We find a multitude of prayer references in the Bible: prayer is found 107 times, pray 306 times, prayed 65 times and prayers 24 times. It is clearly important to God that we understand that we are to pray and that He hears our prayers.
The spoken word gets us into more trouble with others than just about anything else that we might do. How many of us have had our feelings hurt and our hearts pierced because of what someone has said to or about us?
Sometimes we too have devastated another human being with our own cruel words — words spoken in anger or in haste without thinking of the consequences. Jesus forewarned us, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt 12:36-37, KJV).
Not only will we have to give an account of the words spoken to our fellowmen, but also the frivolous words spoken in prayer. Prayer is a serious business.
We can go to the Lord in prayer by ourselves and confess our sins, worries, frets and woes. We can also talk out our dreams and desires with the Lord. We do not need a degree, or lofty words to place our hearts at Jesus’ feet; we do need to be honest though.
We need to be prepared beforehand, and we need to be sure that we are not being flippant in our requests. Studying the Bible helps us to prepare our hearts for prayer, even when we read a passage that we do not understand.
We can take that passage and meditate on it, ask others questions about it, and most importantly, ask God to help us understand it.
As humans, we have a pleasant warmth when someone comes to us and says, “You said … and I have been thinking about that and I don’t understand it. Can you explain it to me?”
Well, our words meant something to this person, and we are blessed to be able to explain ourselves. God created us in His image, and He wants us to think about what He says, mull it over and ask questions. He is honored when we do this.
God is always ready to hear our “heart-felt” prayers. Sometimes we have a serious problem, and we need His help so deeply that we ask others to help us pray. This is when prayers get really serious. Jesus promised, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20).
This does not simply mean that when people come to Church, He is there. This promise has a heart-to-heart concept. Jesus means that when two or more people come to Him, in faith, as repentant sinners seeking mercy from the King, and in agreement about what they are asking for; then He will be there.
If we are going to pray with someone, we need to talk it out beforehand. We are going “together” before God in prayer, and we need to be in agreement about what and why we are asking for grace and mercy.
Too often, we tend to flippantly say, “pray for this,” without explaining why we want it. When we receive this request, we are left going to the Lord and saying, “Lord you know the situation and the need, do whatever you think is right.”
In other words, I said I would pray so I am. How much better to be able to pray, “Lord, my brother/sister is a sinner like me and my heart is filled with compassion for them; compassion that I know comes from you. Please help them ‘in this specific way,’ because they need you to help them.” Then our own eyes are opened to be able to see God working in this person’s life and our own faith is increased.
We are to take our prayers seriously, if we expect God to take them seriously. He is also a loving and understanding Father, and we can come to Him with our problems — even the ones that make us look bad.
For instance, if there is someone in your life who just really horribly gets on your nerves, it is OK to tell God all about it. We can talk out our feelings and ask for help, and even ask for humor, in helping to deal with this person in a Christian manner.
God is never too busy to deal with our petty selves. He wants to be involved in our process of doing better in His name.
Prayer is serious business, and when we view it with the seriousness that it deserves, God helps us to please Him with our efforts. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
Prayer is of the utmost importance in our lives. Without it, we would never have received Salvation, and without prayer, we don’t have much chance of getting by in this old world. Therefore, pray often, and be sincere in prayer.