Wednesday, 15th August 2012
Biblical perspectives for living
The Priority Of Prayer
Prayer is an acknowledgement of God's greatness and power and of our need and dependence upon Him, but is also an expression of our personal relationship and fellowship with Him. For this reason it needs to be more than a mechanical recitation, a heaping up of empty words (Matthew 6:7, ESV).
The writer Haddon Robinson says that when his grandchildren come to visit he loves to play a game with them. He takes a few coins from his pocket and clenches them in his fist. His grandchildren then climb up into his lap and try to pry his fingers away to get the coins. This pocket change is actually insignificant to him, but he enjoys the closeness and intimacy of the interaction with the children. In the same way, God loves to have us draw near to him as we make our requests in prayer.
The Lord Jesus is our example par excellence of a life of dependence and communion with His Father. He would often rise early in the morning, while it was still dark, and spend time alone in prayer (Mark 1:35). We see Him in prayer at many of the key moments in His earthly life: at His baptism (Luke 3:21); before choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-13); at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29); and in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:40-46).
His disciples, recognising the excellence of His prayer life, asked that He teach them to pray (Luke 11:1) and the Gospels record much of His instruction on prayer. He warned them about hypocrisy in prayer (Matthew 6:5-6); He invited them to ask in His name (John 16:23-24); He encouraged them to be persistent in prayer (Luke 18:1); and He challenged them to pray so they wouldn't enter temptation (Luke 22:40).
Since prayer is relational, we must not think of it as a way of manipulating God. As a loving Father, He knows what is best for us and sometimes that means not getting what we want when we want it.
May we follow the example of those early disciples who gathered together frequently for prayer (Acts 1:14), acknowledging our need for Him and enjoying fellowship with Him.
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