It was the exhortation of our Lord and Saviour (Jesus Christ) to His disciples that men should pray and not faint (Luke18:1). He urged His disciples to fervently pray for them not to fall into temptations (Matt 26:41).
A true Christian is characterized by a life of prayer and constant petitioning for their needs and the needs of others including the non-believers. A Christian who doesn’t pray is likened to a limping Christian.
The Bible shows examples of people who prayed, right from Genesis to Revelation.
They include but not limited to the following:
Most Christians, presuming nonbelievers too, know David. Knowing him as a Psalmist and a singer who in his desperate times prayed and in good times sang to the Almighty God, as highlighted in the following verses.
“Psalms 5:2-3 “Give heed to the voice of my cry my King and my God, for you I will pray, my voice shall you hear in the morning, oh Lord, in the morning will I direct it to you and I will look up.” ”
From the start of The Book of Psalms, we see David pouring his heart out to God in the morning. What an exhortation we have! Not only to wake up early in the morning but to also pour our hearts to our maker for His guidance throughout the day. From the song, “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” The sweet hour of prayer helps me and you escapes you escape the tempter’s snares”
Psalms 34:6, “The poor man cried out and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
The Psalmist says he is a poor man despite the fact that he was a King. David acknowledges that it is the Lord who called him and He is worthy of all Praise and adoration. Verse 15 says, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.
Psalms 86:6-7, “Give ear O Lord to my prayer and attend to the voice of my supplications, in the day of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me”
Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was sighed, he went home. And in his upper room with his windows open towards Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God as was his custom since early days”
Daniel is an epitome of prayer. He made prayer his lifestyle, by praying three times a day. Despite the hostile environment at that particular time, where the King issued a decree that no one should pray. Daniel, still believed in God and prayed, challenging us to always pray earnestly. An in depth look at the Book of Daniel is recommended.
Others examples include; Jeremiah; Ezra; Samuel (1samuel 12:19) and Amos (Amos 7:1-9).
Characteristics of a prayer
- A true prayer is offered to God
- It is brought to God as a petition and not as a command
- It is anchored and in accordance to the will of God.
- Prayer is accompanied by faith
Why should a Christian pray?
- Prayer is the only way a Christian communicates to God.
- Prayer is a sign of humility and a recognition that we need a supernatural intervention
- It is a way of adoring revering God as the Supreme Being
- Prayer is obedience to the master, Christ, who commanded us to pray.
Jonathan Edwards in his sermon titled ‘Hypocrites deficient in the duty of prayer’ referencing the book of Job, says that hypocrites continue in prayer for a season and after their need is answered, they cease to pray. He continues to say that, hypocrites continue praying due to the fear they have for hell, false comforts and joys. This excerpt can help us evaluate whether we are hypocrites or not.
C.H Spurgeon says “I’d rather teach one man to pray rather than to preach” and “prayer can never be in excess”.
Finally brethren, 1Thes5:16 “Be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
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