Thoughts from The Bible

Prayer in Christian Worship
by Terry Broome

For too many people, prayer is saved primarily for use as one of the “acts” of worship and for special offerings before eating our food. Some fail to do either. For too long skepticism has clouded our faith in prayer. To the Christian, prayer must become far more a “way of life” than merely a step in satisfying a requirement of Christian worship.
Robert Milligan wrote a century and a half ago, “It is, therefore, a most benevolent and gracious provision of the Scheme of Redemption that God permits, invites, and encourages his children to pray, to pray always, to pray everywhere, and for all things that are necessary to their present and eternal well-being.” (The Scheme Of Redemption, p. 367). Jesus said in Matthew 21:22, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

I am so thankful that the Father of mercies has invited us to… “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Prayer should become to a faithful child of God a natural impulse, the most logical “first thing we think of in good times as well as in bad.” When something exciting happens, many of us have a reaction, “I can’t wait until I tell (name of some person) about it.” We generally thrill to share the good news with others, and in most cases, we don’t hesitate to share the heartaches as well. Our goal should be to develop the “habit of prayer” to the extent that we just can’t wait to “tell God about it.” Of course, He already knows, but how does that detract from our desire or need to talk to Him about it? That’s what prayer is for.

Our word “prayer” covers a wide spectrum of communications with God from petitions, supplications (earnest entreaty), intercession, to thanksgiving and praise (1 Timothy 2:1). In humble prayer, the mind turns in upon itself and our conscience is awakened. We there see ourselves for all our inadequacies in light of Heaven. It might be easy to lie to others, but it’s hard to lie when one is talking directly with God. In prayer one is able to truthfully open up to God acknowledging our weaknesses, our needs, our hurts, our appreciation. In such a state of mind, we are compelled to be humble, to repent of our sins, to forgive our enemies, to sympathize with the afflicted, to adore our Creator, to love our redeemer. As we become attached to those we associate with much, even so we grow attached to God through our frequent association with Him in prayer.

The disciples on one occasion asked the Lord to teach them to pray: “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). We should spend time reading the prayers of Jesus, and men like Paul who fills much of his texts with his prayers for the brethren. The words are spiritual. They honor the Lord. They express the earnest feelings and needs in both their hearts. When Jesus gave the disciples a model prayer, He did not give them a “ritual” that’s to be repeated at special events or as a replacement to genuine heartfelt petitions. Rather, He shared with them ways in which God is appropriately honored, and in which needs of all kinds are expressed, for ourselves and for others. May prayer fill our hearts and our Spiritual service to God.
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.

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