Do You Think to Pray?

by Gene Taylor

The opportunity to pray, to communicate directly with God, is one of the greatest blessings the Christian enjoys. It is evident that Divinity places a great deal of emphasis on prayer and its power. While on the earth, Jesus prayed often both showing and instructing His disciples that they ought to be people who pray (1 Thes. 5:17).

Prayer is the general term for addressing God. Since it is possible for His children to talk to Him, He asks them to call upon Him often (Luke 18:1-8; Ephesians 6:17-18; 1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Prayer is both the privilege and duty of the righteous (James 5:16). The model prayer given by Jesus in Matthew 6 shows that prayer was designed for children of God (v. 9). Only those who are trying to live righteously have their prayers heard and approved (1 Peter 3:10-12).

Prayer is asking, seeking, and knocking with the assurance that the Father is ready, willing, and able to respond (Matt. 7:7-11).

Prayer is an act of faith (Luke 18:1-8; Jas. 1:5-7). By praying to God, one shows he believes that He is real, that He loves His children, and that He hears and answers their prayers (John 9:31; 1 John 5:13-15).

Prayer is an expression of worship because praise, an integral part of worship, is a major component of prayer (Matt. 6:9). The very fact His children seek Him in it and pray that His will be done demonstrates their respect and love for God thus worshiping Him in prayer.

As stated above, prayer involves adoration and praise. It eulogizes God (Acts 2:47; Matt. 6:9).

Prayer includes petitions, pleas for one's needs (1 John 5:15). These can be such things as supplications (Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6), confession of sins, and pleas for forgiveness (1 John 1:9-2:2). Another essential of prayer is thanksgiving for blessings received from God (Phil. 4:6). Intercessions, pleas for others, are also an element of prayer (1 Tim. 2:1).

Since prayers can be hindered by many things, Christians must constantly be on guard against those things which would hinder their prayers. Such things as lack of faith (Jas. 1:5-7), wickedness (Psalm 66:18), selfishness (Jas. 4:3; Luke 18:9-14), improper attitudes toward others (Matt. 6:14-15; 5:23-24; 1 Pet. 3:7), and the substitution of prayer for obedience can all hinder the prayers of the church and its members.

Holy living is a must for God to hear your prayers.

Gene Taylor preaches for the Centerville Road Church of Christ in Tallahassee, Florida, and serves as one of the elders of that congregation.