The Command to Pray
Luke 18:1 – . . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart . . .
Why do we pray?
Here are three quick reasons:
1. We believe it works.
2. We are commanded to do so.
3. It is how we communicate with God.
So we believe it works? Then why do we some times find it so hard to do.
So we are commanded to do so? Then why do we some times ignore it .
So it is how we communicate with God? Then why do we some times talk to everyone but Him.
Here is my theory. Most of the time, if not all of the time, we would rather God just do something about our situation than for us to discipline ourselves in prayer.
I know we talk about people all the time treating God like a “Jeanie in a bottle” but the truth is, most of us treat Him that way from time to time.
- Prayer takes practice
We feel repetitious. We feel like we have to have “the right formula.” We feel like we don’t know what to say to “GOD.”
I have felt this way before. Everyday I felt like I was praying the same prayers. I felt like I had to go through a particular order before God was listening.
Simple Truth – God wants us to talk to him. Keyword is “talk.” He wants to hear from us.
Talk about what? Your day. Your job. Your finances. Your children. Your church. Your friends. Your family. The World.
I must admit that the more you pray, the easier it gets. Just get started. If you have all these inferior reasons, lay them aside and get started.
- Prayer is work
Let’s look at my theory again. Most of the time, if not all of the time, we would rather God just do something about our situation than for us to discipline ourselves in prayer.
What do I mean by “prayer is work?” It’s time-consuming. It requires “thinking.” It requires discipline.
It reminds me of exercise. When it comes to exercise, my excuses run something like this.
I’m too busy. I’m not a morning person. I’m too tired by the evening.
Does that sound like our prayer life or the lack of?
- Prayer requires listening.
One of the things I have found to be very helpful is after I have prayed for a few moments and then I stop and listen. Maybe I will read a few scriptures and see if I sense Him leading me in any certain way. Maybe I will just be still and reflect on Him. Being quiet is hard but a very important part of prayer.
Now let’s talk about fasting.
Fasting is never easy and often left off the believer’s list of how to live for Christ.
The Fasting that God Accepts
God is not concerned about whether or not you are fasting all day, a meal a day, 21 days or anything like that. We so easily think that if we fast a certain number of days or meals, we will really get God’s attention.
Remember, we are God’s children. We already have His attention.
One of the most important things you need to consider when beginning a fast is your motive. Look deep into your heart and ask yourself, “What is my real motive for entering this fast?” “Am I really fasting unto God?”
Too often in the church we focus on the method or strategies used in fasting and give very little thought concerning our motives and the attitudes of our hearts.
Let’ look at true biblical fasting.
□ True biblical fasting is more than a religious exercise
□ It is more than an act of self-denial
□ It is not a manipulative tool to get something from God
□ We do not fast to earn something from God but to make a divine connection with Him
□ Fasting is not just a spiritual discipline for bringing problems to God to be fixed.
True biblical fasting is:
□ An expression of the heart’s longing for a greater intimacy with God
□ True humility and repentance
My theory: God isn’t as concerned about the outward observance of fasting as He is with our hearts.
Closing Thoughts – In this season of prayer and fasting at Cathedral of Praise, let’s desire God. Let’s pray and fast, longing to know Him.