Prayer is a very powerful thing. As we talked about in the article Spiritual Blessings, we mentioned prayer and how it truly is a gift from God. We focused on a few points about prayer, but we’re going to dig deeper into this particular subject today. We are going to learn exactly what prayer is, and all of the benefits of praying to our Father.
Jesus often emphasized the importance of prayer. In Luke 5:16, and Mark 1:35 Jesus withdrew from the one’s he was with and prayed, being examples to us. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus tells everyone who is listening how to pray. “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Now some might perceive this as the exact way we should pray, no more, no less. But that is a false interpretation. Jesus was showing his disciples what to pray for, like the forgiveness of sins, and our daily blessings. But let’s analyze these verses further, to better understand what Jesus is talking about. Notice the plural pronouns he uses in his prayer, “our”, “us”, and “we”. Jesus is making the point that our own desires should not be the main focus of our prayers. Now of course we can pray for our own needs, but we should not allow them to dominate our prayers. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” Paul tells Timothy that prayers should be made for all people, and that does include ourselves, but it also includes everyone else as well.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” We can pray for anything, he will hear our prayers and requests. Jesus makes this same point in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Jesus makes an excellent point, that if we are seeking answers from Him, he will give us the answers. But that is not always the case, God will give us the answers when and if he wants to. Sometimes, the time in which we desire an answer is not the time God says we need it. Other times, he won’t give us an answer because he knows what’s best for us, and in some cases, we don’t need to know. What Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7 is answers according to God’s will. If we ask or request according to His will, He will gladly give us the answer. It may not be what we want, but it is the answer we seek.
We must also learn not to have doubt when we pray, but to have faith. James 1:6-8 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” If we ask or request something from God, and we don’t have faith that He will answer it, He won’t. We must firmly believe with no doubt, that He will answer one way or the other.
The question ‘how often should we pray?’ comes up regularly when discussing prayer. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, to “Pray without ceasing.” Daniel prayed 3 times a day (Daniel 6:10). There is no limit or ‘set in stone’ number that we must fulfill daily. It is all based on our hearts. How often we communicate with our Father often determines our relationship with Him. The less we talk with Him, the farther we get from Him, the more we talk with Him, the closer we get. It is all based on how much we talk with Him, and how much we listen to Him.
In conclusion, prayer is a powerful thing. No it is not magic. It is all based on the faith we have in the true and living God. We can pray for everyone and everything. We can ask for anything, and according to His will, He will grant our requests.