21. Iíll Talk With Jesus
Please remember to pray before reading!
Why Do We Need to Pray?
God speaks to us through many different avenues: nature, providence, His Word, and through the influence of His Spirit. But it's not enough for us just to hear God's voice. He wants a response from us. He wants to have us open up and communicate with Him.
Prayer is like opening up our heart to our best friend. It's not for God's benefit, but for our own. Prayer puts us in the right attitude towards God. It lifts up our thoughts toward Him so we can experience a relationship with Him.
When Jesus was on the earth. He taught His disciples how to pray. There is much we can learn about prayer from God's Word. Jesus gave us the assurance that God is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.
Jesus gave us an example of an earnest and fervent prayer life. Every morning He went to His Father for a fresh supply of power and love. Though He was human, He was sinless, yet He found prayer an absolute necessity. He found great comfort and joy in His connection with His Father. If the Son of God felt that He needed to pray constantly, how much more should we as sinners feel our need.
We Need to Pray More
It's really amazing that we don't pray more than we do. The Father is just waiting to pour out His blessing on us. He's ready to come to our help in the smallest detail of life. He has plenty of power to help us with any struggle over evil. We are so helpless without His power, yet we hesitate to ask for it. What must the angels think of us? They find their highest delight in being close to God and talking with Him. Why are we satisfied to go our own way without the love and help we need so desperately?
When we neglect prayer, Satan surrounds us with his darkness. He whispers his temptations to us and we fall into sin because we don't ask God for help. This is so unnecessary! Don't we realize that sincere prayer is the key that unlocks the treasures of heaven? We need a continual connection with God to keep from going astray. Satan is constantly trying to keep us from praying because he knows the power that comes with prayer.
God has promised to hear and answer our prayers, but He needs our cooperation. Certain attitudes are necessary in order for us to be able to be in tune with Heaven. God wants us to recognize our need of His help and to ask for it. He has given us a free will, and He respects our choice. It's not that He's unwilling to help us, but in order to honor our choice, He waits until we want Him to help us.
If we stubbornly hang on to any sin, we are blocking God from answering our prayers. It is only a repentant heart that is open to receive blessings from God. We can never do anything to deserve God's favor, but we can prepare our hearts to accept it.
If we want God to answer our prayers, it is important for us to believe that He means what He says. Faith is the ingredient that activates the promises in God's Word. God wants us to trust His Word because He is trustworthy.
Sometimes our prayers are not answered at the time or in the way we want them to be answered. Even then, we can have the assurance that God has heard and will answer our prayers. Sometimes we ask for things that are not best for us. God knows all things, and He answers our prayers in the way we would want Him to if we knew what He knows. That's why we must trust in His wisdom and not try to insist that God answer just the way we want. That's not true faith at all. We need to be willing to let God have His way in our lives. When we truly trust Him and believe that He loves us, we will have confidence that He's working everything out for our best good.
It is so important to trust God. Satan will try to put doubts and fears in our minds, but we don't have to listen to them. God has given us so much evidence that He loves us. We can rest assured that He is filled with compassion and tenderness and we can rely on His wisdom.
We must have a forgiving spirit toward others if we want God to forgive us. We won't appreciate the mercy of God for us unless we are willing to forgive those who wrong us.
Our prayer life is to be a constant exchange between us and God. We are in need of the power and pardon of Jesus continually, and this only flows into our lives as we open our hearts to Him. We need to be connected to Jesus so His life can flow into us and our response of love and worship can flow back to Him.
This unbroken connection involves diligence and perseverance on our part. We need to guard our quiet time with God. We need to go to places where other Christians gather to pray. Prayer must be a priority in a Christian's life.
Family prayer time brings a tremendous blessing into the home life. When a family makes God the center of the home, it eases the friction and subdues selfishness.
Don't Neglect Private Prayer
The most important prayer time is our private time with God. Public prayer will not take the place of seeking God on a personal basis. We can't be spiritual without spending time alone with God every day. This is where one finds strength to meet the trials and temptations that we face.
As we talk quietly with God and let Him speak to us, we will find peace and joy that bonds us to Him. Then, as we go from our quiet time, our thoughts will often be lifted up in prayer. Because we have found a precious friend in Jesus, we will walk with Him all day long. We will find that Satan has no power over us as long as we are connected to Jesus.
As we learn the experience of turning to Jesus throughout the day, prayer will become natural to us. Our hearts will turn to God for help in every situation. In whatever we are doing, we will be eager to receive the assurance of God's approval. Recognizing our dependence upon Him, we will continually be open to His guidance and assistance.
It is not possible to bother Jesus with our prayers. We can never pray too much. He is extremely interested in our happiness and in our struggles. There is no sin too terrible to take to Him. There is no problem that is too difficult for Him to solve. Nothing that happens to us is insignificant to God. He cares about each individual as if he or she were the only person in the whole world. He would have died for just one!
While praying is very important, God doesn't want us to isolate ourselves so that all we do is pray. If we didn't mingle with people or bear our responsibilities, we soon wouldn't have anything about which to pray. We need to follow Jesus' example. He balanced His life between prayer and labor for God's kingdom. By neglecting either one, we become self-focused.
God wants Christians to get together with other Christians so that they can encourage one another. We need to hear how God is leading others, and we need to share our own experiences. We gain a great blessing by Christian fellowship. Talking about Jesus makes Him more real in our own life. If Jesus is precious to us, we can't help but talk about Him!
We will experience deeper joy in our lives if we focus on praising God more. If all we do is ask God for things and neglect to praise Him, we are missing out on the higher dimension of prayer. Praising God allows Him to fill us with joy and gratitude. As we lift our thoughts to the goodness and beauty of God's character, our petty grievances melt away. When we appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus and praise God, our hearts will be lifted up to heavenly places.