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The Truth About Prayer
by Dwayne Harris
4/20/2011 / Christian Living
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, yet for many Christians this great resource seems to go untapped and overlooked. Many people never develop a growing prayer life and therefore find themselves easily frustrated and fatigued in their service for the Lord. They seem to lack clear direction and purpose in life and easily buckle under the constant onslaught of the enemy. We can never afford to cut off the very supply line that God has chosen as the means to feed and guide us as we go forth to serve him. Take a few moments to consider the following truths as it pertains to prayer.
1) No prayer is bad prayer.
While teaching classes on prayer I have heard people say comments like, "I don't really know how to pray." or "I just don't pray that well." They seem to use these arguments as some sort of excuse and justification for their absence of praying all together. We feel inadequate to approach the God of all creation because we feel that we lack a necessary spiritual etiquette, or the ability to speak in proper King James English. I have had people tell me that they have a hard time speaking to God because they don't really comprehend or know Him, yet we seem to have no issues with driving up to the local fast food restaurant and confidently speaking through a tiny box to some person that we have never met before.
Rest assured there is no such thing as a good prayer or a bad prayer, there's just prayer or the absence of prayer. God truly desires to interact with us just as we are. Your prayers are to be as unique and individual as you yourself. We must realize that prayer is way too important for us to rule out its existence or down play its importance. Many people only spend between two and five minutes a day in prayer and wonder why they don't know God.
Imagine trying to nurture and grow your relationship with your significant other in that same fashion. You would quickly discover that any relationship with such restrictions is doomed for failure. Pray! Pray often! In fact follow his commands in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and "Pray without ceasing."
2) Prayer was designed to be proactive not reactive.
Many people view prayer as something that is solely reactive. In other words we tend to consider the need for prayer only when faced with a pressing need, or as a knee jerk reaction to obstacles and trials in our lives. We pull prayer out of the medicine cabinet like some kind of treatment for the ailments of life long after the symptoms have already set in. God would instead desire that we use it as a precautionary medicine to prevent the ailments in the first place.
Jesus was talking to his disciples after their failed attempt to confront and gain victory over a demon that possessed a boy telling them, "This type does not come out but through prayer and fasting." Mthw 17:21 Now I would venture to say that the disciples were most likely doing a lot of prayer as they attempted to gain the victory over the enemies stronghold. However, what Jesus was saying is that there is a clear difference in what can be achieved with responsive praying as opposed to proactive praying.
Long before Jesus would enter into the crowds to minister to others he could be seen slipping away so that he could spend time alone with His father in prayer. It was this art of making prayer a proactive part of his life that allowed him to go forth with assurance, clear direction, and the strength to serve in power.
3) Prayer is about aligning ourselves with God's will, not convincing him to align with ours.
Many people view prayer as simply a means of asking God for desired items. It is as if he resides inside some magic lamp waiting on someone to summons him up so that he can grant them the wishes they desire. Prayer is not just a tool used to petition God for ourselves, but a means by which we begin to align our hearts and minds with His and in doing so discover His perfect will for our lives. This can only happen when we spend time in prayer without our preplanned agendas and wish list.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray he gave them a model of prayer that began with seeking God's will, and concluded with the same. In fact, nowhere in the Lord's Prayer did Jesus focus on himself except in the basic request for just that portion needed to sustain him for the day. He wasn't asking for a better house or better car. He didn't seek fame or fortune. Perhaps the greatest thing that we can learn from the greatest example of prayer is that true satisfaction in life does not come when our will is sought after, but when God's is.
In any conflict the first thing that is attacked by the enemy is the lines of communication. Without the steady flow of valuable information and guidance the army will loose its effectiveness and ability to adequately give resistance.
We must not let the enemy shut down our communication with God by making us feel inadequate, or by telling us that there is no need to pray until problems arise. In doing this we give him valuable ground in our lives. We must also push away our selfish desires and pride and learn like Jesus to pray, "Not my will Lord, but yours be done." Perhaps as we become compelled to grow and spend time in prayer we will realize that we can move a lot farther in life on our knees than we ever can on our feet. Go spend time with him today in prayer. He's waiting to hear from you.
"And you shall seek me, and find me, when you search for me with all your heart."
Dwayne Harris is the founder of Fresh Outpouring Ministries. He is an emerging voice in the cause of evangelism and has been featured on Christian talk-radio, Christian television, and is a published devotional writer. For more info. visit www.freshoupouring.com.
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