And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:5-8
What is prayer? What purpose does God have in mind in urging us to pray? What are we doing when we pray? These questions will hopefully cause us to think about our prayer life and strengthen our daily walk with Him to increase our faith.
What is prayer?
Prayer is a great privilege that God has given to us through the death of His Son on the cross. When the veil of the temple was rent in two we, at that moment, had full access to God as Believers. Coming boldly to the throne of God is a great honor and because of Jesus’ extreme sacrifice, we have liberty and freedom to come before Him. What an immense and unsurpassable price He paid for us that we might have the privilege of coming to Him freely in prayer.
What purpose does God have in mind in urging us to pray?
Prayer brings us to a state of humility before God. (Quote by Robert Murray M’Cheyne 1813-1843 ‘What a man is, is what he is on his knees before God, and no more.’) Prayer is not a quick list of wants and desires or a shopping list of requests without first giving God praise and adoration for who He is. We, as His children, need to humble ourselves before Almighty God and recognize His greatness and His acts of grace and mercy towards us. Urging us to pray causes us to face our sins and to confess our offenses before Him cleansing and purifying our hearts.
What are we doing when we pray?
When we come to God in prayer we are building our faith. When we focus on the purpose of prayer, which is humbling ourselves before God and coming before Him with praise, thanksgiving and confession of sins, in this process, we are strengthening our faith. (I Chronicles 29:10-13) Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
When you read the prayers of the men in the Bible, you will find that they prayed giving praise and adoration which caused them to gain confidence in God’s ability and willingness to grant their requests. David spoke of God’s attributes which pleases Him and was consumed with His power, majesty, and greatness. This vision of God in His victory, power and strength encouraged David and confirmed his faith in what God could do.
Thought: Does prayer really make a difference in our faith in God? When you have humbled yourself before a Holy God confessing, praising and thanking Him for all that He is and all that He has done and you’ve remembered His attributes of strength, power and victory, the answer to that question is, “Yes.” Prayer will bring the experience of renewing faith as you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord realizing that it is He who will lift you up. (James 4:6-8,10)