Developing prayer potentials – Part 2
The disciples had watched Christ pray effectively. They had seen the practical result of His prayers in His life and ministry. Everything about His life was a great challenge to them. And they had concluded that His vibrant prayer life must have been responsible for all that they were seeing. They, therefore, requested Him to teach them to pray. Christ agreed to teach them without delay. In His teaching on prayer, in this instance and in other parts of Scripture, He proffered some important prescriptions, which helped in the development of their prayer lives.
Christ’s model prayer teaches us that effective prayer must border on (i) Relationship with the Father (Matthew 6:9,12); (ii) Reverence for the Father (Matthew 6:9,13); (iii) Revelation of the Father’s will (Matthew 6: 10); (iv) Requests from the Father (Matthew 6:11,12) and Righteousness of the Father (Matthew 6:14,15).
It is also important to note that for prayer to be effective it has to be based on: (i) Faith (Mark 11:22); (ii) The faithful promises of God; (iii) Forgiveness (Matthew 18:35), and (iv) The following facts about the nature of the God we pray to: the faithfulness of God (I Corinthians 1:9; Hebrew 6:18); The goodness and kindness of God (Exodus 33: 19; Romans 2:4); The mercy and compassion of God (II Corinthians 1:3; Mark 10:47,48); The grace of God (Titus 2:11; Exodus 22:27); The willingness of God to answer the prayers of His people (II Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 7:7); The ability of God to do whatever we ask in line with His will (Luke 1:37).
The effectiveness of any believer’s prayer is not based on how long, how loud or how laborious or how much emotion is put into the praying. When any believer prays earnestly, bearing in mind all the foregoing, whether it is loud or not, whether it is long or not, it will “avail much” (James 1:16-18).
These passages of Scripture give us an array of saints along with our Lord Jesus Christ who prayed every morning without ceasing, night and day, at midnight, all night, three times a day and importunately. In line with these examples, every child of God and every Church should have a planned programme for personal, family and corporate prayers in the Church.
The programme should be drawn up for:
• Regular praying: Here, there should be (a) Personal prayer programme. Specific times of the day should be set aside for prayer. Jesus, David, Daniel, Cornelius all had personal prayer programmes (Mark 1:35; Psalm 5:3; 55:17; Acts 10:30; Daniel 6:10). (b) Family-based Prayer Programme, when the whole family would pray together daily and regularly. (c) Church-based Prayer Programme. This should be planned for the whole church to pray together at considerable intervals, either weekly or monthly as the case may be. This could involve fasting as the Spirit leads (Acts 3:1). (d) National Prayer Programme. God has commanded the Church to pray for the nation. As such, individuals, families and churches should have programmes of prayer for our nation (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
• Special Prayer Programmes: (1 Kings 8:37-39; Acts 4:23-31; 12:1-5). Such prayer programmes are to be organised on special occasions during moments of emergencies, where God’s special intervention is needed for individuals, for the whole church or for the nation.
Further Reading (King James Version): Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-8; Matthew 6:1-15. Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-8; Matthew 6:1-15; Mark 11:22-24; James 5:13-18; Psalm 66:18; I John 3:21,22; James 1:5-8; John 14:12,13; 16:23-24; Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32. Matthew 6:6; Psalm 5:3; 55:17; I Thessalonians 5:17; Acts10: 2; Luke 2:37; I Timothy 5:5; Mark 1:35; Mark 6:46,47; Psalm 119:62; Genesis 18:32; 32:26; Deuteronomy 9:18; Matthew 15:27; James 5:17; Luke 22:41-46; 16:12; Daniel 6:10; Psalm 55:17.
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