Prayer is a lifestyle and not a strategy for disaster management. We become too spiritual and too prayerful when something happens major in our life. And we have seen the wonders and miracles everytime we pray. So we know that prayer is powerful, but we limit it and use it as a last-minute resort.
July 11, 2022
Prayer is a lifestyle and not a strategy for disaster management. We become too spiritual and too prayerful when something happens major in our life. And we have seen the wonders and miracles everytime we pray. So we know that prayer is powerful, but we limit it and use it as a last-minute resort. Nobody prefers to go to the gym when they’re sick. Likewise we must not wait for crisis to pray. Don’t use prayer as a recipe for managing your disasters or managing problems.
Matthew 21: 12-13 (ESV) – And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
As Christians, if our life is not a house of prayer, it becomes a den of robbers. When we do not pray, we allow the enemy to steal, kill and destroy us. Prayer has to become a lifestyle. A lifestyle where we talk to God, communion with Him, and develop intimacy with Him. A lifestyle of prayer should move from ‘I have to pray’ to ‘I get to pray’. It is our privilege that we get to pray. Therefore, we have to make time to pray.
If we had a separate private line to the president of the United States, wouldn’t it be consider as a privilege? However, the problem is when things are too much available, we lose their profoundness. Prayer is a privilege. Pray because we want to encounter heaven now. Jesus said, “Let Your kingdom come.” Jesus’ prayer life is a good model for us to follow.
Ephesians 5: 1 (ESV) – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
So if our goal is to become like Jesus, modeling Jesus’ prayer is a good place to begin. Jesus approaches every major event with prayer. The following are five major instances where Jesus prays and the related takeaways:
Luke 3: 21-22 (ESV) – Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
We see here as Jesus was getting baptized, he was also praying. This is an example of the culture that He had cultivated in Himself to pray at all times. Paul learned this lesson of prayer from Jesus and says in the 1 Thessalonians 5: 17, “Pray without ceasing.” As Jesus was praying, He heard the voice of the Father, which said “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.” The word that He heard during the baptism was enough for Him to carry on the great work that He had to do for the next three and a half years. In fact, when He was being tempted by the devil, where the devil is trying to steal this word from Him, this word affirmed Him. Prayer opens our ears to what the heaven has to say. We must know that our reality is shaped by what we hear.
John 14: 6 (ESV) – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The Greek meaning for truth is reality. Jesus says, “I am your reality.” So today we either have the option of listening to the truth or listening to the lie. A lie is not an incorrect statement. A lie is something that God did not say. Truth is something that God said. In the garden of Eden, Eve listens to the devil and she was deceived. The story would have been different if she had taken a moment to listen to the Father. Jesus was not deceived by any of the devil’s attacks as He was still tuned to what the Father was saying. The Psalmist says, “God spoke once, but I heard twice.” It means that he kept hearing what the Lord has spoken. The function of prayer is to open our ears to what God is wanting to say, because prayer is a dialogue. We need to be clear thar prayer is not a monologue where you are just dumping all your requests to the Lord.
Since we are in a relationship with the Father, as we talk to Him, He responds. Somebody said, ‘The reason why you have two ears and one mouth is so that you speak less and you hear more.’ If a prayer is all about needs, complains and not waiting to hear what the Lord has to say we have missed the point of prayer. Prayer is a dialogue. It opens your ears to what the Lord wants to say.
Romans 10: 17 (ESV) – So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
What we hear forms our reality. Faith doesn’t come by hearing sermon or reading the scriptures, sermons and scriptures reveal to us God’s word. But as we are listening to a sermon or reading the sciptures with a prayerful attitude, asking the Lord, to open our ears so that we can hear what God wants to speak to us in the context of our career, family, finances, and health, we get to know the heart of the Father. If we fail to hear what the Lord is speaking to us, we will miss out on what the Lord has for us.
The Lord has beautiful things to tell us. “I’ve chosen you. You are loved. You are precious. You’re my beloved son. You’re my beloved daughter. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. Be bold. Be courageous.” We have to hear what the Lord is saying through the preacher and through the scriptures. It is only in very few instances that the heavens will open and we will directly hear from God. Mostly God speaks through people. That’s how God works. So we need to be humble when we come to church and be expectant to hear the Lord. That is a prayerful attitude. Even as you’re reading this, stay in a prayerful attitude. Be sensitive to hear God, to hear what He has to say.
Matthew 4: 1-2 (ESV) – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
The Bible is so clear that the Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted. So Jesus is in the wilderness fasting and praying for 40 days and 40 nights. And he was hungry. The devil came against him. The beauty is in the way Jesus deals with these accusations and temptations.
Luke 4: 4 (ESV) – And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
Luke 4: 8 (ESV) – And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
Luke 4: 12 (ESV) – And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
The first thing that He says is “It is written.” Though the author of the gospel only records these three main temptations of the devil, it is certain that he was tempted throughout his period of ministry. Jesus neither challenged or threatened the devil. Instead, He used the scriptures. Prayer prepares our minds so that when we are in need or under attack, the scriptures come into remembrance. Thus we are prepared in our minds for any attack. When Jesus was fasting 40 days, he was being prepared in his mind, even though he was physically so weak. It is through prayer that the Spirit will remind us of what scriptures to use at the right moment.
Luke 6: 12-13 (ESV) – In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles
To choose his disciples, whom he called apostles Jesus prayed all night. He prayed all night and chose Peter who denied him, Judas who stole from the treasury bag, Andrew, who was a fisherman, and Thomas, who could not believe that Jesus resurrected, James and John who when they were angry were ready to call down fire. These uneducated disciples and fishermen who did not know and could not even understand what Jesus was saying became His choice. We may wonder about his choice if these are the ones Jesus chose after he prayed all night. However, Jesus in his prayer, he discerned what was about to happen. His prophetic eyes were open and he saw that these disciples, however, they looked in the physical reality they were enough to change the world. He learned that there is so much work that needs to be done, but they were enough to bring in the gospel. That he had prayer opened his prophetic eyes.
The disciple disappointed Jesus several times, they went back to fishing, leaving the ministry, when Jesus was being arrested and crucified, these guys who were there to die for him, they ran away in a moment’s notice. Only John was there. So there was something that Jesus saw that nobody else saw. And therefore He says, “Hey, you did not choose me. I chose you. I can see the end at the beginning. I believe in you.” Prayer opens up our prophetic eyes. It gives us discernment. When somebody’s really bothering us, we are expected to pray for them. It willl keep us from complaining about them. As we pray for them, our eyes will be open and we will see what the Father sees.
It is important to remember that we find what we seek. If we seek weakness in a person, that is what we will find. If you seek strength in a person, we will find strength. If we see Christ in a person, that is what we find. It takes a level of discernment to see what God sees. So when we pray, he enlightens our eyes and we realize the purpose of that certain person in our life. Most often, the people who bless us are the ones who offend us. Maybe we want to be a blessing and want to take the credit of expressing the character of Jesus, but if someone is offending you, they are meant to be a blessing for you. When we can get past that offense, there’s such a great blessing. God wraps a huge blessing in a wrapping paper of offense. Because in that process where we are trying to deal with that offense, when we want to trust God more than we want to be full of yourself, our ego is killed. We’re able to believe in what he has in store for us and them and that enables us to let go. Therefore it is important for us to pray, so that our eyes will be open and we can see what the Lord is going to do through them.
Luke 9: 28-29 (ESV) – Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.
As Jesus was praying, His appearance changed completely so much that they could not recognize him. The Bible says his face altered. Prayer can change our faces. Prayer can alter our physical appearances. Paul urges us in Romans 12.2 to be transformed by the renewal of your mind. What he meant is to be transfigured, which means as our heart changes, something happens to our body. Proverbs 15: 13 also asserts, “joyful heart makes a cheerful face.” We cannot be somebody who fakes a smile all the time. Eventually whatever is inside of us will come out. So if we are really transformed from inside, it will show on our faces.
Isaiah 3: 9 (ESV) – For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
Just their facial expression bore witness against them. Pray can alter our face. It can transform us from inside out. Moses was with God 40 days on the mountain praying and spending time with the Lord. When he came down, he was so transformed that everybody was afraid of him. Our face is our identity, because everything that we carry in our heart, be it jealousy, offense, joy, or defences that we want to hide is visible in our face.
In the old Testament the people got to recognise an angel because their faces shone. Angel did not come with wings. They looked like normal men that is how the Bible describes them. We must also note that one of the reason why people were attracted to Jesus was because there was something about his face, the countenance he carried. Our face is your identity. And if we want that transformation to appearance in our spirit, we need to pray and prayer changes our face.
2 Corinthians 3: 18 (ESV) – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Every time we see God, we are being transformed into that same glory. Our faces are being transformed. The glow that we are pursuing cannot be bought from faireness creams or lights. It is divine. It is in the presence of the Lord that as we behold him with unveiled faces, we are being transformed into His image and glory.
Luke 5: 15-16 (ESV) – But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Mark 1: 35 (ESV) – And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Look at this pattern. Something about desolate places where Jesus found comfort in the father. When people were coming to crown him as king, Jesus would depart to a desolate place to communion with the father. This shows that Jesus trusted in Father’s approval than man’s approval.
John 6: 15 (ESV) – Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
John 6: 16-21 (ESV) – When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
Not every open door is from God. Not every prosperity is from God. Not every lushfull green pastures is from God. Jesus discerned therefore withdrew himself and he was waiting for God’s timing. When the world was offered to in return of worshipping the devil, Jesus did not do that. When the multitude were about to make him king, He would always withdraw himself and pray. He was waiting on God’s timing. Prayer is not a waste of time. When we feel that people who were with us have gone so much further ahead in life, we need to pray. And when we pray we are waiting on God’s timing we are waiting on God’s timing. In the passage above we see that the disciples went ahead. They were on the boat and they’re struggling. After spending time with the Father in prayer, Jesus walks on the sea. And the moment he enters the boat, the boat reaches the shore. God is not in the habit of hurrying, instead His style is acceleration. If we wait with the Lord, when He accelerates, we will also accelerate.
We live in a corporate world, where we are taught to grab every opportunity that comes our way, for the same at times we step on other people or stab one another. This culture is the result of lack of secutrity and the desire to be promoted. We as Chritians should not fall into this trap. we need to understand that every open door is not from the Lord. Through prayer we can stay humble and wait for God’s timing. know that when God promotes us, He’ll not promote us step by step, but He takes us many levels higher. Prayer gives us speed. We think we are waiting, praying and wasting time. However, every minute that we spend in prayer is acceleration.
Matthew 26: 36-44 (ESV) – Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
Prayer is the action of plugging oneself to God and His reality. We are disconnected from our physical reality that reveals to us facts, figures and theories of the world. That’s why when we pray, we close our eyes and we switch on to what we believe. We walk by faith, not by sight. And we need these times when we can cut off from this physical reality that we see around us.
Like Delhi is in India, and nothing can separate Delhi from India. However, if Delhi closes all its borders, even if it is in India, it cannot experience being in India. Even though it will still be in India, it will feel separation. In the same manner, if we close our hearts, even though there’s nothing that can separate us from Christ, we may feel separated. Therefore, prayer works as a tool that open the borders of your heart. Every time we get offended, the borders of our heart gets hardened. So even though we are seated in heavenly places, we see nothing changing. But every time we pray, those borders get broken.