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 motive does God have in mind when asking us to pray? Can you imagine preferring your will, based on your limited knowledge and foolishness, above God’s? Can you conceive wanting anything other than the will of our all-wise, all-good, heavenly Father? The power of God in our lives comes through prayer which strengthens our daily walk with Christ and grows our faith.
Listen to King Hezekiah praying under the threat of the Assyrian invasion. He reminds himself that God is enthroned on the highest of thrones, He made heaven and earth, and He can handle the Assyrians.
And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.
Hear Jeremiah strengthening his faith as he begins by recalling God’s great power in creation and then quickly realizes ‘Nothing is too difficult for Thee and nothing is hid from Thee.’
Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:
The early church suffered persecution resulting in Peter and John’s arrest. What did they do? They prayed. They built their faith by recalling the wisdom and power of creation.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Why is it so hard to pray sometimes? Because of unbelief. What can we do? Jeremiah, Hezekiah, and the early church reminded themselves of God’s power and greatness. They praised God for who He is, humbling themselves before Him, and in the process, enlarged their faith.
Thought: Prayer is a time of praising and admonishing the sovereign God of this universe. Humbling ourselves before the One whose power in creation makes nothing to difficult for Him. In prayer, God changes us through His lovingkindness, mercy and grace. What is prayer? The place where God’s power is praised, His benefits are past finding out, and His strength gives faith.