Importance of Prayer

From the Book

New Beginning
I’ve Accepted Christ – Now What?
A Discipleship Guide for New Believers
(Chapter 10, pp. 112-117)

By Joseph Choi & W. Jae Lee

For close to a year, I prayed through Matthew 6:9-13 and learned amazing things which I used to take for granted. Eventually, learning the basics of prayer helped me through college; it helped me find a career and my wife; it helped me understand what it meant to be a husband, a father, a leader, and most importantly prayer helped strengthen me in times of trials and tribulations. Why would such a holy God answer your prayers? It is because you have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. You are a child of God, and He loves you.

Romans 8:16 (NIV)
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit
that we are God’s children.

How important is prayer? Prayer was so important that it was the last thing Jesus taught his disciples before he died. If you knew you were going to die the next day, what would you teach your disciples? Jesus chose prayer as His legacy, and it continues to this very day, even to you.

Matthew 26:36 (NIV)
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples
to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them,
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

Jesus knew that he would die the next day, so he took his disciples to a place called Gethsemane to pray (Matt. 26:36), but when he returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked (Matt. 26:40). Jesus told the disciples to “watch and pray” and again in verse 41. Later, Jesus returned to find them sleeping again, “So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing” (Matt. 26:44).

If prayer was paramount to Jesus’ life and ministry, then it must be a priority for us too. Prayers are recorded throughout the Old Testament, John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray, and the disciples of Jesus realized that they needed to be taught how to pray so they asked:

Luke 11:1 (NIV) 
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.
When he finished, one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

What Jesus taught them was not a prayer to be memorized and recited as a ritual. It was a prayer guideline, format or structure for the disciples to build on. God wants meaningful dialogue with us and isn’t interested in routine or vain repetition. In fact, God seeks those who worship Him in sincerity and truth. Our relationship with Him must be totally genuine and intimately personal. You don’t want someone to talk to you like a robot. Neither does the Lord.

Matthew 6:7 (NIV) 
7 And when you pray,
do not keep on babbling like pagans,
for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

God wants a close, personal relationship with each of us. Knowing how to pray will not come naturally for most new believers; it will take time, consistency, and patience but most importantly a driving passion to seek God’s face. The “Lord’s Prayer” is a framework for every kind of praying. In the beginning of your prayer journey, it will be helpful to memorize key words until you feel comfortable enough to move to the next level. So rather than repeating the Lord’s Prayer verbatim, you can address your concerns by topics. Remember, Jesus tells us not to ramble on during prayer. He knows what’s on our hearts. Our words should be few. The effective prayer is not measured by how loud you pray, or how long you pray, but how submissive and sincere you are. Proverbs 16:2 tell us, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) 

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

Is that it? It seems so short and simple. Don’t be fooled. Jesus was introducing to his disciples the basics, but there’s a lot of meat on those bones. As the disciples matured and grew to better understand these primary concepts, they learned to pray more effectively. But most importantly they learned how to relate with their heavenly Father in the most intimate and appropriate way. They saw the Lord move in ways that even went beyond some of the things the Lord did on earth (John 14:12, Acts 2:41).

Short Answers: Relationships in
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

“Our Father”: Father and Child

“Hallowed be your name”: God and Worshiper

“Your Kingdom come”: King and Subject

“Your will be done”: Master and Servant

“Give us … bread”: Provider and Recipient

“Forgive us our debts(sins)”: Savior and Sinner

“Lead us not into temptation”: Leader and Follower

“Deliver us from evil”: Protector and Deliverer

As you can see Christ was teaching the disciples the different aspects of our relationship with the Father. In every line of the prayer there is a relationship emphasized. It begins with a familial connection and ends with a deliverer tie. We relate to God in all these ways. We have a role in the dialogue. Through prayer there is an appropriate interaction taking place between God and us. You may not see it in the prayer, but God is responding back to the believer. You would be surprised how often He speaks to us when we pray. We’ll see how that happens in the next chapter.

“Short Answers”: Primary Points in Prayer

“Point 1″: The supreme purpose of prayer is to honor and glorify God.

“Point 2″: Prayer is an opportunity for God to manifest His goodness and glory to the believers.

“Point 3″: If you do not know how to pray then ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

Romans 8:26 (NIV) 
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

 
 

Make sure to check out other posts regarding the series on Prayer!
Understanding the Lord’s Prayer
Growing in Prayer

 

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(book cover)New Beginning I've Accepted Christ-Now What

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