The Practical Aspects of Prayer

To finish off this series on prayer, this post will lay out four practical aspects of prayer that come out in the life and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The first is simply time. In Mark 1:35 we read, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Even in the busyness of Jesus’ life and work of casting out demons, talking with his disciples, and preaching, he went into a solitary place to have communion with his Father in prayer. We likewise ought to set aside time to be alone and commune with God in prayer. Throughout the busyness of our lives as Christian young people, it is easy for us to overlook personal devotions, or at least, not make them a priority. We often find time for other things an allow those things to occupy our minds when we should be delving into the Word of God. Devotions in the morning allows God’s Word to be hidden in our hearts all throughout the day. At night, however, our minds are winding down; we grow tired, and maybe become preoccupied with thoughts of the day. Starting off your day in Scripture will lead you to think on God more throughout the day.

A second practical aspect of prayer is the place. As we have read in Mark 1:35, Jesus went into a solitary place, the desert, to spend time with His Father alone in devotion to Him. We ought to find our place as well. In certain places, we are unable fully to have communion with God because there are distractions surrounding us. Places such as restaurants, the classroom, and even your home study are not considered good places to communicate with your Father. They offer too many distractions that keep us from our giving ourselves to communication with God. Find a place free from those distractions. Matthew 6:6 states “enter into thy closet.” This means, find a quiet, peaceful place where where you can keep your mind focused on your prayers.

The third aspect is method. How do you use your Bible in prayer? What is your goal in doing so? When we read our Bibles, it ought not be a chore for us. We should daily desire that time away from the chaos of the world and seek the things of the kingdom. When we pray, we mustn’t use vain repetitions. This means, when we pray, we must not simply speak the same words we are so used to saying, but bring our current petitions before God. Matthew 6:7 says, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” We must warm our hearts with the flame of God’s Word so that when we pray our heart is completely fixated on Him. When we pray we should ask the Holy Spirit to enable us more fully to understand and comprehend the infallible Word of God. We must strive earnestly to pray as much as possible.

The last aspect we consider is discipline. This is the most crucial aspect we have to keep in mind. Prayer and constant devotion takes much work. Our prayers are always imperfect and tainted with sin, so we should not strive for perfection, but rather we must pray sincerely and from the heart. If a man loves God, then prayer is like breathing. Just as breathing is necessary to live, so is prayer necessary for a man to have communication with God. Prayer is something we do once or just occasionally. It is something that needs to be maintained and developed into a habit. Sometimes we may think that we have more years to develop a relationship to God and that when we get older and more mature then we will start developing our prayers. But this should not be the case. Especially for young men as future leaders in church and home, establishing good routines of prayer is crucial for the household of faith. Young women also need to develop habit of prayer and personal devotions in preparation for teaching and leading the children the Lord may give them. As you pray, your walk of sanctification is made stronger and increases more and more. We must not discipline ourselves out of a sense guilt, but rather discipline ourselves out of the love we have for Christ. May be strive to be faithful in the discipline of prayer.

Titus Langerak and Hannah Butgereit

Pray Without Ceasing

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle gives the members of the church instruction concerning their lives as children of the light. One particular command is “Pray without ceasing.”

What does this mean? How can we do this?  The Bible also commands, “6 days shalt thou labor and do all thy work…” How can we work or play and still continually pray?

Did you pray while you drove to school this morning? It says “without ceasing.”  That’s what it means right? Not ceasing, not stopping.  Why must we pray without ceasing?   Prayer is the chief part of all thankfulness. It is conversation with God. Talking to Him.

When we pray, we often ask God for guidance dealing with family problems, accidents, trials, and temptations. We ask Him for this and that, but is that the only time we pray to Him? When we need something? If this is the case all we are doing is making Him our servant.

Praying without ceasing does not mean that we always have to have our heads bowed and hands folded. Instead it means we must live consciously in the knowledge that God is with us and is always watching over us in everything that happens in our lives. We can pray to God whenever we are driving, sitting in a class, or at any other point in the day.

Another way that we pray to our Father is through the Psalms and hymns that we sing. When we sing of or listen to praises of His majesty we are praying to Him. Praising Him in song is praying to Him. If we are listening to the music of this world we are in no way praising Him or giving any glory to Him.

When we are with our family or friends it can be considered “awkward silence” when we are not having conversation with them. Is this the way it is with our God too? He is continually with us, our Father in Heaven, our Elder Brother, who is closer to us than our families. We should never have “awkward silence” with Him. We should always be talking to Him. We should constantly talk to Him whether we consider things to be going well or whether we consider them to be going bad.

Psalter number 203 reminds us that our conversation and communion with God is sweet when we seek His face, and also that living apart from Him is death. We are strengthened in our walk when we continually have conversation with God by praying without ceasing.

Kelly Lubbers and Collin Van Overloop

Why Do We Pray?

Why is it necessary for us to pray? We have heard what prayer is, and how we must pray, but now we need to answer the important question, why is prayer important in our teenage years and as we grow older?  Philippians 4:6 states “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” This passage clearly states we as Christians on our earthly pilgrimage will endure trials such as: sickness, death, and persecution. Paul not only asks us to come to God in prayer,  but commands us to bring our trials to God in prayer. As people we are weak. We were, after all, made out of the dust of the ground. It is impossible for us as God’s children to live in this corrupt and sinful world and have an empty prayer life, impossible! You cannot be a child of God, especially a young person of the church and be spiritually strong, without prayer. I urge you to pray. I have found myself in many situations where all I can do is pray, and let me be the first to tell you God hears your prayers and answers them. Then and only then will you find true comfort and relief. God knows his children better than they can know themselves. He knows what makes them tick as a human being. Don’t let that scare you, but use it as a comfort that He and only He can answer His child’s call and plea for help.

In the second place, how are you and I suppose to grow closer to our  heavenly Father without praying to him and pouring out our earthly needs? He created us! We are living day by day to serve Him on this earth! If we do not pray, how are we  supposed to know the  greatness of the God whom we serve? You can’t. James 4:6 states boldly, “Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh unto you.” As His children we have an important calling to serve God on this earth. Sometimes that work will be vigorous and hard, and sometimes you will have to make sacrifices for Christ’s sake. But when you exclude prayer from all this, what do you have? The answer is simply nothing. We as young people and the future generations of the church need to make prayer a habit. You and I don’t forget to brush our teeth in the morning, do we? We don’t forget to check our phones first thing after we wake up, do we? But do we forget to bow our heads and ask God for help in the day and week ahead? We as God’s children should never forget why we pray, and we must always remember the root of relief and joy is going to God in prayer. That’s why we pray.

Blake Kamps