I've been reading through the book of Isaiah, and there have been many moments where I've stopped and thought, Wow. You just cannot read the book of Isaiah without feeling awe for God's power, shame for humanity's foolishness and sin, and praise for the Messiah who, from our future perspective,...
It may be in a hospital or at some other moment of crisis, but at some time most people feel that they want to pray. That is true of thousands and millions of people who would never darken the door of a church.
Here is something that the church has to offer. Christian people have something that at some point, most people in our community and in our country will feel that they need—to pray. Christians know how to pray, or at least we should.
But do we know why we pray? Here are seven reasons we pray which are meant to encourage you in your pursuit of Jesus Christ.
1. Pray, because Jesus is our great high priest.
We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God… (Hebrews 4:14)
If I have to engage in an important conversation, I am often grateful to have someone else with me. Is there someone who can come with me who knows the person I will be meeting better than I do?
Remember this is how Moses felt when God sent him to speak to Pharaoh. God sent Aaron with him. Aaron was the High Priest. Who will go with us when we go into the throne room, not of Pharaoh, but of Almighty God?
Hebrews says “we have a great high priest…” Think about this: Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he is there for us. When you pray, you ascend by faith into heavenly places, where Christ is.
Christ is next to the Father, and when you pray, you are next to Christ. He is there for you, and when you speak, he is there with you! He is there, endorsing what you’re saying, placing his name under what you’re asking.
You can come to the Father with Jesus beside you. He is there to support you in your prayer, to back you up in what you are saying, to agree with your prayer because it has already been his own.
2. Pray, because Jesus knows what life is like.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
You can’t bring anything to Jesus that will shock him. Nothing that you face is surprising to Jesus. You don’t need to hide anything from him. Think about the humanity of Jesus: He worked in a shop. He grieved. He saw darkness unleashed like no one else ever has.
3. Pray, because God invites us to his throne of grace.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace… (Hebrews 4:16)
Bunyan says, “God has more than one throne…” The throne of grace is very different from the throne of judgment. God invites you to come to the throne of grace! How often would you want to pray, if you knew you were coming before the throne of judgment?
4. Pray, because this is how you will receive help from God.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need… (Hebrews 4:16)
Many people who call themselves Christians feel they do not receive help from God. If that’s the case, ask yourself: “Am I praying?” It is through prayer that the help of God is received—you draw near to the throne of grace. How much more could you receive from God if you prayed?
5. Pray, because this was the practice of Jesus.
We see this through the life of Jesus. He goes to a solitary place to pray.
When he comes to his hour of greatest trial he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). Scripture tells us that he prays the same thing three times. His soul is wrestling. He goes back to the Father again and again to find help and relief.
If the Son of God did this, how much more should I do this in my own weakness?
6. Pray, because this is how you will guard against temptation.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)
Someone says to me, “I keep falling back into that old temptation!” My first question is, “Were you praying?” My second question is, “Were you watching?”
It’s very easy to fall into being a “pseudo-Christian.” You think: There’s this sin that I can’t get out of, but it’s ok, because there’s grace. So, I don’t need to worry about it.
The promise of Jesus is very clear: If you will watch and pray there is sufficient help in these things for you not to fall into temptation. Do these things and you will be able to stand. Ignore them and you will surely fall.
7. Pray, because when you seek Christ, you will find him.
Ask and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
There will be times when you feel that nothing much is coming of your prayers. This is a promise to help you persevere. Ask and go on asking.
Be Much in Prayer
Andrew Gray began thinking about all those who are already in heaven, and, from their experience, what they might say to us today:
Now I think, if Adam were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.
If Moses and Aaron and Aaron were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.
If David were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.
If the four beasts (around the throne of God) were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.
If the twenty-four elders were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.
If all the angels that are standing on the sea of glass were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.
If all the spirit of just men made perfect were going to give you counsel, it would be this: Be much in prayer.