There are times in life when we know that we are following the lead of the Shepherd and we experience life as God intended for us to live. Then there are other times when a cow ends up in the swimming pool.
The words “pray” or “prayer” is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible, so if you believe in the Bible you have to believe something about prayer. Years ago I found a statement that expresses my feelings on prayer. It says, “I don’t believe in prayer…I depend on it.” I guess you could say that I have staked my life on prayer. Let me share a personal experience to illustrate.
Last week I shared with you four instructions to guide us when we pray. Today I wish to share with you five groups of important persons for whom you should pray. You may know how to pray, but often you do not know for whom you should pray. We are told in the scriptures who is important to include in our prayers.
In Matthew 6:5-15, Jesus gave guidelines for us when we pray. In this section, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shares what is called today the “Model Prayer.” In Luke 11:1-2, this same prayer is shared with the apostles when one of them asked, “Lord teach us to pray.”
There are five basic prayer types: Praise, Thanksgiving, Confession, Petition, and Intercession...
When was the last time, when you acknowledged the presence of God? When you read this verse, what do you feel? For some, it will be peace and joy. Others, it will be fear and shame for if we can “never escape from your Spirit,” that means that what I do when no one is looking is seen by God.
How often do we use prayer like a “911” emergency call? There’s a fire in the kitchen, we’ve done everything we can to put it out, but the fire is still blazing – so we call the fire department. In terms of prayer, we do everything we can to fix (a broken relationship, an illness, a challenging situation, etc) and when we have come to the end of our rope – THEN we begin to pray asking for God’s help.
The act of prayer teaches us our own unworthiness. This is a very important lesson for proud beings like us. If God gave us favors without asking us to pray for them, we would never know how poor we were. Through true prayer, we stake our claim on divine wealth, but we also confess our human emptiness. The healthiest state for a Christian is to be always empty of self and constantly dependent on the Lord for supplies-poor in self and rich in Jesus. That is why we pray.