God on Prayer

God through Luke tells us:

  • Luke’s gospel begins with prayer at the temple (Luke 1:10) and Acts (1:14) begins similarly.
  • Mary prays/sings: “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:53) – prayer that touches God’s heart is coming to Him hungry. Prayer that goes through the motions is coming rich. You can see the results of each.
  • Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s kingdom to come (Luke 11:2 = God’s will to be done, Matthew 6:10). Shows that our prayers pave a path for God’s will to come.
  • Jesus gives the example of prayer being like a friend who doesn’t possess something, yet begs of someone who had what he needed (Luke 11:5-8). Again, do we come to God in prayer “hungry” and “in need” or filled? You can tell the difference based on how God responds.
  • Luke 11:9-13 – we are told to “Ask…seek…knock.” You ask when someone is there with you. You seek when there is effort to find someone/something. You knock when there is a barrier between you and what you need. Consider this as a progression. When you’re younger with the Lord, it might be a simple ask. But later He might be exercising those muscles by having you seek and knock a bit before it comes. Don’t stop. He sees you and hears you.
  • Luke 18:1-8 – again, Jesus pictures prayer as a person in need going to the one who can match that need. In this case it’s a widow (who has no earthly helper) who needs deliverance against her adversary. She pleads relentlessly with a corrupt judge. Why? Because she knew he was her only hope for a change. God is saying that we are that widow, and He is a good judge. Will we pray like we know He really is the ONLY answer to what we need?
  • Acts 1:14 and 2:42 shows the earliest group of Jesus followers were devoted to prayer.
  • Acts 6:4 shows that prayer was one of 2 chief things that leaders had to ensure they had time to for.
  • Acts 9:11 shows that Ananias could recognize the transformed Paul because, “he is praying.”
  • Acts 10:9 and 10:30 show that the Gentiles were brought into the kingdom of grace through prayer– Peter’s prayer matched with Cornelius’s.
  • Acts 12 – Peter was miraculously delivered from prison when “many were gathered together and were praying,” (12:12).
  • Acts 13:3 – the church spread through prayer
  • Acts 14:23 – the church was established through prayer

I hope this is sufficient to see that God via Luke has said much on prayer. This alone should be sufficient to start a revival of prayer among Jesus’ people everywhere. I know it has been used much to kindle prayer in my own heart. But God knows how cold and stubborn we can be. So He anointed other Bible writers to hit the same theme from different angles.

Lately, God has been speaking to me through Paul, specifically, to revive my heart more toward a prayer revival. Here is a sampling of that.

God through Paul tells us:

  • “Be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12) – if we can’t do it out of zeal, let’s consider doing it out of duty
  • “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phil. 4:8) – IN EVERYTHING
  • “Epaphras… [is] always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God…he has worked hard for you…” (Col. 4:12-13). Consider that. The prayers of one man are directly related to an entire church standing mature and fully assured in God’s will. How much have churches suffered because not even one man has labored in this way on their behalf?
  • “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17)
  • 1 Tim. 1:12 – God gave Paul strength through Christ for the service he called him to. Have you been called to a service? Consider where God wants you to get strength from…
  • 1 Tim. 2 shows prayer as the thing Paul calls them to “first of all” (1 Tim. 2:1). And he calls out men (presumably as leaders, see context) to this duty especially: 1 Tim. 2:8
  • Philemon 1:22 – here Paul is so confident he’ll be staying with Philemon soon that he tells him to prepare a guest room for him. Why? “I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.” That’s how confident God is in our prayers.

I could add to this list all of the autobiographical notes Paul makes about prayer (especially at the beginning of many of his letters, but also throughout). Things like:

  • without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers” (Rom. 1:9-10)
  • “I give thanks to my God always for you” (1 Cor. 1:4)
  • “I thank God…as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.” (2 Tim. 1:3)

And this is truly just a sampling. I don’t think there is a single letter of Paul’s that doesn’t contain these kinds of notes.

Further, these are just 2 human authors God spoke through in the Bible on this. We really are just scratching the surface here…

But at least in what you’ve read here, can you hear God’s voice on this?

Any church that thinks prayer is a “nice to have” has completely departed from biblical Christianity.

God help our prayerlessness. Forgive our self-sufficiency. Give us repentance to come back to biblical Christianity on the matter of prayer.

Brian

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