The Advent Part 83
There are certain requirements that the Scriptures have for true prayer, the kind of prayer that goes beyond the ceiling, all the way to the throne room of God, and today, if only briefly I would like to cover some of those requirements.
It is sad, even tragic, that few know the keys to true prayer nowadays, and rather than pray as the Bible tells us to pray many prayers are simply a mini sermon of sorts, or a string of worn out and tired clichés. There is untold power in prayer when it is done right, and only in the light of Scripture can we know how it is that we ought to pray.
The first requirement of true prayer is unity. Whatever it is that we are praying for, whatever it is that we are bringing before God, it must be done in unity, and as one.
Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
When we meditate on this scripture passage, we realize the enormity of Christ’s promise to us. If we are united in our prayers, if two agree concerning anything they ask, it will be done for them by the Father. Not only will our prayers be answered when we approach the throne room of God in unity, but when we are gathered in His name, He is present and in our midst.
The second requirement of true prayer is to believe for that which we are praying for. Prayer is not a wish list of things we want or need, when we pray we must believe that we will receive from the hand of God that which we have believed for.
Matthew 21:21-22, “So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And all things whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.’”
Shortly before His soliloquy on having faith and believing for that which we pray for, Jesus had cursed a fig tree, which had immediately withered before the marveled eyes of the disciples that walked with Him. Jesus didn’t just speak of faith as some abstract notion; He possessed it, and proved that He possessed it to His disciples.
Now Jesus says something truly wondrous to His disciples, and by extension to us, namely that if we have faith and do not doubt, not only will we be able to do what was done to the fig tree, but say to a mountain be moved and cast into the sea, and it will be done.
The third requirement of true prayer, and this has more to do with seeing our prayers answered, than it does with how it is that we ought to pray, is persistence. Yes, we must be persistent in our prayers, and knock on the door of heaven until He opens and answers our plea.
Luke 11:5-9, “And He said to them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’”
Some of us give up too quickly when we pray, and when we entreat God, not realizing that He honors our persistence, and if we keep asking it will be given to us, if we keep seeking, we will find that which we seek, and if we keep knocking, it will be opened for us.
The fourth requirement of true prayer is that we seek the will of God in our prayers. If Jesus submitted to the will of the Father, if Jesus prayed that it would not be His will that would be done but the Father’s, then it is our duty and responsibility to likewise pray and entreat God.
Luke 22:41-42, “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
God knows what’s best for His children, He sees beyond the now, beyond today, and though we might not see the good fruit that a certain trial or hardship might produce in our lives, He does, and as such we must pray that His will be done in us and through us at all times.
I am certain that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was uncomfortable, and even debilitating to him. Having suffered all that he had suffered for the cause of Christ, having been shipwrecked, endured hunger, whippings and all manner of violence to his person, the thorn of which he inquired of God, and asked that God remove must have been painful to say the least. Pray as he might however, with faith and persistence, God’s answer was simply that His grace was sufficient for Paul. Having received his answer from God, Paul accepted it as His will, and neither demanded nor tried to convince God that it would be better if the thorn were removed. Paul acquiesced to the will of God, and he accepted it without murmur.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.