Updated: Mar 30, 2020
So, WHY do Christians pray? WHAT is the purpose of prayer? WHY should we pray without ceasing? 1Thes 5:17 In a nutshell: TO GROW OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! -Studying God's Word: is how we learn what God expects of us. -Praying to God: is how we speak to Him and listen for His voice. This process of talking to God, listening for His voice and reading His Word is how we spend quality time with our Heavenly Father.
How else do we get to know PEOPLE and solidify relationships? A) By learning what that person likes or dislikes and what that person expects of us. B) By learning to recognize the other person's voice, though he or she may not be in our presence. So, then, what does it mean to 'Pray without ceasing?' Barry C. Black, former Navy rear admiral and chaplain of the US Senate, writes in a 2018 article for the Washington Post, a description of what it means to pray without ceasing: "The Greek word for 'without ceasing' in 1 Thessalonian 5:17 is adialeiptos, which doesn't mean nonstop — but actually means constantly recurring. In other words, we can punctuate our moments with intervals of recurring prayer." "Emerson made the following observation in his writing, 'The Value of Sparrows': “It is not only when we audibly and in form, address our petitions to the Deity that we pray. We pray without ceasing. Every secret wish is a prayer. Every house is a church; the corner of every street is a closet of devotion.” "It’s possible to keep your mind consciously in God’s presence. Perhaps this is what the psalmist was suggesting when he declared, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praises will continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). This may also be what the prophet Isaiah is attempting to emphasize when he says, “God will keep them in perfect peace whose minds are focused on Him” (Isaiah 26:3)." Therefore: We can pray at anytime, anywhere to our heavenly Father. We don't always have to get down on our knees and be so formal.) So, ... "Does God really hear our prayers?" To answer this question, let's go back in time and talk about history of communication. Man has always had a strong desire to communicate, both to fellow man and to a higher power as they understood it: 1) Cave men drew pictures on walls to communicate. 2) American Indians used 'smoke signals' for communication. 3) Then came telegraph wires using Morse code (Samuel Morse) in the 1800's. 4) Then wireless telegraph (Guglielmo Marconi) in the early 1900'S such as used on the Titanic, which then lead to --- 5) Radio, walkie-talkies and the basic two-pieced telephones that hung on walls. 6) Modern telephone (land line with wires) 7) Television. 8) Computers and facsimile machines in the 1980's. 9) Now cell phones and facetime We cannot see our voice or the other person's voice being transmitted through the wires, or transmitted in the atmosphere, or transmitted in the clouds to the other person. We cannot see the other person (unless we use face time). But, in the absence of face time, we know our voices are being transmitted based on: (1) Hearing the other person's voice with whom we are communicating. (2) Answers to the questions we ask. ---So, even though we cannot smell, touch or feel the other person, there is no denying his or her presence. ---Though we cannot see or touch gravity, or air, or hot and cold, we know they are present by their effects. So, then how do we know God hears our prayers? By their effects and by the answers we receive! Listen to some of these scriptures regarding answers to prayers ... In Matthew 6:6, Jesus tells us: "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus tells His disciples, "Ask (in prayer and in faith), and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." In Matthew 21:22, Jesus says, "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." John 14:13-14, Jesus says, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. " "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." John 15:7, Jesus said: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." 1 John 5:14, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." In Jer 33:3, we read: "Call to Me, and I will answer you ..." Ps 37:4-5, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." "Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." Question: OK, so, God hears my prayers. How do I get Him to answer? Answer: To get our prayers answered, we must: (1) Ask God in faith, believing with all our heart He will answer. The Bible tells us in James 1:6-7, "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord ..." (Comment: I wonder if this might be the reason so many prayers are not answered? Asking with doubt, not in faith.) (2) We must live in obedience to God. We cannot be living in sinful disobedience and expect our prayers to be answered. In Isaiah 59:2, we read: "But your iniquities (sins) have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear (you)." (3) Begin living or continue living a clean life so that God will hear your prayers and answer them! If you are living in sin, repent of it and ask God for forgiveness. (4) Don't return to the sinful life from which you repented. The Bible speaks of this when it says, in Proverbs 26:11, "As a dog returns to its own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." (5) Realize God knows our every thought and desire even before we ask. In Matt 6:8, we read: " ... For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." We have a spiritual, wireless connection to God though we cannot see it. David understood this when he wrote in Psalm 139: "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether ... " QUESTION: OK, so, we speak to God in prayer. But, "How do we hear God speak to us?" ANSWER: The same way we get to know a person here on earth. By spending quality time with God. HOW? 1. By reading the Bible. Reading the Bible instructs us how God wants us to live. So, we get to know God's likes and dislikes. We learn to live the way God wants us to live, what things to avoid, and what to pursue. We learn to "die to our own fleshly desires and instead live for God. ---Also, sometimes we 'just happen' to turn to the right page of the Bible at the right time ... coincidence? 2. By praying daily. When we pray, we are picking up our cell phone to God. Eventually, a person comes to the point where he/she can hear God speaking back in the spirit. NOT with an audible voice, although some people have heard God's voice audibly. Jesus himself tells us in John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own." And in John 10:27 Jesus says: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." So, by praying daily, not only do we get closer to God, but we learn to trust Him more with our inner heart as we do a trusted friend! Remember what Jesus tells us in Revelation 7: 21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord,' have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" " And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (sin)" We also hear from God: 3. Through other people. Sometimes, a friend will be praying for you or be awakened by the Holy Spirit to pray for you. (Examples: Warn of danger) 4. Through prophecy. a. My wife and I were warned by a Romanian prophet of 'potholes' set up by the devil for us in Israel if we decided to make the trip. b. Many prophets in the Bible warning people of either bad or good. c. Dumitru Duduman, in the 1980's, warning the U.S. it will burn. 5. In dreams and visions. The Bible tells us in Joel 2:28, "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;" "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions," "And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." a. God sometimes gives visions to select people. b. My wife warned me recently of a dream she had regarding danger to me at work. Because of this warning, I was especially watchful! c. I had a vision of danger a few years ago. So, to conclude, "Why Must We Pray?" 1) To grow our relationship with God. 2) To get to know Him and His Will for our lives. 3) So He, and we get to know our inner heart. 4) So we get to hear God speak to us. 5) So we can, in God's timing, see our prayers answered. This strengthens our confidence in Him, that He truly does love us. 6) That through our relationship with God, we will one day spend eternity in heaven with Him and with the saints who have gone before us. 7) That we will NEVER hear Jesus say to us: "I never knew you ... "