Throughout the week, my extended family conducts a family prayer ministry. This is a valuable time for all of us to come together and enjoy each other, share the word of God, pray for our family and others and catch up on events. We are not all centrally located so this is a time that is that has become very important to me since I have recently re-connected with my family after being separated for over 20 years.
One day last week the topic of prayer became part of the family discussion, mainly how to pray. Now, we all know that we have a model prayer that was given to us in the book of Luke (Luke 11:1-13) when the disciples asked, Lord, teach us to pray (11:1). In Matthew 6:6, we are instructed to go into a room and close the door and pray (Matthew 6: 5-7). In Matthew 26, Jesus prayed during the last supper in the breaking of the bread and taking of the wine (Matthew 26: 26-30). We all know of the prayer in the Garden at Gethsemane before the betrayal (Matthew 26: 36-56). These models of prayer were at a time where instruction was needed and prayer was seen evident and effectual in that day.
The next level of the discussion with family was in making sure that we acknowledge our heavenly Father when we go into prayer. When we are in prayer with God, acknowledging God is showing that we are drawing nearer to God and preparing to enjoy His presence during this time and every time we are with Him in this manner. In this reverent state, we are reminded of the grace and mercy that has been shown us to be able to approach the throne in this manner and that in all our ways we acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:6). We are letting God know that we are seeking Him before we step out into our daily lives and even through the events of our daily lives (Matt 6:33). Prayer is our strength and our ability to stand before God in a manner pleasing to Him (Luke 21:36).
As for myself, my personal relationship with God is one that grows on a daily basis. I faced a moment of turmoil not too long ago that had me questioning whether or not God was hearing me or if I was even praying the right way for Him to hear me. I had to remind myself that God, a God of love that surpasses all that I know or could possibly fathom, knows what is best for me. Truth be told, we must not give up and we must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Phil 4:6) and never give up on prayer (Luke 18:1) I was not taking the sage advice I was handing to others ……not in our time but in His time. God never abandons you. When you think your prayer is not working, it is simply His way of saying to trust me and my timing and all will be taken care of. Even in that time of not getting what you think you need, you may find yourself drawing closer to Him through faith and patience. We must be sincere in our prayer and wait on the answer. We must also believe what we ask in prayer and that we will receive it (Mark 11:24)
We must also understand that prayer is not a time for show. Prayer is a time of sincerity, closeness, reverence and transparency with God. The bible clearly instructs that we are not to stand out and be seen (Matthew 6:5, Luke 18:10-14). Prayers do not always have to be long and drawn out, sometimes the most effective prayer can be very short or even calling on the sweet name of Jesus. Sometimes we don’t have the words to say because we are overcome with emotion but the Holy Spirit will intercede for us (Rom 8:26-27).
Prayer is moment that allows us to slow down and take into consideration all that has been given to us by our Heavenly Father. We are consistently covered by grace and mercy and show love that has no boundary. His favor rests upon me and I am so glad that it does!