This week marks the National Day of Prayer on Thurs. May 2nd. So, what’s the use of praying? Everything. Prayer is foundational. It connects us to the living God. Without it we will stumble, our churches falter and our nation crumble. Evidence of lack of prayer can be seen today in our government, our schools, and our churches. So let us use this day, this week to refocus our eyes to Jesus, the one who taught us the perfect prayer.
Almost everyone knows the “Our Father,” which is the perfect model of prayer. It starts out with “Our Father” illustrating the importance of congregational prayer, which is the format of the National Day of Prayer. Christians from all over the nation will gather in town halls, seats of government, Washington DC and state capitals, churches, homes and on-line.(Google your town or city for local listing of prayer events).
To begin most will invoke God and/or the name of Jesus, which is a great starting point. However after this many go right into asking for blessings and supplications for ourselves and nation. We often skip the next part of the Our Father, “Hallowed be Thy name” is a segway into praise—an essential part of prayer. Let’s praise our God for who He is and His plan of redemption, and then ask that “His will be done” in our life, our church and our nation. Then we can petition God for “our daily bread.” Notice it says “our” and not just “my.” The whole focus of the prayer includes others—“Our Father, our bread and our debts.” This is a prayer for the church, for if the church is not right with God, nothing else will be right.
The church needs to confess it sins and be the thermostat for the country, one who sets the temperature, rather than a thermometer that reads the temperature. We the church need to be the light to the darkness and stand by the principles of the Word. One of which is prayer. So it is important that we pray correctly.
The Bible tells us “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2-3). Therefore asking comes first, but motive is utmost in importance. We need to search our hearts and “confess” our sins before we ask for our needs so we can ask according to God’s will. Well then what’s the use of praying if it’s so complicated? Prayer can be as simple as “God help me,” which might be appropriate in a pinch, but not for our everyday fare.
An easy way to remember the elements of effective prayer is ACTS—adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. This encapsulates the principles of the model for prayer. It also points to the Acts of the Apostles, which were always accompanied by prayer. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:2). When we pray we must believe that God the Father and the Son hears us. And if we prayed according to His will, He will do it.
So what are some acts we can engage in this week of prayer? Visit CBN’s website and listen to the daily recordings. Watch a you tube video from Shepherd’s House near Albany NY. Go to the National Day of Prayer website and see how you can “Transform the Nation Through Prayer.”