“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:6 (NLT)
John Calvin said, “Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to Him, or of exciting Him to do His duty, or of urging Him as though He were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse to seek Him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on His promises.”
It has also been said that, “Prayer is the Christians vital breath.” But, truth be told, many men and women are holding their breath far too long!
Jesus shows us the necessity and effectiveness of prayer. Setting us an example, our Lord Jesus prayed regularly (Luke 5:16), he often prayed alone (Mark 1:35), before his death (Matthew 26:36-46), he prayed on the cross (Matthew 27:46), he prayed specifically before his transfiguration, at his baptism, before choosing the apostles, in communion with the Father, in submission to the Father, giving praise and thanks to the Father. He prayed for his persecutors (Luke 23:34) and for all believers (John 17:20).
Jesus’ example was not wasted on his disciples; they wanted to know how to pray. They needed help. So do we all! There is no shortage of what to pray about. But many still have problems in prayer. In response to his disciples’ request to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave them a very brief introduction to prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Firstly, that the Father be honoured in our prayers, and secondly, that his Kingdom would come to its fulfilment (how this world needs it!), then pray that the Father’s will would be done upon the earth as it is in heaven. Jesus model prayer showed that issues relating to physical needs, relational problems and spiritual struggles could legitimately be brought to the Father’s attention.
There will be a time when all Christians will struggle with prayer, and God understands this; but do not let the lapse in prayer last too long. These words from a hymn might assist:
Pray when the morn is breaking, pray when the noon is bright,
Pray with the eve’s declining, pray in the hush of night:
With mind made pure of passion, all meaner thoughts away,
Low in thy chamber kneeling, do thou in secret pray.
Guide me, Lord, you are my strength. Teach me how to pray and bring honour and glory to your name. In Jesus’ name.
Study by Dennis Payne
Worldwide Church of God London
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
Local Congregational Contact:
Phone: 020 8202 3998