“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” ― Martin Luther
“Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!” Matthew 26:41
As a Christian Apologist I find that prayer is often not in the forefront. Christian Apologists are eager to defend the truth of the faith and at times forget the importance of prayer in this mission. We are going so fast that we don’t spend the needed time in prayer for our own ministry and especially for that of others.
I heard a Christian leader talk about how she was once with a friend who was ministering in a rough part of an inner city where crime rate was high. This leader stood behind her friend and said she felt like a army troop clearing the spiritual area with a “machine gun of prayer” as her friend ministered. She dared not stop her weapon for the attack, she felt, was great. Do we do that for each other?
I have been convicted and challenged recently about my prayer life, not sure if I’m doing it right or often enough. So I went to the Bible and found many examples of people “talking” to God and worshipping Him through prayers: Abraham talked with God (Genesis 12-22), Moses talked with God and God spoke through him (Exodus-Deuteronomy), David talked to God through his Psalms, and the prophets talked with God as He used them to speak His Words to the people. These are just a few examples from the Old Testament, but the best thing to do is to go to the person who was the fulfillment of all that was spoken of in the Old Testament and the one who taught us how to pray in the New Testament: Jesus!
Steven K. Scott has complied all of Jesus’ words in a book called “The Greatest Words Ever Spoken.” This makes it easy to find out what Jesus said and did on a topic like prayer. What He said and how He modeled it can be found in the Gospel of Matthew: 6:8-13, 11:25-26, 26:39 and 27:46; the Gospel of Luke: 10:21, 22:42, 23:34, 23:46; and in the Gospel of John: 11:41-43, 12:27-28, and 17:1-26. I have also found great comfort from what Jesus says in John chapter 14.
At times when I don’t know what to say I like to meditate on the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, also found in Luke 11:2-4). Jesus’ greatest example for prayer, in my view, is found in John chapter 17. That chapter can be broken down in to three segments: Jesus prays for Himself (1-5); Jesus prays for His Disciples (6-19); and Jesus prays for future believers (20-26), that’s us!
Nabeel Qureshi, one of the greatest influences today in Christian Apologetics, has been studying prayer in-depth over the past few months. I believe he is most qualified to speak on prayer because of his life’s story and current struggle as a man going through tremendous pain and suffering. Go to his series of Vlogs (he is currently on number 22) and listen to what he has to say. Here is an example early on in his diagnosis from Vlog #6:
One of the most important things I have learned about prayer is that if we are praying in God’s will, that is our prayers are lining up with God’s Word, then we are on the team with Him which brings the outcome of our prayer in line with His Kingdom goal. Having said that we do not always see the “Kingdom goal” in all circumstances, it can be hidden from us for now. This is important to remember as we stay in bold persistent prayer. God’s timing is not always our timing, patience and trust is most important.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14
A friend of mine was concerned about the way prayer was presented in a recent lecture so she did some research and sent me this:
“Prayer develops our relationship with God, when we pray we grow closer to God and we are more likely to be aware of how He is working in our lives. Prayer is a very important part of our Christian walk, it’s how we develop and maintain our relationship with Christ. Never feel your prayers are silly and never be discouraged to pray. There is nothing silly about talking to God, we are commanded to. We should encourage and press each other on to prayer.”
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. Psalm 91:15
Pray on brothers and sisters!!!
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