Prayer. We have all done it, and we have all felt our prayers did not pass above the ceiling. Yet prayer is considered to be the conduit, an open highway to God. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
Why have we forgotten to pray? It seems we only pray when there is an emergency. In our fast-moving age, we become very conscious of which highway we are on. Yet prayer is the high road, the king’s highway that helps us through life, death, and starlit spaces.
Out human thoughts and works are not so mighty
That they can cut a path to God, unblessed,
and so from Him the gift of prayer is sent us
To hallow both our labor and our quest.
Over life, and death, and starlit spaces
The highroad runs, that at His word was laid,
And reaches Him across the desert places;
By prayer it is our pilgrimage is made.
At Bethel, Jacob had a dream in which we saw a ladder set up on the earth. The top of the ladder reached heaven, and the angels of God ascended and descended upon it. Along with you and I, Jacob is encouraged by the truth that heaven and earth are not separated, that there is still a highway, even a ladder between man and God.
There are several essential features of prayer. Fundamental to them all is a recognition of the character of God and His relationship to us. Jesus taught us to say, “Our Father,” when we pray. Then the purpose of prayer is to give praise and glory to God. It is not because He needs it, but it is our way of worshiping Him for the beautiful blessings He has given to us.
Prayer involves Thanksgiving because we recognize God’s true character and his constant affection toward us as displayed in His continued love and mercy toward us, even when undeserved. Paul told the church in Philippi, “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). But before we make any requests of God, we are to recognize His universal dominion, His authority over all the universe and ourselves, for “His kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 65:1,2).
What are the correct types of petitions concerning our welfare that we should bring before God? There are three. 1. They are prayers that recognize God as the provider of all our necessities. 2. Prayers that confess our sinfulness and seek God’s forgiveness. Finally, number 3. Prayers that recognize Him as our hope and refuge against all the workings of the evil one.
In Jesus’ life, He practiced prayer, and in His words, he teaches prayer. The whole aim of His life of ministry and sacrifice was to bring us all back to God through redemption and adoption as sons and daughters of God. Why? So that His disciples might pray in His name. Jesus’ incarnation, His suffering, His ministry as our high priest is all for this, that we can be reunited with God.
In closing, there are six petitions for spiritual blessings in the Lord’s prayer and only one for our temporal wants. We need to remember that. Above all else, prayer is spiritual in its nature, its results, and the reasons behind it. The Lord’s prayer itself reveals Jesus Christ. Someone has said that He is in every word of it, that it is the “condensed substances of all previous prayers.”