In our last article, we noted how God
communicates with us through His word. But how do we
communicate with Him? Remember, communication is two way, we
both speak and listen. God has provided a way for us to
communicate with Him also. That way is through the avenue of
prayer. In this article we want to note the importance of prayer
in the Christianís life.
The scriptures deal regularly with both
private and public prayer. Our primary focus here concerns
private prayer, that is, prayer offered between you and God
alone (Public prayers when assembled together will be dealt with
at a later time). Luke 18:1 says, "Then He spoke a
parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose
heart." Describing the behavior of a Christian, Paul
said it includes, "rejoicing in hope, patient in
tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer..." (Romans
12:12). A part of the whole armor we are to put on in fighting
against Satan is, "praying always with all prayer and
supplication in the Spirit..." (Ephesians 6:18).
Philippians 4:6 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in
everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made
known to God." Colossians 4:2 says, "Continue
earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with
thanksgiving." And 1 Thessalonians. 5:17, "Pray
without ceasing, in everything give thanks;...". Many
other passages could be cited to show the importance of prayer
in the Christianís daily life.
Prayer is a privilege extended to Christians.
It is an avenue extended to those who are searching for and
doing His will. James 5:16 says, "Confess your
trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you
may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man
avails much." Note that it is the righteous man who God
listens to in this situation. 1 John 3:22 tells us, "And
whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep his
commandments and do those things that are pleasing to Him."
Note the realization for righteous living. This is contrasted
with the one who does not obey Godís will. One who refuses to
obey the gospel will not have his prayers heard by God. In John
9:31 we read of a blind man whose sight Jesus had restored. As
the blind man reasoned with the self-righteous Pharisees he made
this observation, "Now we know that God does not hear
sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God and does His will,
him He hears...". While we understand that this is a
statement of a man, it was an observation that was not disputed
concerning the law, even by those to whom he spoke at this time.
It is a concept that agrees with all of scripture. Both those
concerning the type of prayers God does hear and those He
rejects. The Greek wording addresses one who continues to be a
sinner. One who refuses to obey the gospel would certainly fit
in this category. While we do read of some men such as Cornelius
in Acts 10:1-2, who were not yet Christians praying to God and
their prayers being heard, the extent of it being heard resulted
in God providing an opportunity for them to hear the gospel (Ac.
10:3-16). Thus we can see, prayer is a privilege extended to
Christians that we need to take advantage of.