What is prayer if not talking to, or with, God? I think it must be the most inclusive privilege on earth. Anyone can try it, irrespective of age, race, social status, education, or even beliefs. Everyone can talk to God Almighty, though admittedly we probably do so with varying degrees of success. As prayer is essentially relational, I don’t think there is a rule book for it, and I don’t believe that anyone can truly claim to be an expert. Having said that, Jesus, of course, was supremely qualified in this field. Every prayer He uttered was heard and answered by Father God. The key here, I believe, is that Jesus always prayed in line with God’s will, and never against it. He did just as He taught us to pray, ‘May Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’.
The late Johannes Facius was a gifted Bible teacher and spent much of his life leading national and international prayer movements. I once heard him say that he could give us the best sermon on prayer we would ever hear. Everyone listened attentively for what was to come, and he said: “The best sermon on prayer comes from Romans 8:26 which says that we don’t know what we should pray for as we ought to!”
The truth is that many times we pray as if God is desperate for our advice on how to solve the world’s, and our, personal problems. We tell Him exactly just what to do and how to do it. But surely this cannot be what prayer is all about! I believe that the most effective and powerful prayers come when we catch God’s heart for something. We get in touch with what He wants. Amazingly, the Lord likes to co-operate with us, and He likes it when we ask Him to do the things which He already wanted to do. When we ask Him something in line with His will, we are 100% certain to get a positive prayer answer. In his kind of prayer, we draw close to Him, and we get to know, and even feel, something of His heart. So perhaps the best way to start prayer is by admitting that we don’t really know how to pray and by asking Him to lead us by His Spirit. This leads to very dynamic prayer times.
Prayer, instead of being a heavy burden, becomes a total privilege. It is a place of intimacy with God, of knowing Him, listening to Him as well as talking to Him, of wrestling with Him. I’m sure than none of us will ever become perfect like Jesus on this side of eternity. None of us will pray as perfectly as He prayed. But as we grow in relationship with God, as we get to know Him better, understand His word more, and become more fully surrendered to His will, He will lead us by His Spirit to pray inspired prayers that will change the world and bring His Kingdom rule on earth.
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