By Not Known
When it comes to prayer, numerous buzzwords compete for superiority â€• power prayer, synchronised prayer, prayer walk, prayer warrior, prayer encounter, etc. On one hand, each of these helpfully elevates the practice of prayer. On the other hand, each unhelpfully associates the efficacy of prayer to how it is done and who does it. We ought to critically examine the presuppositions of these prayer practices against the Bible, and then decide whether they actually build up or destroy the prayer life of our churches. A most fundamental question is: Are we praying ourselves into a deepening relationship with God, or a greater co-dependency on prayer itself? The former believes in the powerful God to whom prayers are directed; the latter believes in the power of prayer itself. Ponder the difference!
The first and the last verses of the Bible are significant to our understanding on prayer – “In the beginning God…” (Gen 1:1); “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” (Rev 22:21). God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the maker and sustainer of all creation. God’s people, his new creation, are privileged to experience his special grace-at-work everyday of their lives because of their special relationship with the Father through the Son. Prayer is foremost God’s gift – that vital mode of communication through Christ that God’s children may relate with their heavenly Father and be supported by him. Prayer is not about an endless invocation of God’s blessings on this or that person, or thing, or even ministry. The whole Bible from its opening to its closing verses is about God’s creative and covenant relationship with his people. Therefore, a proper understanding of prayer must evolve from this biblical foundation.
It is of little wonder that Jesus should teach his disciples to pray concerning three aspects of life that could potentially ruin their relationship with the heavenly Father, namely: provision, sin, and trial (Mat 6:11-13). The forty-year wilderness wandering of the Israelites was full of examples of discontentment, distrust and disillusionment. Is it not true that these are the very causes of prayerlessness?
The next time you pray the Lord’s Prayer, honestly consider which of these is weakening your relationship with the Father. And if you would, pray that the Lord may support you.