THE PLACE OF PRAYER
Prayer is more than just saying words. It is innermost communication with Jehovah God. To pray acceptably one must be an obedient child of God. The basic starting point of prayer is humility.
Our Lord told a story of two men praying in the temple, one “man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” (Luke 18:14). A careful study of this publican shows his being conscious of his unworthiness to approach God in his holy habitation.
Today a subtle sarcasm or a bold front temporarily satisfies one’s feeling, but the time comes when alone one must communicate with God. Each must exhibit confidence and faith in God, who is invisible, and in things of the spirit. This we must do to find the peace and tranquility we crave and need from daily living. In our prayers in church assemblies, or in private, it is hard to understand how sinful human being can possess the ambiguous manner to approach the throne of a righteous God in any other than earnest, humble, reverential fear. A praying individual should know that God is witness to his attitude and actions, wording, and intent, as he words his prayer. If you do not believe that God is listening you should not be praying, “be not deceived God is not mocked.” (Galatians 6:7).
Many persons today struggle against Christ because he throws such revealing light on the darkness of their lives and hearts. If only they knew how wonderful and refreshing freedom in Christ can be! Life has its ups and downs along the way and only as we revived this power and strength from above, can this renewing of spirit come about. All of us should, “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). A teacher once in the primary grades told her children three simple expressions when praying: “Thank you,” because prayer begins with the recognition of God’s greatness and goodness and all the gifts he so freely gives. “Sorry,” was the next word because when we remember our own shortcomings and ask for his forgiveness. The final word was “Please,” because he taught us to ask and to knock and to seek.
However old we grow, the essential lessons of prayer are still the same. We praise him; we tell him of our sorrow for our sin; we ask for those things that we believe are in accordance with his will. We pray in the name of Christ. This pattern will assist our daily growth in grace and likeness of our savior.
“Men ought always to pray.” (Luke 18:1) David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) sent upward a prayer of penitence from his heart. David was a prodigal son, but he knew the way home when he stumbled or fell. He returned to God and received grace and pardon. Probably this was the characteristic that God most appreciated in King David.
It is possible that today by living a somewhat reasonable moral life, nothing too disgraceful, we begin to value ourselves by ourselves and those around us and leave God’s evaluation completely void of consideration.
Prayer is an art that is learned, yet not primarily from books nor from higher education. The ability to talk to God sincerely comes from a close association with God in our daily walk of life. To talk to God intimately one must know God more than just casually. When a man really prays, his words express the longing of his soul to God. We recall a man in the church some time ago whose prayers were a blessing to all who heard him. As he prayed it seemed that God was so near. He talked to God, and no one ever doubted but that God heard him. He learned to pray through close acquaintance with God. If we were to learn to pray, effectually, it can only come about as we walk with God and our spirits have joined with his great spirit. It is a real privilege that we can talk with God, and we should strive to keep close contact with the Spirit so that he will help us in our weaknesses. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
A Christian farmer was spending the day in the city. Entering a restaurant for his no-one meal, he found a nice table near a group of rough-looking young men,. When the meal was served, he quietly bowed his head and gave thanks for the food. Observing this, the young men thought they would poke fun at the old man. One mocked, “Hey, farmer, does everyone do that where you come from?” The old man look the youth in the eye and said, “No, son, the pigs don’t.”