A look at some of what the bible has to say about prayer.
First, in 1st Timothy Chapter 2 Paul has these instructions for Timothy: I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.
8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
We have to pray for everyone. It’s easy to say, but how often do we actually do it? How often do our prayers revolve around ourselves, rather than others? If we want to bring about change, it needs to be based in prayer. The instruction to pray for those in authority is particularly important here and now with the whole political situation. If we want the new assembly to work out, we need to pray for it.
The importance of praying for all people is again mention in Ephesians 6v18: Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
‘At all times and on every occasion’ – how often do we use prayer only as a fire extinguisher, to help us out when it all goes wrong, when we’re in danger? Prayer is so much more than a distress call. Prayer should be a continual communication with God, in the bad times, and also the good. For if we do not pray at all times, apart from the fact that our spiritual growth will be neglected, we will probably fall into the belief that when things are going good we are in control, that its all our doing, when in fact it is God helping us. We need to give Him thanks for everything he does for us, for fear that we fall into the trap of thinking we’ve made it on our own.
I don’t think anyone could honestly call to have got prayer totally sussed. I believe that until we get to heaven we can all improve in all aspects of our spiritual life, and so that therefore includes our pray. However we are not alone in our prayer. Romans 8v26-27: And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
The Holy Spirit is interceding for us. How comforting is that? The Holy Spirit is praying for us about things we don’t feel comfortable talking to God about, for things we forget to talk to God about, for things we are not even aware of, the Holy Spirit is praying for us.
I believe that prayer is linked with humility. A verse that supports that is 2 Chronicles 7v14: Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
When we pray we need to humble ourselves. We need to admit our flaws and weaknesses. We need to acknowledge that we can’t do it on our own, that we need God’s help. And we need to seek His face.
One final passage I want to look at is James 5v13-18: Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops
I don’t think it needs any explanation. It speaks for itself