Observations on Prayer
We’re all creatures of habit but we still like to have choices. I have a friend who I meet for breakfast from time to time. I’ve noticed he always takes the time to carefully look at the menu and then often ends up ordering the same thing. Once in a while he’ll order something different, but most of the time I could order for him.
That’s kind of how we pray. We get into a habit of praying the same way, the same time and for the same things. Once in a while we’ll pray differently, but most of the time our prayers are the same.
That’s not a bad thing, especially if you pray regularly. Today I’d like to see if I can put a little variety in your life and mine by pointing out seven different choices we have regarding prayer. We’re going to use Jesus and others as examples to follow.
7 Choices Regarding Prayer
- Whether or not to pray: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@wardcushman”]When we realize prayer is talking to the God of all creation, prayer is a big deal.[/inlinetweet] [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@wardcushman”]Unlike powerful or famous people, God the Father is always available to talk with us. [/inlinetweet]Why don’t we talk to Him more often?
- How long: There are examples of extended times of prayer Luke 6:12, short prayers Luke 23:34, 46 and everything in between Ephesians 1:16-23. Try varying how much time you spend praying.
- When: Jesus prayed early in the morning Mark 1:35, at night Luke 6:12, and many other times, Luke 3:21, 11:1, John 17, Luke 22:41. Prayer is to be woven into every part of our life so we pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- Why: to ask God for things. Don’t listen to those who suggest or imply this isn’t the best way to pray. Jesus taught us to ask in prayer Matthew 7:7-8, John 14:13; to give thanks 1 Thessalonians 5:18; to worship Hebrews 12:28; to confess our sins 1 John 1:9.
- Who: your enemies Luke 6:28; the sick James 5:14; one another James 5:16; everyone, especially political leaders 1 Timothy 2:1-4
- How: In faith, James 1:6, Hebrews 11:6; according to God’s will Matthew 6:10, 1John 5:14, according to Jesus name, that is in keeping with His character and reputation John 16:23.
- What: everything! There is nothing you should not pray about! 1 Peter 5:7
Two other cool things about prayer
- When we pray, Jesus intercedes for us with the Father so He hears our prayers, even though we are still sinners. 1 John 2:1-2,
- The Holy Spirit helps us by praying for us! Romans 8:26 We’ve all prayed for the wrong thing from time to time. We can count on the Spirit to pray rightly for us.
Wow, we have a lot of choices. I could go on and on. What have I missed that you’d like to share about prayer that will help me and others as we pray? If you’re looking for a good book to stretch you in the area of prayer, a friend recommends this timeless classic Quiet Talks. Share a comment or question below.
I guess I’m confused about a few of these things. I thought we had the option to pray directly to God the Father or Jesus. Maybe I missed the fact he talks to God the Father for us. Why is this though? I thought the Father sees us as perfect because of Jesus’s sacrifice and that’s how we are able to come to him. Similarly, I did not realize the Holy Spirit prays for us. So when we pray to God the Father for something, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are acting as our interpreters?
Hi Carrie, I can see how you might be confused. In a post like this one usually emphasizes just one idea with a few tidbits thrown it. So you deserve a fuller explanation.
Yes, we always have the option to pray directly to the Father or Jesus or the Spirit. The norm, which Jesus taught us, is to pray to the Father, and that should be the majority of our normal communication.
The role of Jesus and the Spirit are different. The verse I mentioned in 1 John 2:1-2 tells us about Jesus’ role as our advocate, or representative before the Father. In the previous verses at the end of 1 John 1 we are instructed to confess our sin for forgiveness. Even though we are children of God we are still sinful people. Someday we will be free from the sin nature when we have our glorified bodies in heaven. Until then, even though we are saved we are still sinful people in our hearts and commit acts of sin. Each time when we pray to the Father, who is holy and just and pure, we are sinful creatures trying to talk to the sinless God of all creation. Because of our inherently sinful condition we aren’t pure or holy and so we shouldn’t have access to talk to the Father. Because we have believed in Jesus, it is like the Father sees us in Jesus and Jesus in us. It is the connection and identification with Jesus that gives us the right and opportunity to pray directly to the Father. It’s kind of like each time we pray that Jesus says to the Father, “It’s okay to talk to Ward, I’ve paid for his sins. He’s in the family.”
As far as the Spirit’s role, there are two aspects of it. One of which is that as we learn to listen to the leading of the Spirit, which I think is primarily a gentle urging that He regularly gives us in our hearts that some people are more sensitive to than others, that He will prompt us as we pray. He will prompt us to pray for people or situations by bringing them to mind. We need to learn to respond by praying for what the Spirit puts on our hearts. The other mysterious truth is the Spirit actually prays for us Romans 8:26. Look up that verse, it is really cool. As the Spirit of God lives within us and knows us better than we know ourselves He prays for us, knowing perfectly what we need. That is so amazing to think about.
Neither Jesus nor the Spirit act as our interpreters in the sense that we can’t speak directly to the Father. These are separate and distinct roles that are in addition to our regular communication with the Father in prayer.
Thank you for the question, Carrie!
Very Cool. Thanks for your response