This was in my church newsletter and I asked to reprint it. It is written by Rev. Dennis Metzger from First Baptist Church of Hamilton Ohio. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Twelve Biblical Reasons Why We Should Pray
It was one of those brief conversations that make a lasting impression. Ruth and I had been married a few years, and we were spending a few days with my family in Akron during the Christmas holidays. As we had finished gathering our things that had been scattered around the house, preparing to return to our home in Michigan, we sat down with a cup of tea at my mother’s kitchen table. We were just speaking the usual pleasantries about how good it was to be home, and thanking her for her hospitality, that she told us something I had never heard before. Read on…
Some of you may remember that my parents were divorced when my sister and I were still in our elementary school. Dad had been gone for a few years before my mom remarried, adding a new sister and brother a few years later. Mom held our family together during those interim days, and I look back on her efforts with much appreciation and admiration. One of Mom’s concerns, of course, was the welfare of my sister, Cathie, and me. It is during such times of uncertainty and insecurity that most of us fall on our knees before the throne of grace asking for wisdom and help from the One who provides both with abundance and much love…
That is the back-story. As we sat at the kitchen table on that day in December, Mom told us that she had committed her kids to the Lord during those lonely days, asking God’s protection and guidance upon our lives. She said she gave the Lord permission to use her son in any way that He desired, and that I was totally His–100%. I remember placing my hand on hers, telling her that I had not known that story before, and how thankful I was for her willingness to offer me to the Lord. I believe that it was this prayerful sacrifice of my mother on my behalf that followed me as I made my way in this world in my early years, which
ultimately brought me into the Lord’s ministry.
I could have gone any number of directions in college. I began with an interest in English lit and grammar; focused my studies in the sciences with a B.S. in Biology, and could have easily taken that major into the public classroom. I spent time substitute teaching my last year after finishing up my final few hours. But behind all of that was a desire to study theology and the Lord’s ministry. I have a heart for the things of God, and believe that it began with my mother’s commitment and prayerful invitation to the Lord to make me His very own.
On April 18th, I began a new series in the morning worship services entitled, The Great Adventure. The focus is that the members and friends of First Baptist would become a people who understand the value and necessity of committed personal prayer. There are many reasons why those who are committed to the Lord should follow this path. Allow me to take a few lines to list them. Twelve Biblical reasons why we should pray:
1. Reason #1: God values our prayers.
In John’s letter to the churches in Revelation, there is a scene in the fifth chapter where John sees with His own eyes the glory of the living and resurrected Savior as he stands before the throne of God in his regained power and splendor. The relevant portion of the text reads:
Then I saw a Lamb [Jesus] , looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders…He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rev 5:6-8).
That is a remarkable passage in many respects. But to think that the heart expressions of our lives in prayer are like a sweet-smelling incense in the presence of God is a sobering thought. When our praise, adoration, and petitions leave our hearts, they are treasured by the God who hears them. That is an image we need to hold firmly in mind. God deeply desires that we would offer the prayers of our hearts to him–words of praise, thanksgiving, petition for our own needs; intercession for the needs of others. God values our prayers.
2. We are instructed in the Bible to pray..
Matthew 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
3. We should follow Jesus’ example, and like Him, pray regularly..
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the [whole] night praying to God.
And of course you know of the prayers of our Lord Jesus on the evening before his crucifixion. Jesus prayed to the Father that He would be able to
complete the work the Father gave Him to do. And the Father answered that prayer.
4. Prayer is how we communicate our worship and praise to God.
Philip. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Thes. 5:17 pray continually.
5. Through prayer, God allows us to participate in His work on behalf of others.
Prayer can heal nations and grant us strength to endure difficulties. Prayer also plays a part in bringing others
to faith in Christ. You already know the most powerful promise that we have used in times of national prayer:
2 Chron. 7:14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
6. Prayer gives us power over evil.
Physical power and strength are of no use in the spiritual realm. Even the physically weak can be strong in prayer:
James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
7. Prayer is always available to us.
Nothing can keep a believer from coming before God. Governments may condemn and forbid God’s Word, but there are no barriers to prayer.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
8. Prayer keeps us humble before God.
Through prayer we realize that God is in control and we can do nothing apart from Him.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
9. Prayer grants us the privilege of experiencing the reality, the presence, and the power of God.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
ends of the earth.”
10. Answered prayer has the potential to be an incredible witness to unbelievers.
Skeptics will always have criticisms and doubts regarding answered prayer, but some will see the power of God at work, and as a result, may be drawn to Christ..
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
11. Prayer strengthens the bonds among believers. Scripture instructs us to pray for and confess our sins to one another. Through this we learn empathy and understand the needs of others.
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
12. Prayer succeeds where other means have failed.
Prayer is not a last resort, but it can often make a difference where other methods have failed.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
To his prophet Jeremiah, God revealed His heart–a heart that issues forth in good things for those who love Him:
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Prayer is commanded in the Scriptures. It is also an amazing privilege. God, the Creator, invites us to come to Him personally to share in a lifestyle of relationship.
In prayer, we hear the invitation of God Himself who says, “I long for the pleasure of your company. Won*t you join Me?” I pray that we will find
ourselves emboldened and willing to do so.
Because a mother prayed…Pastor