HOW TO PRAY? 11 REASONS WHY WE PRAY?
HOW TO PRAY? 11 REASONS WHY WE PRAY? The Importance of Prayer. In the 6th chapter of Ephesians in the 18th verse, we read words that put the tremendous importance of prayer with startling and overwhelming force: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
PRAY PRAY PRAY
When we stop to weigh the meaning of these words, then note the connection in which they are found, the intelligent child of God is driven to say, “I must pray, pray, pray. I must put all my energy and all my heart into prayer. Whatever else I do, I must pray.” The Revised Version is, if possible, stronger than the Authorized: “With all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
Note the ALLS:
- “with prayer,” “at all seasons,” “in ALL perseverance,” “for ALL the saints.” Note the piling up of strong words, “prayer,” “supplication,” “perseverance.” Note once more the strong expression, “watching thereunto,” more literally, “being sleepless thereunto.”
- Paul realized the natural slothfulness of man, and especially his natural slothfulness in prayer. How seldom we pray things through! How often the church and the individual get right up to the verge of a great blessing in prayer and just then let go, get drowsy, quit.
- I wish that these words “being sleepless unto prayer” might burn into our hearts. I wish the whole verse might burn into our hearts.
But why is this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming Is prayer so needful?
1. First of all,
BECAUSE THERE IS A DEVIL.
- He is cunning, he is mighty, he never rests, he is ever plotting the downfall of the child of God; and if the child of God relaxes in prayer, the devil will succeed in ensnaring him.
2. A second reason
- For this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that,
PRAYER IS GOD’S APPOINTED WAY FOR OBTAINING THINGS, AND THE GREAT SECRET OF ALL LACK IN OUR EXPERIENCE, IN OUR LIFE,, AND OUR WORK IS NEGLECT OF PRAYER.
- James brings this out very forcibly in the 4th chapter and 2nd verse of his epistle: “Ye have not because ye ask not.” These words contain the secret of poverty and powerlessness of the average Christian neglect of prayer.
“Why is it,” many a Christian is asking, “I make so little progress in my Christian life?”
- “Neglect of prayer,” God answers. “You have not because you ask not.”
- “Why is it,” many a minister is asking, “I see so little fruit from my labors?”
- Again God answers, “Neglect of prayer. You have not because you ask not.”
- “Why is it,” many a Sunday-School teacher is asking,
- “that I see so few converted in my Sunday-school class?”
- Still, God answers, “Neglect of prayer. You have not because you ask not.”
- “Why is it,” both ministers and churches are asking, “that the church of Christ makes so little headway against unbelief and error and sin and worldliness?”
- Once more we hear God answering, “Neglect of prayer.
- You have not because you ask not.
3. The third reason
- For this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that,
THOSE MEN WHOM GOD SET FORTH AS A PATTERN OF WHAT HE EXPECTED CHRISTIANS TO BE — THE APOSTLES — REGARDED PRAYER AS THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS OF THEIR LIVES.
- When the multiplying responsibilities of the early church crowded in upon them, they “called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not the reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables.
- Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
But WE WILL GIVE OURSELVES CONTINUALLY TO PRAYER
- And to the ministry of the Word.” It is evident from what Paul wrote to the churches and individuals about praying for them, that very much of his time and strength, and thought was given to prayer. (Rom. 1:9, R.V.; Eph. 1:15,16; Col. 1:9, R.V.; 1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Tim. 1:3, R.V.)
4. But there is a still weightier reason for this constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer.
It is, PRAYER OCCUPIED A VERY PROMINENT PLACE AND PLAYED A VERY IMPORTANT PART IN THE EARTHLY LIFE OF OUR LORD. Turn, for example, to Mark 1:35.
We read, “And in the morning, rising a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
- The preceding day had been a very busy and exciting one, but Jesus shortened the hours of needed sleep that He might arise early and give Himself to more sorely needed prayer.
Turn again to Luke 6:12, where we read,
- “And it came to pass in those days that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Our Savior found it necessary on occasion to take a whole night for prayer.
The words “pray” and “prayer” are used at least twenty-five times in connection with our Lord in the brief record of His life in the four Gospels,
- And His praying is mentioned in places where the words are not used. Prayer took much of the time and strength of Jesus, and a man or woman who does not spend much time in prayer, cannot properly be called a follower of Jesus Christ.
5. There is another reason
- For constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer that seems if possible even more forcible than this, namely,
PRAYING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PRESENT MINISTRY OF OUR RISEN LORD.
Christ’s ministry did not close with His death.
- His atoning work was finished then, but when He rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father, He entered upon other work for us just as important in its place as His atoning work. It cannot be divorced from his atoning work; it rests upon that as its basis, but it is necessary to our complete salvation.
What that great present work is, by which He carries our salvation on to completeness, we read in Heb. 7:25,
- “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing HE EVER LIVETH TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM.” This verse tells us that Jesus can save us unto the uttermost, not merely FROM the uttermost, but UNTO the uttermost, unto entire completeness, absolute perfection, because He not merely died, but because He also “ever liveth.”
The verse also tells us for what purpose He now lives, “TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR US,” to pray.
- Praying is the principal thing He is doing these days. It is by His prayers that He is saving us.
- The same thought is found in Paul’s remarkable, triumphant challenge in Rom. 8:34
“Who is he that shall condemn?
- It is Christ Jesus that died, yea rather, that was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, WHO ALSO MAKETH INTERCESSION FOR US.” (R.V.)
- If we then are to have fellowship with Jesus Christ in His present work, we must spend much time in prayer; we must give ourselves to earnest, constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer.
I know of nothing that has so impressed me with a sense of the importance of praying at all seasons,
- being much and constantly in prayer, as the thought that that is the principal occupation at present of my risen Lord.
- I want to have fellowship with Him and to that end I have asked the Father that whatever else He may make me, to make me at all events an intercessor, to make me a man who knows how to pray, and who spends much time in prayer.
6. The sixth reason
- For constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that,
PRAYER IS THE MEANS THAT GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR OUR RECEIVING MERCY, AND OBTAININGGRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED.
- Heb. 4:16 is one of the simplest and sweetest verses in the Bible, “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
These words make it very plain that God has appointed a way by which we shall seek and obtain mercy and grace.
- That way is prayer; a bold, confident, outspoken approach to the throne of grace, the holiest place of God’s presence, where our sympathizing High Priest, Jesus Christ, has entered on our behalf. (Verses 14, 15.)
- Mercy is what we need, grace is what we must have, or all our life and effort will end in complete failure.
Prayer is the way to get them.
- There is infinite grace at our disposal, and we make it ours experimentally by prayer.
- Oh, if we only realized the fullness of God’s grace, that is ours for the asking, its height, and depth and length and breadth, I am sure that we would spend more time in prayer. The measure of our appropriation of grace is determined by the measure of our prayers.
7. The next reason
For constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that,
PRAYER IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE WAY JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF HAS APPOINTED FOR HIS DISCIPLES TO OBTAIN FULLNESS OF JOY.
- He states this simply and beautifully in John 16:24, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be fulfilled.”
- “Made full” is the way the Revised Version reads. Who is there that does not wish his joy-filled full? Well, the way to have it filled full is by praying in the name of Jesus. We all know people whose joy is filled full, indeed, it is just running over, is shining from their eyes, bubbling out of their very lips, and running off their fingertips when they shake hands with you. Coming in contact with them is like coming in contact with an electrical machine charged with gladness.
- Now people of that sort are always people that spend much time in prayer.
Why is it that prayer in the name of Christ brings such fullness of joy?
- In part, because we get what we ask. But that is not the only reason, nor the greatest. It makes God real.
- When we ask something definite of God, and He gives it, how real God becomes! He is right there! It is blessed to have a God who is real, and not merely an idea.
- I remember how once I was taken suddenly and seriously sick all alone in my study. I dropped to my knees and cried to God for help. Instantly all pain left me I was perfectly well. It seemed as if God stood right there, and had put out His hand and touched me.
- The joy of the healing was not so great as the joy of meeting God.
- There is no greater joy on earth or in heaven, than communion with God, and prayer in the name of Jesus brings us into communion with Him. The Psalmist was surely not speaking only of future blessedness, but also present blessedness when he said, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy.” (Ps. 16.11.) O the unutterable joy of those moments when in our prayers we press into the presence of God!
Does someone say? “I have never known any such joy as that in prayer”?
- Do you take enough leisure for prayer to get into God’s presence?
- Do you give yourself up to prayer in the time which you do take?
8. The eighth reason
- For constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that
PRAYER, IN EVERY CARE AND ANXIETY AND NEED OF LIFE, WITH THANKSGIVING, IS THE MEANS THAT GOD HAS APPOINTED FOR OBTAINING FREEDOM FROM ALL ANXIETY, AND THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING.
- “Be careful with nothing,” says Paul, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6,7.)
- To many, this seems at the first glance, the picture of a life that is beautiful, but beyond the reach of ordinary mortals; not so at all.
The verse tells us how life is attainable by every child of God: “Be careful for nothing,” or as the
- Revised Version reads, “In nothing be anxious.” The remainder of the verse tells us how, and it is very simple: “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
- What could be plainer or more simple than that? Just keep in constant touch with God, and when any trouble or vexation, great or small, comes up, speak to Him about it, never forgetting to return thanks for what He has already done.
What will the result be?
- “The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” (R.V.)
- That is glorious and as simple as it is glorious! Thank
- God, many are trying it. Don’t you know anyone who is always serene?
- Perhaps he is a very stormy man by his natural make-up, but troubles and conflicts and reverses and bereavements may sweep around him, and the peace
of God which passeth all understanding guards his heart and his thoughts in Christ Jesus.
- We all know such persons.
- How do they manage it?
- Just by prayer, that is all. Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.
- Some of us let the hurry of our lives crowd prayer out, and what a waste of time and energy and nerve force there is by the constant worry! One night of prayer will save us from many nights of insomnia. Time spent in prayer is not wasted, but time invested in big interest.
9. The ninth reason
- for constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that,
PRAYER IS THE METHOD THAT GOD HIMSELF HAS APPOINTED FOR OUR OBTAINING THE HOLY SPIRIT.
- Upon this point, the Bible is very plain. Jesus says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke 11:13.)
- Men are telling us in these days, very good men too, “You must not pray for the Holy Spirit,” but what are they going to do with the plain statement of Jesus Christ, “How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit TO THEM THAT ASK HIM?”
10. The tenth reason
- For constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer is that,
PRAYER IS THE MEANS THAT CHRIST HAS APPOINTED WHEREBY OUR HEARTS SHALL NOT BECOME OVERCHARGED WITH SURFEITING AND DRUNKENNESS AND CARES OF THIS LIFE, AND SO THE DAY OF CHRIST’S RETURN COME UPON US SUDDENLY AS A SNARE.
- One of the most interesting and solemn passages upon prayer in the Bible is along this line. (Luke 21:34-36)
- “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
- For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell in the face of the whole earth.
- Watch ye therefore, and PRAY ALWAYS, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
- According to this passage, there is only one way in which we can be prepared for the coming of the Lord when He appears, that is, through much prayer.
11. There is one more reason
- For constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer, and it is a mighty one:
BECAUSE OF WHAT PRAYER ACCOMPLISHES.
- Much has been said upon that already, but there is much also that should be added.
- (1) Prayer promotes our spiritual growth as almost nothing else, indeed as nothing else but Bible study; and true prayer and true Bible study go hand in hand.
- (2) Prayer brings power into our work. If we wish power for any work to which God calls us, be it preaching, teaching, personal work, or the rearing of our
children, we can get it by earnest prayer.
- (3) Prayer avails for the conversion of others. There are few converted in this world unless in connection with someone’s prayers.
- (4) Prayer brings blessings to the church.