that Jesus would leave the people and pray alone, usually in the early morning or in the evening. Mark 6:46 says, "And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray."
The Apostles understood the importance of prayer. The chose seven men to serve as administrators over the ministry. This would allow the Apostles to have time to devote to prayer. (Acts 6:4) The Apostle Paul gives a list of ways that believer are to behave and things that we are to do. (Rom 12:12 and 1Thes 5:17) Prayer is in the middle of both lists. It is the center of all that we are and all that we do as believers. We can not be successful in this life without communion with our savior.
The book of James was written so that believers could understand what it is to be a mature christian. It discusses being firm in your belief, controlling your tongue, and humility. The last chapter of the book states our goal as believers clearly:
"...The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16
We gain that effectiveness in prayer through prayer. We build our faith through hours of communion with God. Then when we need the power of God, it is there. There is no other way to grow in maturity in the faith except by prayer.
When you start to build your prayer life it is not important how much time that you are in prayer. It is not necessary to decide that you have to spend an hour in prayer everyday. What is important is that you stay in prayer until you feel the Lord touch your heart. Then He will direct your time as He wants to, and you will see BIG changes in your life.