Today, I am so excited to introduce our guest blogger, Gail Davis! Gail is a mighty woman of God who is a missionary and author as well! To learn more about Gail, be sure to read her abbreviated bio at the bottom of this post. Get ready, you are in for a blessing!
People talk about prayer as if it is a minor thing. God never meant it to be minor. Like any other relationship, communication and communing with the other person in the relationship is necessary for it to grow. Prayer is God’s means for us to talk to and listen to Him. It should begin as a considered discipline when a person becomes a Christian. Its rote-ness becomes habit and heart-desire once the relationship with God is soundly established when the person daily chooses to be with God to know more about Him, to hear from Him, and to become more Christlike. As a child I was taught to pray to God, but not to listen for His voice. As a maturing believer, ministers taught me I must also listen for God’s voice. The NASB Bible contains 132 verses on prayer and the person who prays. This post is the first of several studies on prayer, the others of which you can read on my blog site, www.tcmhome.blogspot.com.
What is Prayer?
According to 2 Samuel 7:27, prayer is petitioning God. In this chapter, David spoke with God about building His temple after God promised his royal line would not vanish. David acknowledged he heard God tell him his kingdom would not end. Prayer is listening and speaking - two-way communication with God. When some people pray to God, they think it means giving God a list of wants, He listens, and then we say amen. True prayer – communion - with God requires speaking and listening. Speaking and listening is effective communication. True prayer creates an intimacy with God.
The Bible records other people before David speaking and listening to God.
-Moses at the burning bush
-Abraham in Ur
-Adam and Eve in the garden.
-Samuel as a young boy hearing the LORD’s voice
These people heard God and spoke to Him though Bible authors did not call it “prayer.” Other times in the Bible, writers used words to describe praying such as crying out, petitioning, and supplicating. Consider -
-1 Kings 8:28
-Job 16:17, 22:25-27
-Psalm 18:6, 19:14
-Acts 10:2, 9; 20:36
-1 Timothy 2:8
One other point must be made regarding being in a vital, two-way relationship with God. God desires to be in a relationship with every person. This requires each person be cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. God considers this relationship so precious that John recorded the prayers of the saints (believers) are incense - a sweet and pleasant fragrance - to Him (Revelation 5:8 and 8:3). Our relationship with God is sweet and pleasing to Him and blesses us. Prayer is important as a sounding board for us, and for developing a pleasant and blessed relationship with God.
How Do We Approach God?
Prayer is life-giving – vital - for our relationship with God. When we pray, we recognize God for Who He is – Creator, LORD, Provider, and Lover of our souls. He gave His Son to die in our place so we could be saved and live forever with Him. When we relate to God in a positive way, we realize God is greater than anything we can perceive and all we know. We understand then why the Bible shows us how to relate to God and approach Him in prayer. We must recognize seven things relating to God and respond to Him with reverence so we do not abuse/misuse our relationship with Him.
David expressed in his psalms and in 2 Samuel who God is. His writings teach us today how to approach God in prayer. Luke, Paul, and Job recognized some of the same things.
-Recognize God is to be Revered – 2 Samuel 7:27, Acts 10:2, 1 Corinthians 11:4
-Recognize God’s Mercy – Psalm 4:1
-Recognize God Exists – Psalm 65:2
-Recognize God’s Power – Psalm 65:2, Job 22:25-27
-Recognize God’s Faithfulness – Psalm 143:1
-Recognize God’s Righteousness – Psalm 143:1
Additionally, Solomon, Nehemiah, Daniel, Luke, and James said we need to recognize God lives in heaven because He is greater than us – eternal and all-powerful – so keep our eyes focused heavenward on God.
-1 Kings 8:28
Luke and Paul taught one other thing. Our prayers are to give testimony of God. This testimony comes from the seven listed above and from what God has done for you. If your prayer is not a testimony for God, then your prayers are just a laundry list of “gimmes” like a child’s Christmas wish list. If your prayers are a wish list, then the conversation with God is not effective and your relationship with Him is not vibrant and growing.
Prayer is vital for a growing Christian who wants an intimate relationship with God. It often begins with rote discipline, but should grow to an intimate relationship of speaking and listening to God. As we each grow in prayer and in our relationship with God, we recognize who He really is and approach Him with reverence and in respect of His significance to us and all humankind.
Are you ready to grow in your prayer life? Will you take the next step to truly commune with God by approaching Him appropriately and listen to Him, as well as speak to Him? He waits for you.
Gail Davis is a Baptist missionary to South Africa with her husband and family. She is the author of two books, Miracle of Faith (Oct 2013) and Foundation of Faith: Bible Studies through Deuteronomy (April 2016).
Find her at www.tcmhome.blogspot.com, on Twitter as thedavissixct, on Facebook and LinkedIn as Gail Suratt Davis, author, and on Pinterest, Google+ and Goodreads as Gail Davis. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, let Him heal your soul!
Your Sister in Christ,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for teaching me to pray and allowing me to have intimacy with you. Help me to desire more of you and take me into deeper levels of prayer that I did not know existed. In Jesus' Mighty Name I pray, Amen.