Prayer & Bible Reading
What is prayer?
Prayer is basically just talking with God – being honest, open and real. Communication is a key ingredient in growing and deepening any relationship, including your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Prayer includes worship, thanksgiving, petitioning, listening to God's heart... and even just resting in His presence! One of the Old Testament psalmists wrote, "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
The Lord's Prayer
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He responded by giving them an example. "This then, is the way you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” (Matthew 6:9-13). Here are some additional thoughts on "The Lord's Prayer":
- Jesus addressed His prayer to "Our Heavenly Father," revealing that God is our Father
- Jesus honoured His Father's name, teaching us to honour God in the same manner.
- Jesus prayed that God's will would be done on earth, having no other agendas or motives.
- Jesus only asked for "daily bread," reminding us to not worry about tomorrow's needs
- Jesus addressed our human need to ask for forgiveness and to also forgive others.
- Jesus asked for protection from temptation and the evil one.
- Jesus concluded by acknowledging God's power and dominion over everything. God is in control!
Key Points for Meaningful Prayer
- Come to God as His child. Remember, God loves you the way a compassionate father loves his child. Because of His love, you can come to Him with your thoughts, dreams, concerns... everything! Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.... And because you belong to Him, He will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. This peace will control the way you think and feel (Philippians 4:6,7).
- Remember, God hears your prayers and wants to bless you. The Apostle John speaks of this in one of his letters: "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us...." Jesus Himself brings much needed assurance with these words: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11).
- Be sincere and persistent. "...when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.... For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:6-8).
- Listen to God's voice. Prayer is talking to God and listening to what He is saying to your heart. Jesus announced, "I am the Good Shepherd" (John 10:14). To help us better understand this truth, He provides an object lesson: "The sheep know their shepherd's voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out..." (John 10:3-4). In the same way, God wants to teach you how to recognize His leading. As you learn to hear His voice and follow the direction of His Holy Spirit, you will find yourself being drawn closer to God. Ask Him to teach you personally. Here's an example prayer: "Heavenly Father, as My Shepherd, You know what's best for me. Please open my heart to hear Your voice. Help me to follow Your leading so You can guide, protect and teach me. Amen."
- Pray Using God's Word. Get to know Bible scriptures and use them when you pray. In Ephesians 6:17, the Bible is referred to as the "Sword of the Spirit." In other words, it's very powerful and highly effective. "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12).
The Importance of Bible Reading
"All Scripture is God-breathed, given by His inspiration, and profitable for instruction...conviction of sin... discipline in obedience and for training in righteousness...in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose and action, so that [you] may be...equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17). The inspiration of God's Word will equip you to do the good things God wants to accomplish through you. As you read the Bible, it will reshape the way you think, teaching you how to live His way, so you can have the "abundant life" Jesus promised. "I came that [you] may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance..." (John 10:10).
It's a good idea to set aside a regular time and place for reading the Bible every day. To begin, I suggest you read a portion of Psalms or Proverbs, or a chapter from the New Testament. If you miss a day, don't be discouraged or feel condemned. Remember, God is with you. He is pleased by your every effort to pray and read the Bible. If you do not have a Bible, we’d be happy to mail you one, or you look in a local Thrift store, or search these Bible internet resources: https://www.biblegateway.com or https://www.bible.com/
This is a beginning step in developing a deep love and reliance on God's Word. Please know that we are praying for you, trusting the Lord to bless you in your prayer and devotional life as He speaks to your heart and teaches you the truths found in His precious Word. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). This is another wonderful promise that God desires to fulfill in your life