4 Prayer is Our Responsibility as God’s Servants
Prayer is a vital component in our relationship to our heavenly Father. Close and loving relationships don’t just happen, they must be developed and maintained. The all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, God of this universe offers to have an eternal relationship with you. But you must do your part to develop, foster and maintain that relationship, including:
- A Quiet TIME for Prayer
- A Secluded PLACE for Prayer
- A Loving HEART for Prayer
4a A Quiet TIME for Prayer
But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, Hear me in the truth of Your salvation. – Psalms 69:13
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12
Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. – 1 Corinthians 7:5
4b A Secluded PLACE for Prayer
After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. – Matthew 14:23
When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons… In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” – Mark 1:32-37
Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. – Luke 9:28-29
And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray… – Luke 22:39-41
4c A Loving HEART for Prayer
Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. – 1 Samuel 2:1
For You, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You. – 2 Samuel 7:27
When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly’; if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them (for they are Your people and Your inheritance which You have brought forth from Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace), that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and to the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You. – 1 Kings 8:46-52
If we fulfill our responsibilities in prayer, God will respond and do things we could never do alone. God will do as a result of the praying of even the humblest of His servants what otherwise He would not do. Yes, I can make it stronger than that, and I must make it stronger, for the Bible does. Listen: God will do in answer to the prayer of the weakest one here what otherwise He could not do. “Oh!”, someone thinks, “you are getting that too strong now.” Well, you listen to Jesus’ own words in that last long quiet talk He had with the eleven men between the upper room and the olive-grove. John preserves much of that talk for us. Listen:
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. – John 15:16
Note the word should in the verse above (John 15:16). It is not shall, or will — but should. Shall makes it a God-directed action. Will makes the outcome inevitable, something that will happen anyway, no matter what we do. But the word should places the outcome upon us and our cooperation with God in the matter. That is to say, our praying makes it “possible” for God to take those actions that He allows us to take or not take on His behalf. God has granted us the incredible privilege of joining in His great and eternal work. Talk about job satisfaction!
And if you think into it a bit, this fits in with the true concept of prayer. In its simplest analysis, prayer — all prayer — has, must have, two parts. First, a God to give. “Yes,” you say, “certainly, a God wealthy, willing, all of that.” And, just as certainly, there must be a second factor, a man to receive. Man’s willingness is God’s channel to the earth. God never crowds nor coerces. Everything God does for man and through man He does with man’s consent, always.
With due reverence, but very plainly, let it be said that God can do nothing for the man with shut hand and shut life. There must be an open hand and heart and life through which God can give what He longs to. An open life, an open hand, open upward, is the pipeline of communication between the heart of God and this poor befooled old world. By fulfilling our responsibility of prayer we become that channel by which God’s gets into parts of our world that would otherwise shut Him out.
— Adapted from Quiet Talks on Prayer by S.D. Gordon