Do you Pray?
Why do you pray?
Is it because we have been taught that prayer is what we do when life gives we lemons? Or is it because we know we are “suppose” to pray about things and so we do out of a place of “should” instead of a place of expectation? Or, are you someone who doesn’t pray about everything because you believe God already knows what you need and so you don’t ask him. Do you believe that IF God wanted to fix things for you that he would without your request? When is the last time you have prayed and expected God to answer you? How many times have we prayed for someone with cancer to be healed and actually expected God to heal them? Why do we pray for the sick to be healed if we don’t expect healing is possible?
The stock exchange is the system that governs the value of a product or company. Commodities, such as milk, corn, eggs and coffee are traded every day on the stock exchange. Several months ago, the price for 5 dozen eggs was $42.99 at Costco. Just last week, the same 5 dozen eggs sold for $18.99 at Costco. The reason for the change in price has everything to do with supply and demand. Commodities are essential life sustaining products. Time is also a commodity as is water as is prayer. However, prayer is a commodity traded daily without value. This article is not written to tell you to pray. We already know to pray. This article is written to explain the reasons prayer is critical to our life, our circumstances and our success. So what is prayer?
I can’t talk about prayer without first talking about free will. When God created Adam, the first human, who was created in God’s image, he created him to have free will. This is why he placed the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil in the midst of the garden. God had already created the host of angels to worship him. The Bible teaches us that the angels of God are innumerable and they surround his throne saying holy, holy, holy continuously. So God wasn’t looking for robots, so to speak, to serve him, he already had that in the angels. God created Adam in HIS image and desired that Adam freely choose to serve God from a place of desire, love and friendship. The only way for that to happen was to give Adam a choice. We all know that Adam made the wrong choice and ate from the forbidden tree. He disobeyed God and God did NOT intervene in his decision to disobey him. God allowed Adam to make his own choice and God watched as Adam ate from the tree, as his wife Eve gave him the forbidden fruit. It is important to note that God did not stop Adam from partaking. God allowed him to choose and Adam chose to follow his wife instead of God.
Free will is something I am still learning about. On one hand, the Bible teaches us that God is sovereign, which means that nothing can prevent God’s will no matter what. We can see this in the story of Moses when he pleads with Pharaoh to “let my people go” out of Egypt. It also teaches us that God is all-powerful and can do anything he desires. He made the donkey speak in Numbers 22. We know that God is the God above all other gods and that there is no power under heaven or under earth that can separate us from his love. So if God is God and we trust him to work on our behalf, why do we need to pray? If his will is going to be done anyway, why do we need to pray? The answer is free will.
Prayer is a deep and complicated yet simple spiritual principle. It is complicated because there are many aspects of how and why it works, which I will attempt to explain. It is simple because it is so easy to do. We just open our mouth and speak.
Prayer is a solemn request for help addressed to God with earnest hope. Remember that “God is Spirit, they that worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). In order for us to come to God we must do it through the avenue of the spirit which is what prayer does. Prayer breaks through the veil of the natural world into the supernatural world, which is the spirit world where God resides. Then, prayer grants God permission to intervene on our behalf. You see, God is not going to force his will upon us, just like he didn’t force his will upon Adam. He gave direction to Adam and then left it up to Adam to choose. We MUST ask him for help because in doing so we are giving up our free will and giving it to God. So prayer is giving God permission to work in the situation.
Prayer is also the spoken word, which is a seed that will create a harvest. Everything that God did or has ever done first started with a spoken word. “God said let there be light and it was so” (Gen 1:3). All of creation was made by the spoken word. Jesus, when he walked on the earth, “rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea and said Peace be still” (Mark 4:39). Likewise, when he came upon the fig tree that did not have any fruit on it, he said to the fig tree “no man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. (Mark 11:14) All throughout scripture, it is the spoken word that delivers, that heals the sick, that multiplies, that raises the dead, and that casts out spirits. The spoken word has the power to create what is spoken. Since we where created in HIS image our words also have the power to create. “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21). So prayer is a spoken word that has the power to create and bring a harvest of fruit.
The last thing I want to say about prayer is that prayer is God’s way of revealing his desire for us. The Bible teaches us that when we pray, “the spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for: but the spirit itself makes intercession for us with groaning’s that cannot be uttered and he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). So prayer is the avenue that God uses to reveal his will for us.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced the place in prayer when you have groaning’s that cannot be uttered. I have. This is sometimes a place of deep heartache when all you can do is pour your heart out to God through sorrow and tears. It can also me a place of worship and thanksgiving, when you feel the overwhelming love and grace of God. Or it can be something altogether different when you don’t know what to pray but begin to pray anyway. When we are at that place in prayer, our minds and hearts understand what we are feeling. We get a picture of what God is telling us and that picture brings peace, comfort and many times direction, promise and purpose. ALL of our answers can be found in prayer and ALL of our next steps in life and circumstances can be found in prayer. God lives in the realm of the spirit and we enter that spirit realm when we bow to God in prayer and we open our mouth and speak the words that invite him into our circumstances and life.
I can always tell what is coming by what happens in my prayer life. God does not live in the realm of time. He lives outside of time. God sees all and knows all and the Holy Ghost in us leads us into all truth and guides our steps. So if we walk in the spirit, which is the spirit of God living in us, then we can know what is the will of God in our life. The Bible says “The steps of a good man are ordered by God and he delights in his way” (Psalms 37:23) The Bible also says “For it is God which works in you, both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). So when you are committed to God and you give your free will over to him you can trust that whatever comes out of your mouth and your heart in prayer is God revealing to you what he desires to do in you and through you. Let me give you an example…
Recently I began to pray for financial increase. I have never prayed for financial increase before in all my years of serving the lord. He has always provided for me financially. Several years ago I had a retail store, and I struggled to make it successful for five years before finally closing it. However, God always provided the money I needed throughout all five years and even after I closed it.
When it comes to money, I have always trusted that God would provide and I have never asked for more then what I had. When this request began to come up in prayer, I realized that God was creating this need in me for increase so that I would ask him for increase, so that he could fulfill his will. Financial blessing is not for my own gain. When God does answer this prayer and provides financial increase, it is not for me to have more material possessions or a bigger house or awesome shoes. The increase is so that I have the ability and provision to help others. It is to businesses that create jobs for people in the church. It is to assist the church with what is needed to reach others. It is to build apartments for those who have no place to call home. It is to help the fatherless who are struggling to find their place in the world. It is not for me, it is for the service of the Lord; to make a difference in our church and our community. If God had never dropped this into my spirit, I would have never asked him for financial increase. All my needs are met and I usually have enough to provide for my desires as well. Requesting more would have never crossed my mind, until the Lord showed me why. This all took place in prayer. It began pouring out of my lips and then I realized God was showing me through my prayer what his desire for me was. Don’t be afraid to speak your dreams. Don’t be afraid to dream BIG. That may be God showing you his will in your life. If you do not ask, he cannot answer. We have to ask him and trust that he will place his desires in our heart as the Bible teaches us.
I hope that excites you and encourages you. God is alive and he is active in the life of those who pray. Prayer-is-our-connection-to- God! If you haven’t spent very much time in prayer, maybe this will help encourage and motivate you to take time out of your day everyday, and pray. He hears, He knows, He will answer!!
“Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open to you” “For everyone that asks receives, and he that seeks finds, and to him that knocks it shall be open” (Matthew 7:7-8). Pray without ceasing !!
PS…The Journey (my church in Visalia) is starting four weeks of prayer beginning this Wednesday March 15th at 7:00 pm. If you are not sure how to pray or what to pray, this is a good opportunity to learn.