In this lesson, we are going to take a look at a subject integral to the life of every Christian – prayer. But before we get to the prayer of Paul, I want us to spend some time meditating on prayer itself.
Here are some things to consider:
Prayer can be defined as conversing with God. ‘Conversation’ implies that both persons are talking at times, and both persons are listening at times.
John 10:3-4 – The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name…the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Prayer implies relationship. The fact that you can even enter into God’s presence to speak with him is proof that you have relationship. Ephesians 1:5 told us that we are the sons of God, adopted through the blood of Christ. (As discussed in the last four lessons, God went to a lot of effort and expense in order to re-establish a relationship with us.)
Relationship implies spending time with another person and getting to know them. The more time you invest in a healthy relationship, the stronger it grows. Prayer is one of the ways we spend time with God. Surely you have noticed that prayer strengthens and deepens your relationship with the heavenly Father.
The deeper and stronger our relationship is with someone, the more we begin to confide in them. Being able to tell the Father our deepest desires and fears is one of the great pleasures of prayer because it lifts the burdens that are too heavy for us to bear on our own. Through prayer, we can release our troubles to him, knowing that he is the great I AM; all things are possible with him. He is bringing to pass the custom plan that he made for each one of us in this earthly life.
In a relationship, confidence and trust go hand in hand. As we confide in the Father, we trust that he will hear and answer.
I John 5:14-15 – This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
This confidence and trust that we have in God through prayer will manifest itself in the way we speak, the way we live and the choices we make. [You are correct – we will be discussing later on in greater detail.]
Just as no two relationships are exactly the same, no two people will have the exact same style of prayer. Please do not make the mistake of comparing your prayers to the prayers of anyone else. Your relationship with God is unique; therefore, your prayers will be unique too.
Have you noticed that God loves diversity? Take flowers for example. The variety of color, size, fragrance and shape is almost limitless. We see this variety in almost everything God created including animals and people. The fact is, your prayers (and your praise) are so unique, God can’t get them from anyone else. Be confident in the way YOU pray, don’t try to copy someone else and do not be intimidated because your style of prayer is different than anyone else. God loves loud and quiet, long and short, tearful and joyful, etc.
What would you compare prayer to?
- I think prayer is like a river in many ways. At times it is slow and gentle but during a storm it is fast and furious.
- Prayer brings refreshing, like a drink from a pure, cold stream.
- Prayer makes your travel through life much easier, like boating/rafting along a river is easier than walking.
- Prayer has different depths. Even the newest son of God can play in the shallow water while the more mature believer has access to the deeper waters.
- Water brings life to the natural realm. We consume it daily, because without it we would die in a very short time. Prayer also brings life to the natural realm. Consume it daily!
- Just as water carved out the Grand Canyon, prayer can change the landscape of your life, your family and your world.
What are your thoughts on prayer? Was there a particular time that God granted you release of a burden through prayer? How would you best describe prayer? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic before we begin to look at the prayer of Paul for the Ephesians.