Monday, February 16, 2009

Teach Me To Pray, pt.1

I recently borrowed a book from a friend called Lord, Teach Me To Pray, by John MacArthur. It turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read about prayer. He covers many topics and questions about prayer, and I found it to be full of great encouragement and words of inspiration to apply to my own prayer life. So I thought I’d jot down some of the highlights of the book, and share them in here. I’ll do this chapter by chapter for the next little while.
So, beginning today is chapter 1:

Why Pray?

Because we know that God’s power is invincible and His will unhindered, we should have unwavering faith in coming to His throne in prayer. Any view that strips believers of their passion to pray is disobedient Christianity.
The Bible details at least five reasons we ought to pray:
  1. Prayer Is Commanded – (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) This is not a mere suggestion – we don’t have the option to ignore it because we can’t determine how our prayer fits into God’s plans. Even though we cannot know how our prayers work within God’s eternal rule and purpose, we are to pray.

  2. It Is A Sin Not To Pray – Because we are commanded to pray, it is an act of disobedience if we don’t pray. Prayer is a duty, and the neglect of prayer is therefore a sin.

  3. Prayer Gives Glory To God – The primary issue in prayer is not obtaining what we want but allowing God to display His glory. The eternal benefit of prayer is that it magnifies God’s glory. (Daniel 9:16-17)

  4. Prayer Aligns Us With God’s Purposes – Often we pray with the idea that we can pull God into line with our plans. But that is not the goal of prayer. When you begin to seek God’s purposes in your prayers, your heart will be aligned with His will.

  5. Prayer Results In Answers – God answers prayer, and that alone should be reason enough to pray. (James 5:16)
God sovereignly uses our prayers to fulfill His perfect plan. Therefore, our petitions should reflect our heart’s desires. At the same time, we show our willingness to surrender our will to God’s own holy purposes.

A Prayer Of Charles Spurgeon:

Our Father, Thy children who know Thee delight themselves in Thy presence. We are never happier than when we are near Thee. We have found a little heaven in prayer. It has eased our load to tell Thee of its weight; it has relieved our wound to tell Thee of its smart; it has restored our spirit to confess to Thee its wanderings. No place like the mercy seat for us.
We do bless Thee, Lord, for instituting the blessed ordinance of prayer. What could we do without it, and we take great shame to ourselves that we should use it so little. We pray that we may be men of prayer, taken up with it, that it may take us up and bear us as on its wings towards heaven.

Scripture verses mentioned:

Ephesians 6:18 - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 - pray continually

Daniel 9:16-17 - O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favour on your desolate sanctuary.

James 5:16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

No comments: