James 5:16-18 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. NKJV
The vocal minority of atheists continue to rail against Christians and religions of all kinds, as the events of the last few weeks dealing with hurricanes “seem” to prove their point that prayer does not work because, to them, there is no God. They berate Christians for praying, saying that this does no good and is a waste of time. They strongly suggest that Christians need to “put their money where their mouth is” instead of praying to a deity that does not exist.
For the Christian, however, we know and believe in God, therefore we pray. Prayer is a time of communion with God, that God ENCOURAGES so that we can share with him what is going on in our lives. In the Garden of Eden, God and man enjoyed a relationship with one another that was broken by sin (Genesis 3). God has requested prayer since then to continue the relationship with God. We hear what he wants and desires by reading, meditating and studying his word; and he hears from us about our problems, heartaches and joys. Let it be known that God already knows what is going on in our lives, but as a Father, he wants to hear from his children. He knows that this builds a closer communion with him, and for the child of God, should we not desire a closer communion with God constantly?
Hence, we are taught in Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, NKJV
Paul taught us that “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1 Timothy 2:8) NKJV
Again, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul wrote, “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. “ This is not some incessant words on our lips, but the attitude of mind to regularly and frequently pray. It denotes a willingness to talk with God, to share our burdens, confess our sins, and pray for strength and courage as we deal with what the world throws at us.
We are assured that God hears and listens to the prayers of the righteous: 1 Peter 3:11-12 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” NKJV
Even though we are commanded to pray, many neglect this wonderful communion with God. They will pray at worship services, and during times of trouble, but not much more that that. Neglect of prayer denotes neglect in other phases of life as a child of God.
What should we pray for?
Those who persecute us—Matthew 5:44
The Lord’s will to be done—Matthew 6:10
For our daily bread—Matthew 6:11
Forgiveness of sins — Matthew 6:12
Kings and all in high places — 1 Timothy 2:2 (wonder what a difference this would make today)
All men — 1 Timothy 2:1
Enter not into temptation — Matthew 26:41
If suffering — James 5:13
The sick — James 5:14-15
Beloved, Jesus prayed and stayed in communion with the Father constantly. If he thought it was so important — we should as well.
“If Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling they would soon have nothing to grumble about.”