Posted On: January 23, 2017 • Author: Pastor David Bousquet • Category: Articles
The Forgotten Practice of Prayer
There is perhaps no greater neglected element of Christianity than prayer. For many of us, we have reduced prayer to a few moments before our meals, a few moments before we read the Bible, a few moments before we sleep, a few minutes during a service, and a few minutes in a crisis. Of all of these moments, it is perhaps those of crisis that are most appropriate to be a few minutes; for in the crisis our minds, hearts, emotions, and time is restricted by the conflict. However in our typical daily lives, no crisis or restriction limits our ability nor freedom to go to our Heavenly Father. I believe that the primary reason that prayer has become so neglected is because the believer has forgotten what it is, what it means, and what it does.
Prayer is intimate communion with the Father through the expressions of praise, desire, pain, sorrow, joy, blessing, and surrender in the name of Christ and communicated through the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, for many Christians prayer could be defined as thanking God for food and asking for stuff. Thus we have forgotten the most important element of prayer is the communion with the Father. Prayer is meant to be the method by which the individual comes to a personal relationship with the Father. It is through the intimacy of prayer that the Christian is able to share his struggles, but we have forfeited intimate communion for text message prayers. They lack substance and thus result in a lack of authenticity.
We have also forgotten what prayer means. The root of the word means to ask. We must learn to ask God for His blessings so that we are able to obtain those things that are necessary for growth. We are reminded in James that we have not because we ask not. When we ask of our Father it is to be with the concept of asking according to His will, thus true prayer requires that the individual ask with a will submitted to the Father’s will. Prayer requires surrender and humility of heart, petitioning heaven for our Father’s attention and goodwill. There is no substitute for this.
Finally, we have forgotten what prayer does. Prayer allows the individual access to the throne of grace to receive help and grace. Prayer results in close communion and fellowship with the Father resulting in the believer more accurately reflecting the Father’s character to those around. Having a constant attitude of prayer will result in taking into captivity every thought, which will cause the believer to have a mind steadfastly stayed on Christ. Temptation cannot long remain in the mind of he whose heart and mind is dedicated to praying without ceasing. Prayer quite literally draws the believer into conforming to Christ.
Let us never neglect nor forget that this precious element of our faith was opened up through the precious death and resurrection of Christ. Thus prayer came with a high price, and as such it is to be a defining characteristic of Christians. Pray without ceasing, and enjoy the sweet communion with the Father.