The Lord Jesus taught his followers to pray, Matt. 6. 9. He said that prayer, combined with carefully watching our behaviour, is the recipe for Christians avoiding falling into temptation, Matt. 26. 41. Obeying the commands of the Lord Jesus brings glory to God and this should be a Christian’s desire.
Failing to pray is a serious mistake as we are at risk of trusting in something or someone else other than God. If we have difficulties or unhappiness in our lives we must pray to God for help. James said, ‘You do not have because you do not ask’, Jas. 4. 2, NKJV.
When we pass through times of crises we may feel that we no longer know what to do. This heightens our awareness of the need for God’s guidance. Elijah is a great example of someone who proved God in prayer, reminding us that ‘that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective’. Jas. 5. 16 NRSV.
As the Lord Jesus faced the cross He prayed asking God for strength and help to do His Father’s will, Matt. 26. 39. If the Son of God prayed like this, how essential then that we should follow His example and pray for help in carrying out His will in our lives.
There are many reasons to pray. Here is a sample list:
Pray for believers who are being persecuted, Heb. 13. 3, the sick, and those who are passing through difficulty.
We should pray for the unsaved, which may include friends and family, who are in the perilous position of not yet knowing the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, Rom. 10. 1.
The wonderful thing about prayer is that we can pray for anything, anywhere, anytime, and God will hear us. However, we should be careful that what we ask for is in accordance with God’s word. When we have big decisions to take we need to pray. Nehemiah prayed before taking a number of big decisions in his life, Neh. 1. 4, and God led and directed his choices; He can do the same for you today.
We should expect results when we pray, Matt. 21. 22; we can cast all of our care upon God remembering that He loves us and cares for us, 1. Pet. 5. 7. He has infinite power and wisdom and understands our every weakness. Our prayers should therefore be filled with faith and we must believe that if our request is in accordance with God’s will then He will answer our prayer, Mark 11. 24. We can be assured that even if His answer is not what we expected, or doesn’t come as quickly as we had hoped, we should never doubt that His answer will always be for our ultimate good, Rom. 8. 28.
So the question is: Are you growing closer to God through personal prayer?
‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God’ Phil. 4. 6 ESV.