Martin Luther once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” He is also quoted as saying, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” He understood how essential and important prayer was to his well being and maturity.
Prayer is important. Prayer is a priority. Prayer is central to our relationship with the God-Head. Prayer is how we communicate with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When we read the Bible, that’s often how we will hear Him speaking to us. Through prayer, we get to talk with God whenever we want to, and share our hearts, thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams.
Jesus prayed often. He would withdraw and go to a quiet place to connect with His Father. He understood how necessary and important it was. The Bible tells us that Jesus prayed regularly – early in the morning, while it was still dark, when faced with a trial or temptation, and while He went about his daily life (Luke 5:16; Matt 26:39,42; Mark 1:35; John 17:19; Luke 23:34). Jesus is our perfect example.
In Luke 11:2-4 Jesus set out a pattern for prayer. I am not talking about regurgitation, parroting this prayer religiously every day; but rather this was given to show us how to pray and connect with our Heavenly Father.
“And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
As I re-read this scripture, I was reminder again that I have a Father in Heaven that I can turn to anytime, who knows all things, sees all things and is able to work all things for my absolute good. It reminded me that I have a Father who is majestic, all mighty, all powerful and completely ‘in control’. He sits in Heaven and He watches everything; nothing takes Him by surprise. He is different from humanity. He isn’t limited by anything. He is eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, and He is fully invested in me.
It also reminded me that my life needs to be centred on Him. That means He needs to be my focus, my prize, my treasure; the one I’m captivated with and by. If He is, then no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, I am not tossed about by my emotions, fears or feelings.
I was struck again by how much He loves me; that He didn’t leave me alone but sent the precious life-giving Holy Spirit who convicts me, cleanses me, changes me, comforts me, counsels me and challenges me to be more like Jesus.
When I read ‘Your Kingdom come’ (I know this speaks of the rule and reign of God), I am profoundly aware that I am a spirit with a body and not a body with a spirit. What do I mean? I am born again by the Spirit and I realised that I have the Spirit of God residing in me and that means I have the full capacity and capability of His power at work in me and through me. That means wherever I am, I carry Him with me and whatever the needs are in any given place, I can pray; and His power is released, and His Kingdom can break in – break in to marriages, finances, health, relationships – and it can be changed in an instant! I don’t have to wait for Heaven, but I can right now live in the presence and power of my Heavenly Father and see things changed for the good. I am not limited by my humanity because its His power at work in and through me.
My source for everything is Him. Every need is met in Him and Him alone. Nothing else can satisfy. Nothing else can ever supply what I need – emotionally, mentally, materially, physically, spiritually – only Him. He is my provision; my protection and He is a Promise Keeper. What security that brings!
That’s why I need to pray. Prayer is the God-provision of my every need and it’s the God solution for every single issue I face. When I pray “Father” I am declaring He has this because He loves me. When I pray for His kingdom to break into my situation, I am praying for His Will and Way to breakthrough. When I pray for His provision, protection and promises to come about, I am remembering and declaring that He is the only one able to do anything and He is the source of everything. When I pray for forgiveness for myself and release it to others, I am reminded of His faithfulness in forgiving me. And when I pray deliver me, I am reminding myself that this is my promise keeping Father and I can confidently wait for His deliverance and provision because He will always hear me and provide a way out. And that’s why prayer is so very important. Prayer changes things but mostly it changes me.