In order to grow as a Believer (aka Biblical Christian), we read in “What is Essential in the life of the Believer ? Part 1” the Word of God is required. In reading the Bible we are hearing directly from the Lord on daily living and how to keep ourselves pure in these dark days.
What else is an essential in our lives to have a well-balanced walk?
The next topic we will dive into is that of prayer. Unfortunately, today there are many abuses of prayer and how to pray. Some new terms we are hearing such as “contemplative prayer”or “centering prayer,” “IHOP (International House of Prayer),” “breath prayers,” etc., seem like they are of God. However, when you look deeper into these practices, you find that they are far from what biblical prayer looks like. If we agree that the Bible is the ultimate authority, we need to look to it alone for our standard. Let’s look at several verses dealing with prayer in the Bible and pray that we come to the conclusion of why prayer is essential in our life and how to avoid these pagan type religious acts.
Luke 11: 1-4: “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples’. So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say,’ Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” This is one of the most famous passages in the Bible addressing prayer by Jesus. We are given this template for our prayers where we are to approach our Holy God with the fear and reverence as He alone deserves. By using this model, we see that the main purpose in our prayers is having God’s will done here on Earth and not our own.
So often we desire God to act according to our plans or timing which goes against the reason prayer is needed in the believer’s life. 1 John 5:14: “Now we have this confidence that we have in Him, that is we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Prayer needs to be continual to keep us from falling away. Ephesians 6:18: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane in John 17 serves as a further example of what biblical prayer looks like. Jesus prayed that His Father’s will would be done and that He would be glorified in Jesus ultimate act of love, dying on the cross. He prayed for His disciples and that God would keep them as He was getting ready to pass from this life. Jesus also prayed for those who were yet to know Him, that is you and I. His selfless life that He lived here is such an amazing display of love. In Luke 5:16, we learn about one of the secrets of Jesus success here on earth, “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” It was this continual communication with the Father that allowed Him to be so affective here on earth for God. If Jesus, part of the triune God, needed to be in constant prayer with the Father, how much more is it necessary for us?
We have talked a little on what prayer should look like, but now let’s discuss the ways the Lord says we are not to pray. Some people like to be seen as “holy” or want to be seen more religious than others, so they make a point to pray only when they have an ” audience.” In Matthew 6:5-8 we read, “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” I don’t believe this means that we are forbidden from praying in public as Jesus Himself would pray in public (John 11:41-42 at the raising of Lazarus from the dead). The real issue here is the heart we have when we approach praying. Are we seeking to be seen and promote our own name in the eyes of men, or are we seeking to elevate the name of God and bring all people to Him?
I think it’s important that we discuss for a little bit about contemplative prayer and why it is unbiblical. The practice of contemplative prayer begins with “centering prayer,” a meditative practice where the person praying focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. This mirrors the eastern practice of using a mantra to clear your mind of any distractions. By doing this, it supposedly will enable the “prayer” to hear God more clearly. After the centering prayer, the person praying, is to sit still, listen for direct guidance from God, and “feel” His presence. I must emphasis the “feeling” aspect here. That is the motivation, unfortunately, for some people that profess to be Christian but lack any solid foundation or have ever had a salvation experience. As I had mentioned earlier, God doesn’t want us to use “vain repetitions” in our prayers as the pagans do (Matthew 6:7).
We need to exam ourselves and our motivation whenever we approach prayer. Let’s do a quick rundown of all that we discussed about biblical prayer and why it is essential in our lives as believers.
Essential of Prayer Overview:
- Prayer is our direct line of communication with God (Proverbs 15:29, 2 Chronicles 6:21 ,Jeremiah 29:12)
- Prayer is to get God’s Will accomplished here on earth (1 John 5:14-15, James 4:3)
- It helps keep us from being anxious (Philippians 4:6-7, James 5:13)
- Prayer allows us to ask for forgiveness from the Lord in order to make us right with Him (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- It changes us to be more like Christ (Romans 12:2)
- Prayer is necessary in order for us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44)
- It is necessary to keep us from being deceived (Matthew 26:41)
Thank you my dear sister in Christ for learning with me of why prayer is essential in the life of the believer. If you have any addition verses to add to this, please do so in the comment section! I look forward to you joining me on my “How to have a Bible Time” mini series. I am going to present you will several different approaches to having this precious time with the Lord, and I pray it will inspire you to either begin your Bible time or to encourage you in your time. God bless.