A day doesn't go by that we don't hear someone on TV saying that his or her prayers go out to the victim of some violence or major disaster. News casters as well as politicians and celebrities including the President are always saying this. When I hear this I always wonder what they mean. My first thoughts are, who are they praying to and how? When people have nothing to say but feel that they should be saying something, this seems like the first thing out of their mouth. So do they pray all the time or are these just random prayers or empty words? I believe it is all well intended but basically rash talk.
First, what is pray? Prayer in the Christian form is spoken or mental communication with God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ His Son. They could be for salvation, healing, prosperity, or any special need. It could be for some emotional crisis or major event that has turned your world upside down. The bible talks a lot about praying, what prayers to pray and how to pray. Paul the apostle speaking in 1 Timothy 2, 1-2 urges us first of all that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, so that we may live peaceful and quite lives. All the other major religions of the world also have prayers, some are ritual prayers said out of a book of prayers. Others use beads and other artifacts to recite prayers they have memorized and some just chant. But here I will just write about Christian prayer and what it means to me as an individual.
I have learned through experience not to pray out of a sense of duty or by rote which in the end is a waste of time. When I pray it is more like a conversation between the Father and myself about the day's events and what I think could or should happen. I learned from Doctor Paul Yonggi Chow to be specific and bold in my prayers. There is a story in his book, The Fourth Dimension about how he prayed for a bike but didn't get it so he asked the Lord why he could not have a bike to use for spreading the Gospel. The Lord answered him and told him that there were hundreds of different models to choose from and hundreds of colors and he had not been specific with his request.
He got a catalog and picked out one he wanted and prayed again with the color and size he needed. In faith he waited and one day he got his bike with the basket he had asked for and the color and size he had prayed about. This taught him to pray with as many details as humanly possible. Later he did the same thing when he needed a desk and a chair. Doctor Chow started his church with four or five people and went on to build the largest Pentecostal church in the world with over 750,000 members. So I believe he finely learned how to talk to God and have his prayers answered.
In my prayer life I learned to draw God a picture of what I was praying for. If for instance I was praying for a person I would start by telling God all about the person and what he meant to me or the community and why I thought he should have what I was praying for. Of course God already knows all about the person but he wants us to share in what he is doing. If I am praying for a town or city I pray for the streets and avenues, schools and business to be safe. I also pray for the mayor or governor, police and fire department along with all the parks and churches. The prayers must be specific and not general as if you were praying for a country and said, "God take care of China or India for instance." This would be a general prayer which would most likely never be answered but sounds very spiritual.
Jesus had a lot to say about praying to the Father. First Jesus teaches his disciples how not to pray in Matthew the 6th chapter. In Matthew 21:22 Jesus speaking to his disciples tells them. "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." To be effective prayer must be based on something more than wish full thinking. To a Christian it must be based on the word of God, if God said it in his word he has the power to produce it, we just have to remind him of it.
Jesus who is our example of how to do the will of the Father had a rich prayer life. Matthew 14:23. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 26:36. Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."26:40. Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" He asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak."
Luke 18, 1-6 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, Grant me justice against my adversary. For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Well he keep putting them off? I tell you he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
We can see by this statement from Jesus that we must pray until we get an answer from our heavenly Father. So if I tell someone that I will remember them in my prayers that is exactly what I intend to do. I am not saying something to be politically correct which holds no weight in Gods court, no I mean to pray, or I will not say anything about prayer.
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