Prayer is an important tool – the most powerful tool – in the life of every Believer in Jesus Christ. Yet, oftentimes prayer is misunderstood or not used.
The Bible has much to teach us about the importance of prayer, the methods of prayer, the attitudes of prayer, and the results of prayer. This article will look at the basic foundations of prayer by studying the instructions Christ gave to us all in “The Lord’s Prayer”.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
In its simplest form, “prayer” can be defined as communicating with God. But there is much more to prayer, as we will soon discover. Jesus’ disciples were familiar with prayer. But their understanding was greatly expanded as they walked with Jesus. They witnessed Jesus in prayer often, and saw that prayer was a vital part of His ministry. They saw how His prayers were offered, and how they were answered. They realized that Jesus was not offering vain repetitions or going through outward religious exercises. Jesus was actually talking with God the Father. He was asking God to help and intervene in real-life problems. And powerful things happened in answer to Jesus’ prayers.
So the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
That is the same way each of us, as growing disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, should begin our study of prayer – with a prayer! Pause even now and pray something like this: “Lord, as I study the subject of prayer, will You enlarge my understanding and give me wisdom? Will You help me to see why You ask me to pray? Will You enable me to become a person who prays faithfully? Lord, teach me to pray!”
“CALL TO ME …”
God is the One Who desires us to pray. He created mankind with the ability to talk to Him. Deep within every person is a need to reach out to God for help, guidance and comfort. Also within each person is the desire to worship, honor and serve a Supreme Being. It is vitally important that these desires be directed to the right Source – to God Himself.
Many times we reach out to the wrong people or to things for guidance. We mistakenly honor or worship false gods, worldly systems or other people – even our own accomplishments. We must learn to direct our prayer and worship to the only One Who is worthy of our devotion – the One Who made us, God alone! It is God – and only God – Who is both willing and able to answer our prayers with complete wisdom, sovereignty and love.
Communication (or communion) with God is the key to why we were made. Our life will be incomplete without our prayers to God and God’s responses back to us. We were designed for relationship with Him. We will never realize our full purpose, nor will we experience the fullness of God’s presence, until we understand this – and then pray!
God invites us to come to Him in prayer. The Bible contains many, many verses of Scripture wherein God invites us to talk to Him, ask of Him, look to Him, and call upon Him. That is the basic form of prayer – talking with God. “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jer. 33:3).
A PATTERN OF PRAYER
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them a “pattern” for prayer to follow. This familiar Prayer is commonly called, “The Lord’s Prayer”.