Need a breath of fresh air? Pray.
From a secular perspective, prayer is a religious observance, petitioning to an object of worship with a formula or sequence of words used for that purpose. It carries a hope or a wish.
That however, has not scratched the surface of what prayer really is. When prayer by a frail human being is lifted up to the Someone who is true and real, divinity and humanity intersect – giving power to the powerless and hope to the despairing. This power first works on the person who delivers the prayer. The heart is where is all begins. The position of the heart determines much.
Prayer is much more than a pleading voice and a reluctant approval. It is the place where hearts and wills (both heavenly and earthly) align.
History can prove the result of prayer. The first church was birthed in a prayer meeting. The first group of people who ever received the Spirit of God received it in a prayer meeting. Prayer was a habit the early church continued steadfastly in. The first miraculous act of healing was demonstrated when Peter and John went to the temple at the daily hour of prayer. Prayer was their response in every situation. Prayer was an expression of their joy, desperation and cry for revival. The result? Miracles, signs and wonders and exponential church growth. They prayed for the opportunity and ability to proclaim the gospel. They prayed not with mere requests, but prayed to be cleansed. It was where the Apostles got true rest.
When we spend our time in prayer, we spend our time with the one who is the lover of our soul. His presence changes us and we leave transformed. We pray to change the world but the change first begins in ourselves. When we come out of the prayer room, the change can be so evident that people will know we have been with Jesus.
We do not often think about the air that we breathe, but spend some time in a polluted and hazy environment and we find ourselves missing fresh air. Prayer is that breath of fresh air. It gives us life and rejuvenates and refreshes us. We don’t know what we are missing till we enter into His presence.
The purpose of prayer is not a mechanical process of earning favours from God. It is communing with God and cultivating a relationship with Him. Like every relationship, it takes regular maintenance. If you have not spoken to God for a while, He will seem like a stranger and it will take time to warm up to His company. In His presence, we experience different aspects of His love. There are times He whispers sweet things in our ears and other times, His rebukes are stern and cutting. Yet His love does not changed. It is the same love that soothes your soul and at the same time, cuts away areas that are detrimental.
Prayer does not convince a reluctant God to act on our behalf, but it gives God permission to work in our lives as He already desires. Matthew 18:18-20 tells us that what we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. The action of heaven is governed by the action on earth. If man does not will it, God will not do it. We cannot stop God from doing what He wants to do, but we can hinder God from doing what He wishes to do. Prayer is a divine partnership, where humanity is partnered with divinity to impact eternity.
The purpose of prayer is to discern the will of God and to do it. Faith is the position in prayer that will cause God to hear us. If we believe, we will receive. Great spiritual challenges must be matched with great faith. The strength of our faith is determined by the strength of our relationship with God. In trials, our faith is tested and we learn to trust God’s character no matter the circumstance.
We cannot conjure up a relationship in the spur of the moment. It needs to be cultivated through consistent prayer and fasting.
God wants the best for us and wants to do His will in our lives. But the onus is on us. Hosea 10:12 tells us how to get back in that river of prayer.
“…Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
To find out what that means, watch the rest of the sermon below.
God has a word for you – listen to more of it in the video here: