“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him” Nahum 1:7
This is the theme for today – the 2010 National Day of Prayer, and one of my favorite scripture verses! In my personal life, I’ve clung to this verse many many times. And as I look around my city, watch the news of other areas here and abroad, I’m thinking that this is a great verse for our entire country and world to cling to! May the Lord show Himself mightily in the present and future to all who trust in Him!
Since it’s the National Day of Prayer, I wanted to share some basic facts about prayer… the What, the Why, and the How. This info came from the wonderful National Day of Prayer website. Check it out. It’s full of truth, wisdom, and ways that we can undergird our lives, loved ones, and our country through prayer.
May the Lord be good and a refuge to each one who trusts in Him!
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Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection and strength-even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to insure protection-through prayer.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
For true Christians, prayer [Gk: “proseuche”] is “communion with God”. Through prayer we actually experience relationship with God. The quality of our prayer life then determines the quality of our relationship with God.
Prayer is talking with God.
Prayer is listening to God.
Prayer is enjoying the presence of God.
It can take many forms – for example: worship, confession, thanksgiving, praise, petition (asking for things), waiting (silent, listening and sensing of God) and warfare (command). If we are baptized in the Spirit we can pray with the spirit, in languages unknown to us but not to God. (1 Corinthians 14:2,14). Prayer is not simply saying words. It is not repeating formulas. God is looking for heartfelt relationship.
1. We pray because we love God. We spend time with God in prayer and communion because we love him. Just as a man and woman in love desire to be together and communicate, so we – if we love God – will desire to be with Him and to fellowship with Him in proportion to our love for Him.
2. We pray because we depend on God. God is our source. He is our life (Colossians 3:4). Through prayer we receive the comfort, the strength and all the other resources that we need in life – both naturally and spiritually. Prayer – relationship to God – is as necessary to the spiritual life as air to the natural life.
3. We need to pray in order to resist temptation. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” (Mt. 26:41). Much sin is the result of the sin of prayerlessness. Through lack of prayer, we are weak, others are weaker and Satan gains the advantage in our lives.
4. We need to pray because it is necessary for men to invite God to act in salvation. God gave the earth to Adam and his descendants. We must invite God to work here. If no-one invites God to work here, Satan (the god of this world through man’s universal rebellion – 2 Corinthians 4:4) will dominate the affairs of men and eventually the judgment of God will come. By inviting God often and specifically, multitudes can be saved that would otherwise be lost.
5. We need to pray because God commands us to pray. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2). “Then he [Jesus] spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1). The need to pray is as great as the authority of God which commands us: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is so vital to all that God wants to do on the earth, and so essential to us, that God commands us to do it all the time. We should even deny ourselves sleep and food at times in order to pray more and with greater power. (Matthew 6:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 21:36; Colossians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:27).
HOW TO BEGIN
If you are not sure how to pray, don’t despair! Everyone had to begin sometime. Just talk with God respectfully but openly. Talk with Him as your Father. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father …”. Recognize God as a loving Father. Recognize Jesus as a Friend and a Brother. Recognize the Holy Spirit as your Comforter and Guide.
Come to the Father in Jesus’ name (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:19). Begin your prayer with confession of your unconfessed sins. In this way the blood of Jesus cleanses us and prepares us to really relate to God. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving…” (Psalm 100:4).
Thank God for forgiving your sins, for coming into your life, for making you His child. Then just talk with God, asking Him for whatever you need. Thank Him and praise Him for His answer. Spend time also asking for His Spirit to help you to pray. Talk to the Holy Spirit. Tell Him you want to know Him. “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…” (Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13) and He will teach you to pray.