Prayer Stripped Down to Its Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

" The desire of the humble is to be one with God and to heed God's Word without being demanding. To have faith and be humble means internalizing the words of God, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," (Matthew 6:10). Trusting that God's kingdom is far greater than any person could imagine is the meaning of Christian faith. Likewise, Christian faith means praying for God's will to be manifest on earth rather than the will of human beings. Human beings are fallible, whereas God is not. To have faith in a person is good to an extent, but having faith in God is far more reliable and meaningful. "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man," (Psalm 118:8).

Jesus reiterates the importance of faith throughout his life and teachings. Faith and prayer remain closely linked in the Gospel. For example, Jesus said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you," (Matthew 17:20). The only way to receive such glorious acts of God is by "prayer and fasting," notes Jesus (Matthew 17:21). Jesus proves his faith by trusting in the Father, for understanding that though the fate that befalls him is dire and painful that he shall ascend to Heaven. His life was a living prayer, and Jesus urges his disciples to transform their lives in a similar way. Prayer is therefore a keynote of Christian faith, a solid means to establish, reaffirm, and prove one's faith and trust in God. Jude 1:20 describes how rightful prayer helps a person build faith: "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Prayer, directed with sincere attempt and done with complete trust in God, yields heavenly rewards.

Prayer is also important in helping the individual live without sin. To live righteously in the Christian manner requires a continual renewal of faith, which in turn demands regular prayer. Entering the Kingdom of Heaven requires faith and purity of spirit. Both rightful living and complete faith in God are essential components of Christian faith, and prayer can help a person experience both. Prayer can help a person live in the world but not of it; to acknowledge the pleasures and temptations of the flesh without succumbing completely to them. When Jesus said, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day," He suggested that a person pray for temperance and balance in their life (Matthew 24:20).

However, Jesus warned that the temptations of the flesh could easily lure a righteous person to Satan's realm. Prayer is a means to resist evil temptations and steer the soul back to God. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man," (Luke 21:36). When Jesus advised disciples to "pray always" He sincerely meant that Christians continually keep their hearts and minds in God. A prayer does not necessarily need to be delivered on one's knees with hands clasped. In fact, Jesus asks that Christians "pray always," meaning pray at all moments of the day. The disciples reflected Jesus' wisdom. One of the apostles said, "we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word," (Acts 6:4).

Similarly, Jesus asks that we "watch." Watching refers to vigilance: being constantly attuned so that temptations are easier to resist. When temptations arise they can be combated better with prayer than with human will power. Jesus noted that continual vigilance and prayer makes a person "worthy" of deliverance. If a person is tempted by sin, he or she must to pray as hard and as sincerely as possible so that God will deliver the person from evil. Prayer helps keep a person on track with Christian living. The act of prayer proves the person's faith in God. Prayer is the person's petition to God to live in accordance with His will and not the will of the flesh.

Righteous living cannot be accomplished without prayer because of human nature and self-will. The reason Jesus outlined the proper way to pray in Matthew, Chapter 6 is to show how to surrender to God's will. "Thy will, not mine, be done." A sinful person would pray that the sin does not cause them harm, whereas a righteous person would pray to be impervious to the temptation. What has become known as the "Lord's Prayer" from Matthew Chapter 6 is testimony to the power of selfless prayer in delivering people from their sinful natures. To live righteously and without sin, a person must pray for God's guidance in all situations but especially those that offer temptation. Expecting to rely on the self without God is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Prayer is the method by which individuals tame their lustful natures and welcome God's will into their heart, mind, and soul. A preacher or clergy person can help talk a person out of sin, but only by praying deeply and privately within the soul can the person truly overcome temptation and live with Jesus.

Prayer also helps people live a Christian life during troubled times like natural disasters or wars. "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is," (Mark 13:33). When horrible things befall decent people, the tendency is to doubt God's love and question God's will. Instead, the Christian needs to pray harder and stronger than ever. No person can know "when the time is," as Jesus said. Only God knows when the time is right for action or passivity, birth or death. Prayer is essential to the Christian lifestyle because by opening a line of communication with God, the person surrenders his or her life entirely. Doubting God's love is a sin like any other. Prayer helps eliminate the tendency to question God's will.

When Jesus noted, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak," He noted the power of prayer to help human beings resist temptation (Matthew 26:41). Prayer can also assist those who live and work with people who live sinful lives. "And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith," (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Not all persons in the world are Christian. Therefore, the Christian must remain constantly vigilant of the ways the world lures people away from Jesus. The flesh is weak, and so is the mind if it is not continually attuned to God's will via prayer. Prayer is a method of establishing a continual connection to God so that surrendering becomes a habit. When in contact with the "wicked" or anyone who lacks faith, the Christian prays for deliverance.

However, faith in God does not mean despising non-Christians. Jesus said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy," (Matthew 5:43). Prayer is to be used to reaffirm the Christian lifestyle by loving enemies as if they were friends. Directing prayer to the wicked is one of the most essential acts of the Christian faith, even if it may be one of the most difficult. To pray for enemies requires a strong level of faith few hope to achieve in their lifetime. With prayer, though, all Christians can develop the good faith to understand that God speaks through all living beings. Even those who do not share faith in Christ are to be viewed as messengers of God, prayed for with the same love as Jesus would have done. "Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you," (Luke 6:28).

Prayer is necessary in the religious life of a Christian, as important as going to Church. Going to Church should indeed be a collective prayer, because when two or more people are gathered together in the name of Christ all things are possible. Prayer is an act of love and an expression of faith that is both extremely personal and integral to the whole of the Christian world. Because prayer is the main way human beings communicate with God, prayer is necessary for listening to God's will. To communicate with God requires prayer. Prayer does not rely on language or any superficial gestures. In fact, language can obscure the true meaning of a prayer. "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking," (Matthew 6:7). Prayer is spoken in the language of the heart, which is why…

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