MEDITATIONS ON BIBLICAL PRAYER #8
An invitation to prayer
February 15 , 2012 Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace” Hebrews 4:16
One of the more astounding statistics is the percentage of Christians who do not pray outside of so called public worship. Even then much of it is lip service, in other words the pastor or priest prays and the ‘worshipper’ offers their ‘Amen’. Some do not even go that far. We then travel through the statistic chart to those who pray once or twice a week when they think about it or when some need arises, then on to those who love to pray, not out of habit but because they enjoy spending time with their God.
Prayer is not as it used to be when it had to be accompanied with sacrifices, priestly participation, and numerous other rituals. When Jesus met with the woman of Samaria He introduced a new and wonderful manner of prayer. She was arguing that Mount Gerizim was the place ordained by God to worship, not Jerusalem as practiced by the Jews. Jesus changed the entire concept for prayer when He said,
“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. … God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" John 4:21, 24.
With this one statement Jesus did away with rituals and places (they were, after all, but a shadow of that which was to come), and introduced praying in the Spirit—anywhere and at anytime. God is Spirit and from the conception of Jesus (Matthew 1:18) to the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4) everything was and is to be accomplished in, through, and by the Spirit of God.
“All service shall vanish, the veil of the temple shall be rent in twain, and carnal worship give place to one more spiritual. Shadows shall fly before substance, and the truth advance itself above figures” Stephen Charnock.
Think of it, you may approach the Almighty, all holy God in the privacy of your room, on the river bank, wherever you please, at any time. What a privilege, what an honor, what a joy. Your prayer may be conversational, listening for the voice of God, instantaneous—at the time of immediate need, etc. Why then do so many of us deny ourselves this wonderful privilege? “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” This is God’s promise.
“Three things may cause boldness in prayer; the saints have a Father to pray to, the Spirit to help them to pray, and Jesus Christ as their Advocate to present their prayers” Richard Watson, 1682.
Each member of the Trinity has a part in the prayers of God’s people. When a believer approaches the Throne of Grace in prayer, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit become involved with him. Prayer is a joint venture with God. He obviously enjoys it when His children pray for
“the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” John 4:23.
Spurgeon considered prayer to be a state of mind, an attitude of heart whereby the believer is aware of God’s presence with him twenty-four hours a day. Daniel prayed three times a day:
“And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” Daniel 6:10.
Brother Lawrence referred to prayer as “conversing with God.” Speaking, listening, meditating, contemplating, requesting, praising, etc., all are a part of conversing with the Almighty. One in love wishes to spend as much time as possible with the one he loves.
How much does our prayer life reflect the level or depth of our faith? The writer to the Hebrews says:
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” Hebrews 10:22.
Many religions pray out of fear—that is their primary motivation, but for the believer in Jesus Christ our motive is based on faith. When we pray we are responding to God’s invitation—we believe He welcomes our prayers and hears us. We pray because we love Him. We pray because we need Him. Prayer is the conduit through which God channels His blessings to His children.
How deep is your faith? Examine your prayer life—that will tell you.
“Oh, what a costly and precious privilege is prayer! Access to God, fellowship with the Most High, communion with the Invisible One, filial relationships with our Heavenly Father—this is a mighty privilege. And yet, vast as it is, it is ours” Octavius Winslow, 1808 – 1878.