In our day to day lives, we tend to raise our requests to someone only when we need something. We request a person who is capable enough to help us in order to avoid rejection. While we exercise our option cautiously and selectively, we can only measure their material assets but cannot foresee their willingness to help us.
While people in power, threaten the wealthy to meet their requests, the common man often faces rejection and subsequently loses confidence in asking help from anyone. If the needy would have a more closer relationship with the wealthy, then they would have a clear opinion about them and avoid this unpleasant situation.
Approaching God with Confidence
Our sovereign God is capable of providing everything to us with benevolence. To understand this truth, one should have a personal relationship with God otherwise we would not have the confidence to ask Him anything. The author of the book of Hebrews encourages us to understand God as the one who can empathize with our situations and asks us to approach Him with confidence.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:15-16
Gone are the Days of Middlemen
Neither the preachers nor the leaders imparted this approach in the minds of their fellow believers, instead, they become the middlemen for bestowing blessings, bringing healing and executing deliverance. As a result, people sought their leader’s support for everything rather than relying on God.
This practice leads majority of believers to lose their salvation, as they are afraid of having personal relationships with their redeemer. It is heartbreaking to see that every leader, every denomination and every organization is trying to keep Jesus captive within their four walls. The pandemic removed the role of middlemen from the lives of the believers and God is expecting all His children to speak to Him directly without fear.
Today, even in corporate prayers, we depend on an eminent prayer warrior to lead us in prayer. Whereas, corporate prayer is a public prayer where everyone prays in spirit to understand and fulfill the will of God.
During this pandemic, Jesus expects each individual to call on Him personally, abiding by His teachings. Alarmingly, no believer is taught or trained to pray in a solitary condition.
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’Jeremiah 33:3
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Mathew 11:28
The above call is exclusively personal and in the below verse, Jesus emphasizes that not through anyone but through Him alone, one can reach the Father.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6
Why Should we Pray?
If God knows our needs even before we tell Him, then why should we pray?
This logical question arises because of the wrong concept we have in our mind about prayer. For some people, prayer is a long list of our needs handed over to God while for someone else prayer is like a security alarm that starts buzzing when an intruder strikes. Furthermore, there are fasting prayers and all night prayers which are offered by sacrificing food and sleep during night hours.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.Mathew 6:8
The origin of all night prayer is from the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus asked His disciples to watch and pray. As it was night, people took its literal meaning and started gathering for all night prayers, sacrificing their sleep but failing to pay attention to their souls. What Jesus meant by saying ‘watch and pray’ is, be alert and pray so that His disciples do not succumb to temptations.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.Mathew 6:13
This kind of prayer, while having many positive effects in edifying a person, also has some adverse results by making a person forget about the sacrifice that God made to reveal His unconditional love but rather help them in establishing a religion/denomination, based on conditional love.
How Should we Pray?
Jesus expects us to come to Him secretly in a closed room for us to develop an intimate relationship with Him. Our endeavors to develop intimacy with God will never succeed if we desire to become popular.
Setting aside our beloved friends and relatives for the sake of privacy with God is beyond our thinking. At the same time, privacy to fulfill our evil desires are well solicited. People do pray in public to show that their prayers were answered rather than persuading people to understand the love and power of God.
The first recorded intercessory prayer of Abraham cited in the book of Genesis neither depicts the atrocities of the sinners nor lists out the sins they were committing. Abraham was pleading for the lives of righteous people in order to save them from the destruction of their lives along with the lives of the unrighteous (Genesis 18:22-44).
In today’s context, prayers offered in public for the salvation of people resembles the prayer of imprecation. Though the motive looks like pleading for pardon for the unjust acts of the citizens, it inadvertently kindles hatred in the minds of their listeners.
During these public prayers, eminent prayer warriors are revealing the alleged sins of people and rulers publicly and thereby sending them a clear message on how the christian community hates their fellow citizens. Yes Jesus hates sin but we forget that He loves the sinners.
Anything igniting hatred is definitely not from God. While believers think that they are praying to God, unknowingly they are praying to Satan to instill hatred among their people.
While praying to His Father, Jesus did not list out the atrocities of his enemies. Instead, He pleaded for their forgiveness by taking all those sins on Him.
Jesus while hanging on the cross spoke to His Father saying,
…forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.Luke 23:34
Earlier also Jesus prayed at the grave of Lazarus in order to reveal His relationship with His Father. Public prayer should motivate people to understand the binding relationship of our Father with us and should reveal the abundant love of God.
Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”John 11:41-42
Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
Sometimes because of our agony or pain, we might not be able to pray. During these times we should remember that we have a resident Spirit in us. Our flesh is weak but the Holy Spirit residing in our heart is always willing to talk to the Father.
Our weaknesses should not hinder Holy Spirit from talking to the Father. When we do not know what to pray during rough times, the Holy Spirit will lead us to pray in the right direction (Romans 8:26).
The prayer of Jesus Christ from the Garden of Gethsemane is an apt example for allowing Holy Spirit to intervene. Jesus was pleading to His Father as the sins of mankind were disconnecting Him from His Father. The wages of sins allotted to mankind were awaiting Jesus, as He was in flesh.
While He was asking His father to remove the cup of suffering, angels descended from heaven and strengthened Him. When we are oppressed with problems, prayer is the only thing which can strengthen us. Prayer that is lifted from a tormented heart always draws the attention of our heavenly Father and He will make us understand the purpose of our struggle.
Talking to Jesus will help us understand that the penalty we deserved was paid on our behalf by Him who deserved none. The thief hanging on the cross spoke to Jesus and a place in heaven was reserved for him as an immediate response.
The Power of Instant Prayer
For Jesus, prayer is communication with His Father. For every christian, prayer must be an integral part of their lives.
When Jesus sent Ananias to restore the eyesight of Saul, He specifically mentioned that Saul was praying. A wicked person who persecuted the followers of Jesus Christ was talking to Jesus. Similarly, we should also develop the habit of talking to God unceasingly.
With modern technology, we are able to have frequent communications with our near and dear ones. For better conversation both the communicators should have a common platform of interest. Likewise, if we have a common platform, that is love of God and knowledge of His word, we can communicate with God in a better way for a longer duration.
The other criteria for this kind of communication is availability. God is available all the time but our availability is restricted due to our daily commitments. We can overcome these restrictions, if we really intend to have an unceasing communication with God.
It may look like something not possible but we can prove it to be possible if we direct our minds to talk to God at all times. Just remember how good our minds are at multitasking our every other day to day activities.
Translate every second thought of our minds into a prayer. To derive positive results, a prayer should be offered to the appropriate person at the right time.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.Hebrews 5:7
The seven words uttered by Jesus Christ hanging on the cross are the best instant prayers displayed to motivate us to pray to God in the right spirit, even during these tough times.
By practicing this instant prayer, we will be connected to our Father always and we will be able to pray for the perishing souls while walking, driving, shopping and working. Above all, if we stay connected to God in this manner, there will be no foot-stool for satan in our lives.