3 Prayer is Essential to the Christian Life
So much can be written about prayer, but the key point is that is that it is not optional. Prayer is essential to the Christian life; as Christians, we are even commanded to pray. As a Christian, you can no longer stop praying than you can stop breathing. Continue reading below for more about the essential nature of prayer:
- Prayer is a PRIVILEGE
- Prayer has a POSTURE
- Prayer is a PRIORITY
- Prayer provides POWER
3a Prayer is a PRIVILEGE
Have you ever spoken to a high official of your government? Will the President or Prime Minister of your country see you on a moment’s notice? Can you just drop by the house of the rich and famous and be welcomed in to “hang out” for awhile? Unless you are such a person of worldly prestige, probably not. But “There is no favoritism with God” (Romans 2:11). Even the most famous individuals and those of high political office may not have access to God because of the ungodly lives they lead. Yet the person of the humble circumstances who knows Christ has immediate and constant access God; we are even directed to come into His presence.
Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. (Hebrews 4:16)
Now consider this – what if your father was that world leader. Then you would have no problem going in to his presence, even while other world leaders may have to wait. As children of our heavenly Father, we have access to someone infinitely more personable and more powerful than any world ruler that has lived, is living, or will ever live.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17)
God’s children are more important and precious to Him that all rulers of this wicked world put together. The word “Abba” is a transliteration of an Aramaic “nursery word” for “papa” or “daddy”. As Christians, we are much more than servants of the almighty God, we are His adopted children. Don’t squander this incredible privilege, spend time with your heavenly Father. Your demeanor will reveal a heavenly glow as a result that others will sense and desire, giving you opportunity to minister.
3b Prayer has a POSTURE
There has always been a question about the proper posture of prayer. Should you stand, kneel, get down on all fours, or prostrate yourself before the Lord on the ground?
And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. (1Kings 8:54)
Solomon knelt when he prayed. Although no particular posture is essential — you can pray in most any position — this is where the posture of kneeling is mentioned. Victor Hugo said that the soul is on its knees many times regardless of the posture of the body. It is the posture of the heart that is important.
When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Daniel 6:10)
Note again the posture of another praying saint, Daniel, kneeling to pray. To reiterate, the proper posture for prayer is often a question. It is doubtful that the posture of prayer is the important thing. The posture of the spirit of the man is what is important. However, if you want to select a posture for prayer, it is kneeling, and that is set before us here.
Notice also that Daniel prayed toward Jerusalem. That was the direction of Daniel’s life, and he didn’t intend to change because of Darius’ decree. When away from the temple in Jerusalem, God’s people of that day were to pray facing in that direction. Today, no earthly place is preferred above another; the Lord Jesus said, “…ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father . . . . God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21, 24)
— Adapted from Thru The Bible by J. Vernon McGee
3c Prayer is a PRIORITY
Prayer, like the the steady beat of our heart and the repitition of our breathing, is a priority, an essential of the Christian life. The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. Not those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer, but rather, the people who take time and pray. They do not have the time. It must be taken from something else, something important. Very important, and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer. There are people that put prayer first, and group the other items in life’s schedule around and after prayer.
These are the people today who are doing the most for God; in winning souls; in solving problems; in awakening churches; in supplying both men and money for mission posts; in keeping fresh and strong these lives far off in sacrificial service on the foreign field where the thickest fighting is going on; in keeping the old earth sweet awhile longer.
This is a secret service, God’s clandestine service for eternal good. We do not know who these people are, though sometimes shrewd guesses may be made. Oftentimes we pass some plain-looking woman quietly slipping out of church; gown been turned two or three times; bonnet fixed over more than once; hands that have not known much of the softening of gloves; and we hardly give her a passing thought, and do not know, nor guess, that perhaps she is the one who is doing far more for her church, and for the world, and for God than a hundred who would claim more attention and thought, because she prays; truly prays as the Spirit of God inspires and guides.
3d Prayer Provides POWER
There are five outlets of Christian influence and spiritual power by which God’s Holy Spirit works in and through us to reach a lost world:
- Through our LIVES — the quite influence of our character because of time spent with God.
- Through the LIPS — what we say about God and to Him and what we say about and to others.
- Through our SERVICE — what we do for others on God’s behalf.
- Through the use of our MONEY — what we keep for ourselves and what we give back to God.
- Through our PRAYER— what we claim in Jesus’ name.
- All of these influences are powerful, but the greatest influence is prayer.
- The power of a life may touch just one moment or event in another’s life, but that touch is tremendous. What compares with a pure, unselfish, gently strong life in meeting the hurts and needs of another? Yet that power is limited to one part where our lives intersect.
- Power through the lips depends wholly upon the life that is lived behind the speech of those lips. Words that come across awkward and uneducated are often made burning and eloquent by the life behind them. And words that are smooth and easy often have all their meaning sapped by the ungodly life back of them.
- Power through service may be great, and may touch many other lives, yet it is always less than the influence of the life we are leading behind the words of our lips and our service.
- Power through money depends wholly upon the motive behind the money. Begrudged money, stained money, soils the treasury. That which comes nearest to omnipotence also comes nearest to impotence.
- But the power loosened out through PRAYER is as tremendous as the power of a true fragrant life and, more importantly, touches lives and events wherever in the world we apply it.
- The greatest thing any one can do for God and for man is to pray. It is not the only thing. But it is the chief thing. A correct balancing of the possible powers one may exert puts it first. For if a man is to pray right, he must first be right in his motives and life. And if a man be right, and put the practice of praying in its right place, then his serving and giving and speaking will be fairly fragrant with the presence of God.
—Adapted from Quiet Talks on Prayer by S.D. Gordon
NEXTPrayer is OUR RESPONSIBILITY.