God calls each of us to pray. He wants us to seek him in prayer, to trust in the power of prayer, and to trust in the God who answers prayer. If we are to grow in prayer and in our reliance on God, we need to understand what prayer is and how it works. Consider the following truths.
Prayer is an attempt on the part of an inferior to speak with a superior. A sinful human being seeks the attention of the One who holds his fate in his hands. This is why Moses removed his shoes and hid his face when he talked with God. This is why the tax collector would not lift his eyes but beat upon his breast as he cried out to God. Since the inferior has nothing to give God and no basis for bargaining with God, he is completely at God’s mercy when he seeks God in prayer. It is vital to realize this when we approach God in prayer.
Prayer is a conversation which assumes a relationship with God. We all know that it is easier to get something out of a person with whom we have a good relationship. It is often only because of the relationship that people grant our requests. So it is with God. In the Old Testament, when prayer is introduced, it is prayer on the part of those who had a special relationship with God. These special people like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and Elijah were called upon to pray in behalf of others. It was because of their relationship that it was assumed that God would listen to their prayers. The same is true today. Before our prayers can be powerful and effective, we need to have a good relationship with the One whose attention and favor we seek (James 5:16).
Prayer is primarily an exercise of man’s spirit. God does not see as man sees or hear as man hears. God does not see sights and hear sounds as much as he sees the condition of our hearts and hears the sincerity of our souls. God told Solomon that he would “hear from heaven” and “forgive” and “heal their land” if they would first humble themselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from their wicked ways (2 Chron. 7:14). Effective prayer involves a humble, seeking, trusting, penitent spirit. Without these spiritual attitudes, God simply will not listen to us. So, we must properly attune our spirits if we are to be effective in prayer. We can’t fool God.
Prayer is a human act which unleashes the power of God. It is amazing that God actually responds to prayer. In fact, he does great and mighty things in response to prayer. He sends his angels, changes circumstances, helps, heals, protects, and creates opportunities in response to prayer. He does this because he is good and because he wants to do it. He does this because he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.
Thank you for prayer. We are undeserving of such a relationship, but our grateful that in your mercy and grace you grant us the ability to communicate with you. Help us to be faithful in prayer and have faith in you when we pray.
Through Your Son,