Prayer as a language of many
Prayer is the key; a common language in Christendom. It will be a good idea to know actually what prayer is. Is prayer a spiritual phenomenon or just a word in the Holy Bible that fascinates people? Of a truth, prayer is a spiritual interaction with God. Jesus prayed during His earthly ministry and this will clarify every known and unknown doubt about what prayer is. It is a supernatural way to communicate with God. Jesus communicated with his father through prayer and had it been there is another means worthwhile, he would have used it. In the Old Testament, prophets prayed, kings prayed, the people of God prayed, even the pagans prayed to their dead gods and they did not get any answer to their prayers. The people of God in the Old Testament received answers to their prayers because they prayed to the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Prayer is a master key for all Christian; it is not always used to asking for blessing, but it is used to wage wars against principalities, against powers of darkness and against the kingdom of satan. An example of such prayer can be found in the first book of Kings Chapter 18; this is about the confrontation between Prophet Elijah and the Baal Prophets. A lot of examples can be sited from the Bible about people that prayed, Hannah prayed (1 Samuel Chapter 1) and in our contemporary Christianity men and women of faith in Jesus prayed and wondrous things happened. In this topic, I will be writing on what is prayer, how to pray and who can pray. The topic is divided into three distinct factions for clear understanding. My first book (Tears of the Lamb) has a lot of captions because the Lord laid it on my heart to write to impact people and I see it is an effective way to teach or write with clarity.
The following are the subtopics for this chapter;
- What is prayer?
- How to pray
- Who can pray?
What is prayer?;
To communicate with God is what prayer is all about. But how can prayer be a way to communicate with our creator. This is the choice God has made, that through this means we talk, present and lift up our supplications to Him. Well I wonder if there is any other means to communicate with God, how it will be like. ‘Prayer is the key’ this is a common statement among the believers, but we hardly make use of this master key that can unlock every close door before our eyes and make impossibilities possible to us. Prayer is used as a weapon of war, it is emphatically the weapon made readily available to all Christian called by the name of the Lord. Prayer as a weapon of spiritual warfare can go as far as bringing effect on the purpose while prayers are made. It is not a way to escape engaging in other Christian work when you have prayed or a way to hand-out a shopping list to God. Prayer can do more than what we think or ask through God, it goes as far as bringing an evident change in people’s life, in a household and in communities, it is as vast as God and God has committed himself to answer our prayers. John chapter 14 verses 14 says; ‘if you ask anything in my name, I will do it’ this is an open cheque to every Christian that will call on the name of the Lord, and whatsoever you ask in the name of Jesus He will do it, but there is a clause you must meet. I will elaborate about this clause in the third subtopic, but before then, a simple explanation on what the clause is, I will say; it is when your desire for asking is concurrent with the will of God for you. (God’s perfect will for you) The desires of your heart may not be the best for you but God knows the best for his children. God is the one who gave us this marvelous means of communicating with him, I see prayer as God’s intercontinental ballistic missile which can reach any location of this world. Psalms 123 shows the inevitability of asking through prayer. When you were a child, you did not pray to your earthly father, but you asked, but to God we have to pray to him. Asking from God is called prayer.
Psalms 123 verses 1 and 2 says; ‘verse 1; unto you I lift up mine eyes, o you that dwells in the heavens 2; behold as the eyes of the servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.’ These verses of the scripture above detailed us that prayer is made to God and there is always a part for us to play, the significant part we have to play according to verse 1 is looking up to God and waiting upon his unfailing mercy and love. Prayer is sweet but you may not understand if you are not a praying Christian. You are in charge if you pray accordingly and always to God. No devoted Christian will be defeated if he is man of prayer because Jesus our perfect example overcame principalities when he prayed. Everything Jesus did we are obliged to emulate him. The gospel according to Luke contains what I personally called the prayer life of Jesus. It will be wonderful if you check it up. ‘Luke chapter 3 verses 21 and 22, Luke chapter 5 verses 15 and 16, Luke chapter 6 verses 12.’ If the son of God and God himself in form of a man prayed, what will you and I suppose to do, we have to be on our faces down in prayer for mercy and grace. Prayer brings everything in control, in as much as God is always in control does not mean you do not have to pray, the authority we have as Christian can be best exercised in prayer, it energizes us and lifts us up spiritually, hews down mountain or moves mountain, extricate lost souls, prevent the schemes of the evil one from coming to pass and embroiders a Christian in his work with God. Do you have a prayer life like Jesus did; do you have a definite place and time to pray? It will do us good to inculcate this habit of praying always to seek the face of God.
How to pray;
I cannot fully tell you how to pray, but I will write what I was given. Prayer is as wide and as vast as God, coming into the presence of God is not given to a man to explain but for God to reveal to His child who comes seeking His face. There is always a way that seems right to us but God may not honor it. The Holy Bible in the book of Hebrews chapter 4 verses 16 says; ‘let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’ This verse of the scripture above gave us an insight on how to present ourselves to God. But the boldness mentioned here is not pride or arrogance of heart, mind and will-power but faith and assurance. It encourages us that coming to God is the only option for us without doubting or wavering. The earlier verse (15) before verse 16 introduced us to a high priest (Jesus Christ) that feels our need as human, and knows our state, therefore let us come having it in mind that God wants us to come. Presenting yourself to God when you know you need to be chastised because of your wrong doing, or when you know you have to be directed, how will you come? Come just the way you are with all your wrong doing and lay it down before him. You approach His presence in anticipation that He will call you yonder, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Let us come to our high priest with faith that He will hear us. When a man is full of doubt, coming to the presence of God is not a choice to make rather he prefers to do something else because he did not see Jesus as a high priest, but when you have this assurance that you have a high priest who will give you a hearing ear, how will you approach him, you will come to Him with an open heart with assurance that He will still your storm and He the render of the last resort. Then you have to come with boldness to a father who can do all things. People are afraid to come to God and they prefer to work it out their own way and they are called Christian but not knowing the high priest we have as a father.
How can we present our prayers or supplications to God? Praying involves our heart, God is not moved by the rhythm of our lips or our eloquence but He is concerned about the state of our heart. Prayers need concentration because you are at an interview with God. Your performance at a job interview may determine you acceptance for the job or not, but how much more when you are faced with God in prayer. Prayer is not based on how is my performance because it not a competition, although some Christians today pray with a view to be better than a fellow Christian, this is a big mess in today’s contemporary Christianity. First Samuel chapter 1 told us about a woman that had a marvelous interview with God, she came with desperation, she was in need of a child, her heart was broken, and with a contrite spirit she prayed to God, little wonder did Eli the man of God thought she was drunk with wine. In that chapter of the scripture, she was in bitterness of soul (focus and concentration) and she prayed to God (faith that God holds the answer) and she wept sore (brokenness of heart) she also made a vow to God (Thanksgiving in anticipation of the answer). At a point in her supplication, her lips moved but her voice was not heard because she was praying in her heart. Now prayer can be voiced or without voice, but the bottom line is; did your prayer touched heaven? Did heaven paid attention to your prayers? This can best be determined by faith in God because without faith it is impossible to please God, and with God all things are possible and those who come to God must believe He is God and He rewards those who diligently seek him. Seeking God in prayer involves a great deal of diligence. Come to God in prayer with diligence, faith, sincerity, also with hope and never forget to worship God with great deal of thanksgiving.
Worship is demanded by God from all nations, tongues and tribes, although people have swayed and rebelled from God’s total demand from them. Little or no time is allocated by people to worship God in their prayers or supplications. You can connect to heaven with Worship, adoration and thanksgiving to God, the life you have at that moment, millions do not have it, the health and strength you have to think about prayer, millions do not have it, why can’t you worship Him and thank Him for what He has done in the past for you before you start seeking for more? Psalm 100 verses 4 says; ‘enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful to Him and bless His name.’
If a man cannot pray in his heart with concentration I suggest he voice it out so he will be conscious and not carried away by the devil; it should not be too loud to distract the next person beside him, also in addition, some Christians, when they close their eyes they are carried away and start day-dreaming and if you are in that category, you have been under the severe weapon of distraction from the devil, you have to start praying for victory. Also when you pray do not use vain repetition of words, you may think you are praying but sadly you are not; (Matthew Chapter 6 verses 7) In a situation where there is an out pour of the power of God, there is always a significant change in the atmosphere, some will speak in tongues, others may interpret, some will prophesize and a lot of things may happen in such a situation. At times while praying, we are carried into a level we cannot explain or probably into the celestial ball, and so many things happen in such an interaction with God, even our words are no longer our words and we forget that we are in this earthly terrestrial ball but that does not constitute violence in any way at all, but you will know that your spirit is been lifted up by God, you may groan, moan, at that time the Spirit of God is praying in you and through you.
The most difficult thing to do as a Christian is to pray, satan will do all he can to stop you from praying because the prayer of a righteous Christian poses a great threat to his kingdom and that is why he fights so hard to deter you from praying, therefore we must continue to pray for a continuous victory. A lot of Christians are distracted by many things in the place of prayer. Prayer should be seen as a time to move into a new height, to receive revelations, answers, healing and everything necessary for a Christian to live a victorious Christian life. Little time is being allocated for prayers in our churches today and we have forgotten that we cannot move without prayers. If we Christians want to move, we must move on our knees in prayer. The church of our Lord Jesus Christ started in the upper room and those 120 persons where in one accord, probably in prayer and when the Holy Spirit brooded over them, they shook the world for God. But now, we have turned the upper room to supper room where we discuss but not praying, where we organize but not supplicating and we talk about the people that encountered God in the upper room of prayer but we are in the supper room. We have to seek the face of God in this age through prayer and ask God to take us back to upper room and on our knees in prayer, and whatever it takes, let God keep us on our knees.
There is always a way most people prefer to pray, some prefer to pray kneeing down, some prostrating before God and some prefer standing and rest of them. Do you know that prayer should be made with an aim to reverence God, a man kneeing before God, accords the necessary awe due to God, likewise the man prostrating before God. You may start to think that the man standing is out of the range but not at all, but certainly speaking, let us show reverence to God while praying. There is a word which is hardly spoken in the church today; it is praying in the ‘Holy Spirit’. It means the enabling power to pray according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit helps us in the place of prayer, for we do not know what to say and how to say it but rather He makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered (Romans Chapter 8 verses 26) Also another verse and chapter of the scripture threw more light to this by saying; I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication… (Zechariah Chapter 12 verses 10) But how can we pray in the Holy Spirit? He needs to be invited to the place of prayer and let all flesh, self and confidence cease. When flesh, confidence and self are manifested in the place of prayer, we are on our own and that is why our prayers are not answered because we are showing that we can do it ourselves, we seek for revival our own way instead of revival God’s way. Without prayer, we are powerless. A prayer-less child of God is a powerless child of God and when the Church stops praying, she starts playing and when she stops singing (worship) she starts sinning. Invite the Holy Spirit in every prayer you say and let Him lead you in the perfect way to pray. Let the Holy Spirit do all the leading and we shall do all the following.
Who can pray?
Yes we can pray and anybody can pray but not everyone receive answers from God. The prayer answered by God is the prayer of a righteous man because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much; ‘James Chapter 5 verses 16b’ this is telling us that it is only the prayer of the righteous makes its way to the ears of God. Why is it so? God is too holy to behold sin; ‘Habakkuk Chapter 1 verses 13’ what do I mean by a righteous man? Is it a man that prays always with vain repetition or a man that fasts twice a week or a man that gives all his has to the poor or to the church? The best way to describe a righteous man is; he who has no sins, or guile in him, that is a righteous man. Righteousness means flawless lifestyle without any sin, holy before God and void of offence before man ‘Acts Chapter 24 verses 16’. The answers to the prayers of a righteous man shows he had met the clause or the conditions of prayer, first of all, he had no sin, and his will is concurrent with the perfect will of God, that is a man who can pray, because if you pray and did not receive any answer you have not prayed. The answer can be Yes or No. A man who received answers to his prayers is the man that has prayed and he is the man that can pray. Prophet Elijah is one of them, Apostle Paul is one of them, are you one of them? The truth about the people of God not receiving answers to their prayer is because they have not prayed at all, how? Because they have not met the conditions of prayer. You cannot have sin in your life and expect answers from God, turn away from your sins and wickedness, put your iniquities far from your tabernacle, return to the Almighty and conform to His will and do not doubt me, but see if God will not seedily receive you, then you will be the man ‘who can pray’ Prophet Isaiah says; ‘Behold the Lord’s hand is not short that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that he cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you that He will not hear, for your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquities; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perverseness. (Isaiah Chapter 59 verses 1 – 3)
Do you fall into this category of people, forget answers to your prayers, although things may seem to be well with you but God is not behind it, because He is angry with the wicked very day (Psalm 7 verses 11b) then who is helping you? You are helping yourself but it will not last, may be you are hardworking, why would you make ends meet or eke-out a living from your hard work, but your soul is empty, hungry for God, God holds answers to the hunger and emptiness of your soul and it cannot be quenched through your hard work except you repent and seek the face of God, but if you continue trusting yourself, you are on the verge of hell. Only a Christian saved by the blood of Jesus can pray when he has met the conditions and is working with God, he is the only person who can use God’s intercontinental ballistic missiles in conquering and to conquer. That means any unsaved person cannot pray but actually they pray but they will never by any means receive answers to their prayers. The baal prophets that confronted Prophet Elijah did not receive any answer to their prayers, they called on false gods and they are dead in sins and will never meet the conditions of receiving answers to their prayers. Who can pray? A Child of God can pray; are you a child of God? And you have not received answers to your prayers; now check where you have flawed. Go through your heart and ask God to try your heart and reins, should there be any thing that defiles, Lord search it out. Confess your sins before God and do not cover up your iniquities again (Proverbs chapter 28 verses 13). God will not deliver us from our friends, He will only deliver us from our enemies so, if you are still holding your sins and you love it, God is far from you. Until you hate those sinful habits and lifestyle and seek the face of God, you are not far from the kingdom of God. Job Chapter 22 verses 21 to 30 show a man who have put away his iniquities far from his tabernacle and has acquitted himself with God, the tremendous change both spiritual and physical that took take place in his life was magnificent. Don’t you like to be that man in the scripture? Certainly you have always longed to have peace and the perfect will of God fulfilled in your life. You can be that man now if you repent and accept what Jesus has done for you on the cross of Calvary, confessing your sins to Jesus and turning away from them and lastly follow Jesus where so ever He goes.