True men of God come in all shapes and sizes. They differ in their temperament, level of education, nationality, eloquence, and preaching style. Although men of God differ in many ways, there is one trait, one virtue, one unmistakable similitude they all share. Every true man if God is a man of prayer. Throughout the Bible we find men of prayer, men who knew the importance of spending time with God, of speaking to God, and having uninterrupted fellowship with Him.
Some were warriors, some leaders of men, others prophets, others kings, but everyone whom God counted as His own, was a man of consistent prayer. For men such as these, men who saw the power and felt the presence of God, prayer wasn’t something they did when they had nothing else to do; it was a priority in their lives, and a practice which defined them.
The entire construct of this series began to take shape as I was reading my Bible one morning and happened upon a passage in the gospel according to Luke.
Luke 11:1, ‘And it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’”
At first glance, it is by no means an earth shattering scripture, nothing that would reshape the thought process of believers, nothing that would overwhelm an individual to the point of repenting for not spending more time in prayer, but as I began to ponder this verse, and the ensuing implications thereof, I realized how fundamentally relevant it is for the life of every believer who desires to have a strong and vibrant spiritual walk.
In order to understand the gravity of the aforementioned verse, there are certain truths concerning the life of Christ, as well as the lives of His disciples that we must take into account.
The first thing we must take into account is that the Disciples of Christ were those few blessed men who knew Him best while He walked the earth. They walked with Him, they ate with Him, they spend days on end being taught by Him, and they witnessed His life of ministry from beginning to end, to glorious beginning again.
These were men who had seen Jesus walk on water, these were men who had seen Jesus open blind eyes, and heal lame men, men who had witnessed all that He had done by the power with which He was endowed, yet when it came to asking something of Him, when it came to requesting a special privilege of sorts, it was prayer that they requested Jesus teach them.
The disciples did not ask for Christ to teach them how to cast out demons, how to heal the sick, how to walk on water, or how to open blind eyes. They saw the life of Jesus, they saw the power of Him, and they deduced that the most important and vital thing they could ask of the Christ, was to teach them how to pray.
Notwithstanding the numerous miracles they saw Jesus perform, notwithstanding the stirring sermons they heard Him preach, notwithstanding the character they saw in Him throughout the three years they were together, the one thing that stood out above the rest, the one thing that they witnessed Jesus do so often and so passionately that they too wanted to know how to go about doing it effectively, was the solemn act of prayer.
Jesus prayed a lot and His disciples couldn’t help but notice this! When in public His prayers would be short, but we often find Him off on His own, praying, often times through the night, communing with the Father, having the blessed fellowship that can only come about by the act of prayer.
The second thing we must take into account is the knowledge the Disciples of Christ possessed concerning His forerunner, and that John had also taught his disciples to pray. Prayer was not some newfangled thing that Jesus introduced upon His entering ministry. It was not the equivalent of gold fillings or oily hands for that age, but rather a foundational aspect of worship. By the time Jesus came on the scene, prayer was an accepted practice stretching back for thousands of years, from the very beginning of creation onward.
There are many types of prayer, and a variety of ways in which we can pray. Throughout this series we will study these aspects of prayer, define what prayer is, and also learn from the prayers and prayer lives of certain individuals within the word of God.
Prayer has fallen out of favor in our day and age. It is too time consuming, it’s not flashy enough, and no one lauds us for our virtue or our spirituality when we spend hours on end in our prayer closet just being in the presence of God.
Far too many believers today have adopted the mentality that if no one sees us doing a certain thing, then it really isn’t worth doing. If no one can see me on my knees, or on my face before God, if no one can note the tears or the passion or the fervor with which I come before my heavenly Father, what good is it?
Tragically, every act we perform within the church nowadays has become about feeding our egos, fueling our pride, and elevating ourselves above our fellow brothers in Christ. If we give, it must be in full view of all, with a ceremony and a plaque with our name on it so people will know we were generous. If we study the Bible, it must be to debate our fellow brothers, and discover some new as yet undiscovered revelation within its pages that will make us seem like the theologians we always knew we were. If we pray, it must be publicly, with well-rehearsed words, and practiced emphasis on the phrases which elicit an emotional response, throwing in the shaky voice and pregnant pause as an added bonus.
For the next few months, we will strip away the pretense, do away with the ego, and discover the true meaning of prayer, the power that resides in prayer, and the necessity of prayer in the life of every believer.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.