Wednesday, January 8, 2020

How much Prayer?

During my quiet time this morning, I was reading through Psalm 55.  David is anguishing over being hurt.  Not by some stranger, not by his enemies, but by a close friend (Psalm 55 vs 12 - 14:  (12) For it is not an enemy who taunts me — then I could bear it;  it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me — then I could hide from him.  (13) But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.  (14) We used to take sweet counsel together). And as he reaches out the God, he asks the Lord to give ear to his plea, he asks the Lord to please not hide from him, etc.

He is really bent out of shape by his friend's betrayal.  But it is verse 17 that caught my attention:
Psalm 55 vs 17:  Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.  As I read this, I thought of all the meetings I've been in, where we have been encouraged to pray, leave your prayer at the foot of the cross, and trust the Lord.  I thought, well, that is not what David did!  No, David prayed morning noon and night about his issue(s).  Daniel prayed many times a day too.

So what then does the bible say about prayer?  
  • 1 Thess 5 vs 16 - 18 says:  (16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
  • The Lord's prayer:   Matt 6 vs 9 - 15:  (9) Pray then like this:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  (10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  (11) Give us this day our daily bread, (12) and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  (14) For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (15) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
  • Luke 18 vs 1:  And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
  • Eph 6 vs 18Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
  • 1 Samuel 7 vs 8:  And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
  • Phil 4 vs 6:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

I googled "what does the bible say about praying once only?"  I know, google doesn't know everything 😃.  But some stuff did come up :)  Matt 6 vs 7 says: And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.  This verse points out that one mustn't be repetitive to be heard or to look more holy when praying.  The KJV says it better:  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

I cannot say that I searched exhaustively but I feel I got a sense from the scriptures I found that the Lord expects us to pray unceasingly.  He expects us to bring our burdens and our requests to Him continuously.  He does also say to do so with thanksgiving, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others.  Our prayer life should not be a "wants request list".  

This continual going to the Lord in prayer shows our dependence on Christ for our answers, our solutions, our lives.  It shows that we humble ourselves acknowledging that He is our Creator and it is to Him we come, and that by coming to Him we are not trying to be independent of Him, and looking for help outside of Him, we acknowledge our need of His help, His grace, and His mercy.  I think "praying without ceasing" also reflects our hope and trust that our answers and help are in the Lord.  

So, I do not believe it is biblical to pray once and leave it there as a sign that we now trust the Lord with it and move on in faith.  No, I believe we show our faith and belief in the Lord by praying unceasingly, as the word tells us to do.

Just my thoughts.  I would love to hear from you and your thoughts on prayer.

God bless

1 comment:

  1. Good post Tracy, and wonderful when the Holy Spirit leads you :) We should pray as much is needed, until we get a sense of completion I guess, knowing that God will do it. I hesitate to beg God for things He has already promised, so I thank Him for it.