Prayer is a spiritual means of communication with the heaven. Just like the natural communication of man to man. Prayer is a channel through which a mortal taps into the realm of the immortals. It a systematic expression of an ordinary man delving into the affairs of the supernatural. Man to man communication is a two way thing. This means that there is a message and feedback. So also is our communication with God through prayers. It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that the spirit of God speaks everytime. But men do not hear from God all the time. This is because many at times we do not tarry in the place of prayers.
Whenever we communicate with our Father (God) through prayers. He is always willing and ready to speak to us. There is no gainsaying that the world is such a dark and gory place to live in. Hence, there is a need for man to seek the counsel of God in everything that he do. The book of St. Luke 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. This passage is talking about Christ Jesus excusing himself from the crowd to commune with the Father. The essence of Prayer in the life of a believer can not be overemphasized. If Christ the author and finisher of our faith can not do without praying to the Father. Who is a mere mortal man not to tarry and stay put in the place of prayer.One of the essence of our creation is to have a koinonia (Intimacy) with God. He always want us to be in His sight all the time. And the only way that can be achieved is through PRAYER.
PURPOSE OF PRAYER
A prayerless Christian is a powerless one. He or she will become prey in the hands of the predator (Devil). Are you not surprised that the scripture emphatically told us in book of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. This explains the essence of Prayer. Prayer is a spiritual shield and buckler that we use in defending ourselves against the spiritual war fare.
Have you forgotten that the scripture in book of Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
How that Daniel prayed so well that the heavens had no choice than to release his blessings. However, the prince of Persia stood in gap between the Angel bringing Daniel’s blessing and Daniel. But, Daniel tarried in the place of prayer until the heavens were forced to look into the situation. Then it was discovered that the prince of Persia had held down the Angel. A stronger and more powerful Angel was sent to clear the road for the Angel taking results to Daniel. All these were made possible by the effectual prayer of Daniel. Nevertheless, the purpose prayer can not be fully explain in just few paragraphs. Having that in mind, these are some purposes of prayer in life of a Christian.
1. TO COMMUNE WITH THE FATHER
One of the purposes why we pray is to communicate with God. In the process of communicating with God, He will give us guidelines, principles and directions that our life needs.
Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.Habakkuk 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
This Bible passage explain the essence of communing with the Father. Prophet Habakkuk said, I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the towers. That is the work of a spiritual watchman. A man who stayed in the place of prayer to hear from God. And will watch what He will say to me and what I shall answer when I’m reproved. This is the life of man waiting to hear from God about a particular city.
The purpose of our prayer should be to communicate with God. When we speak to God, He will speak to us. A communication process isn’t complete yet until there is a feedback.
2. PRAYER SERVE AS MEANS OF ADORATION
Often time people say Thanksgiving is the food that we offer unto God. However, there is no portion of the scripture that says God will starve to death if man refuse to thank Him. For the records, the Cherubims of Glory have no other business they do than to worship God. The book of Revelation 4 disclosed immeasurable numbers of creatures that worship God. Even to the twenty four elders that sits before the throne, they will now before God with their crown. So, whether or not we praise or adore Him, it doesn’t change the fact that He is God.
Nevertheless, our prayer can still serve as a means of Adoration. A means of recognising the potency of God, of magnifying His supremacy over all that was created. King David understood the potency in offering the prayer of Adoration unto God. Little wonder, the entire book of Psalms 8: explains how great our God is. It takes a man who have the revelation about the greatness of God to adore Him in such manner. King David was surprised that God is still mindful of man despite his greatness.
Prayer of adoration is not an avenue to flatter. It is something should come from the heart with understanding. You would be surprised that despite David’s atrocities, God still named him a man after His own heart.
3. OUR PRAYER SERVE AS MEANS OF REPENTANCE
Our prayer to God can serve the purpose of repentance. King David is a perfect example of this too. In book of Psalms 51. When we understand that we have sinned and done evil unto God and humanity. Our prayer to God can serve as means of repentance.
Meanwhile, it takes a man with a broken spirit to understand that he had sinned. After Peter betrayed Jesus, he felt broken in his heart. He went into a hiding place to seek forgiveness from God through prayer. One major purpose that our prayer serve is for repentance. God, I’m sorry I did this, grant me grace, I will not do it again.
4. PRAYER SERVE THE PURPOSE OF PETITION
Our prayer can serve as a means of petition. We pray for God’s grace and mercy for our life. Remember the story of King Hezekiah when he was very ill. The Bible made us understand that he was at the point of death. And even God sent Prophet Isaiah to inform Hezekiah to prepare for his death. However, King Hezekiah petitioned God through prayer 2 Kings 20. He told God to remember all his services and sacrifices that he has rendered unto God. And in return, God added years to his life span. Our prayer can serve the purpose of petitioning God, seeking for Grace and Mercy. We know the promises and prophecy that God have said concerning us. We are permitted to ask God when we feel things are not going according what He has said concerning us.
HOW TO PRAY
The book of Luke 11 explained how Jesus was praying in a certain place. After the prayer, one of his disciples came to him and asked him to them them how to pray. Jesus gave his disciples the Lord’s prayer. Many Christians who do not have the knowledge of what this prayer meant have abused it. Many people just say it with understanding.
1. Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name:
This first line of the prayer explains the need for acknowledging, adoring and thanking Him. Before we ask anything from God, thanks should come first. Even Jesus demonstrated this when he got to grave of Lazarus when he said Father I thank you because you hear me all the time St. John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.As believers, we must cultivate the habit of thanking God before asking anything from him. This makes our prayer to become more effective.
2. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven :
Right after giving thanks to God. We must always pray the God reign on earth. Praying for the kingdom of God to come is not about the quick coming of Christ. The Bible says we should occupy till he comes. While occupying, it Paramount that we ensure that the counsel of Christ alone stands.
The mandate of Christ’s mission must be spread to the bitter root valley of the pagans and unsaved. Mathew 28:19-20 commanded that we go into the world and discipleship of all nation. The kingdom will start here on earth when all people, nations and city come to terms that Christ is the Lord.
3. Give us this day our daily bread:
This the first part of the prayer that allows us ask from God. It is a perfect example for a personal supplication prayer. God honours His word even more than His name. It is therefore expedient that when we ask things from God, we back it up with his word.
The scripture made us understand that God will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory. We must know and understand the word of God for our prayers to be effective.
4. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors:
It is pertinent to note that after the death of Christ, we are no longer under the curse of law. Knowing fully well that all our righteousness are like a filthy rag before God. Seeking for forgiveness is an integral part of the Lord’s prayer.
The scripture says the ear of the Lord is not too heavy to hear us. Neither is His hand to short to safe us. But our sin has created disparity between us and God. That’s why whenever we go to God in prayer, it is important that we seek forgiveness for our sins.
Also, we must learn to forgive others. We don’t forgive others for God to forgive us too. That’s a misconception about this part in the Lord’s prayer. Many Christians believe when they don’t forgive others, God will not forgive them too. God will not think or act like a man. We must forgive others because God has forgiven us our sins by the shedding of the blood of Christ.
5. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
Reasonably, prayer serves as a shield and buckler protecting us from harm. The scripture warned us sternly not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. That’s why it important that we ask for God’s protection when we pray. We ask that he protect us from temptations and any evil scheme that might be raised against us by the devil.
6. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen:
The fact that we see most Christians rounding up their prayer with thanksgiving is not a joke. Prayer should start with adoration and thanksgiving and it must also ends with it.
In the book of Psalm when David was seeking from God. He said how can I be chastise on something I have given thanks for? That means, a man can be chastised for asking wrongly, but a man can not give thanks wrongly.
Before ending our prayer, it is important that we thank God for answering our prayer. That’s a step of faith. Then we end every prayer session with the name of Jesus Christ. That name is our access in the holy of the holies.
BENEFITS OF PRAYERS
1. Prayer helps us overcome Temptation
Our consistent prayer to God help build up our level of spirituality. It gives us the courage to conquer any temptation that the devil might bring our way. Christ having fasted and prayed for 40 days and night was led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. But the devil couldn’t overcome him because Christ had built himself in the place of prayer.
2. Prayer helps us to know the will of God
When we commune with the Father, He gives us directions for our life. The life of a prayerful man will not be void of direction. Jesus could rebuke the spirit of fear when he said If it will please God to make this cup run over him. But Christ while still praying was made to know that that wasn’t the will of God. So hequicky rebuke the devil and request that the will of God be done. When we pray to God consistently, He will make his intentions and plans for our life revealed to us.
3. Prayer Help Us Know God more
There is no doubt that the more time a man spend in the presence of God will not be left unrewarded. And the more a man tarry in the presence of God, the more God reveal Himself to such individual. Apostle Paul is a typical example. He was not among the twelve disciples. However, he knew the man Christ Jesus even more than those that followed Christ for years.
4. Prayer Strengthen Our Relationship with God
When we pray more often, we become the friend of God. Our consistent prayer will enable God recognize our voice amongst millions of people calling Him. If God could say that I will not do anything without telling my friend Abraham.
This explained the level of relationship that existed between Abraham and God. Infact, before the city of Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed, God told Abraham about it. The more we pray, the more our relationship with God is strengthened.
5. Protects us from evil
The scripture says for I bear the mark of Christ, let no man trouble me. There are prayers of protection. The more we tarry in the place of prayer, the more God reveal things that would happen to us. God can reveal anything to a man who spend time in place of prayer. We have seen the case of men who were protected from an accident that claimed the life of others.
Conclusively, brethren, just like the food we eat, like the air we breath and like the water that we drink. Prayer is very essential in the life of every man. Are you experiencing some things that seemed abnormal in your life, take it to God in prayers. Maybe it has been long that you hear from God, go back to your maker in place of prayer, he’s waiting for you. He loves you and He still wants to speak to you. The whole essence of our creation is to have fellowship with God. And the best way we can ignite that fellowship is through prayer.