Sunday, January 11, 2009
Prayer - Part 1 T. Harber
PRAYER Part 1. WHAT IS PRAYER? Prayer is communication with God. It is how we start and continue to build a relationship with Him. Scripture tells us that there are three things which affect our prayers: ATTITUDE - CONFIDENCE - PERSEVERENCE ATTITUDE is our frame of mind which in turn affects our thoughts and behavior. Jesus says (Matthew 6:5-15) that we are not to be hypocrites who pray to impress others; and not to use meaningless repetiton because we think we will be better heard by God. Jesus then gives us an example to set our attitude, and respectfully come to God. (Notice that this is an example, not THE actual prayer we should always use.) CONFIDENCE is the absolute certainty of the trustworthyness of God. Jesus says (Mark 11:22-26) that we are to “trust in God.” When we pray and ask, we must believe that we will receive. However, Jesus cautions us, that if we have anything against anyone, we must first forgive that person. (Remember Jesus’ example prayer mentioned above: “... And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...”) We cannot expect God to forgive us if we do not forgive others. PERSEVERENCE is to remain persistent and constant in praying in spite of obstacles. Jesus tells us a story (Luke 18:1-8) about an unrighetous judge who was being continually bothered by a certain widow to resolve a legal situation. For a while he was unwilling, but then he reconsidered, and even though he neither respected God nor man, he did decide to resolve her situation, because by her continual persistence, she would wear him out. The thought here being that if the unrighteous judge would bring about justice for the persistant widow, how much more will God hear the prayers of those he loves and love Him in return.