“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5: 3-5).
It’s very obvious in Scripture that the Lord wants us to pray. There are many commands given to us concerning prayer: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1); “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18); “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
These are just a few of many such injunctions in God’s Word concerning prayer in our lives. Why is it then, that so many Christians feel so inadequate in their prayer lives? Christians everywhere confess their prayerlessness and long to become people of prayer. Yet, the life of prayer evades so many. How can this be turned around in our lives?
I believe that one important key is to understand the reason behind God’s commands to us to pray. It can be difficult to discern the mind of God on a matter, but He has given us much in Scripture to help us understand. My friend Alvin VanderGriend has suggested that there are three reasons given for prayer in God’s Word: intimacy, enrichment and partnership. Another way of stating these is: knowing God, obeying God and partnering with God.
Father, Your Word is filled with encouragement and commands to pray…and yet, my prayer life is still so much less than it could be. Forgive me for my prayerlessness and help me to long for intimacy with You so that I might fully participate in the work of Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
–Adapted from the article Partnering with God in Prayer by Dave Butts, author of the book The Devil Goes to Church. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
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Praise God for his Word that is so available for meaningful worship. Give thanks for the power to minister in God’s name (Lk. 9:1-3). Confess those times when you neglect God’s Word or fail to spend daily time with him (Lk. 18:1). Commit yourself to teaching, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42). Ask God to bless you and to “enlarge [your] territory” with his power, presence, and protection (1 Chron. 4:10).
Pray that God will increase your faith through corporate worship. Ask that your pastor not compromise God’s Word, even though methods of communicating that Word may change.
“Prayer is striking the winning blow; service is gathering up the results. You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” —S. D. Gordon
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