The Prayer Principle of Communication

"...and a voice came out of heaven..." Luke 3:22

Principle: Believing prayer becomes effective communication when it enables the heart of the Christ follower to make contact with God, and empowers their spiritual ears to hear a response from God.

Jesus prayed to God, because He expected to hear an answer from God. Prayer was not a spiritual discipline He conducted to be noticed by men. The Pharisees, religious elite of the day, were renowned for their devotion to public praying, giving and fasting. These legitimate signs of righteousness had deteriorated into seedy, flashing neon signs celebrating their own pride and self-righteous behavior. They wanted to be noticed by others, and as a result they failed to get in touch with God.

Jesus sought, through prayer, to have direct, personal conversation with His Father. Prayer was the communication tool He used to stay in touch with the One who cared the most for Him. He offered Himself to God in prayer, and God provided Jesus with His Presence.

This priority in prayer establishes a powerful platform for purifying the motives of the prayer warrior. James, the earthly brother of Jesus, and pastor of the first church in Jerusalem challenged the early Christ followers to, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:7)

Jesus was accustomed to getting in touch with God, for the right reason. He did not see prayer as a means of getting hold of what He wanted, but a tool that enabled Him to get in touch with God. Jesus prayed in order to keep the lines of communication opened between Him and God.

God's responsiveness to Jesus was based on His humility to come, and bask in The Presence of His Father. Above all else, this is what prayer is all about. It is not about getting more things from God, but getting in touch with God. Jesus would teach His disciples, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

God answers prayer. The more accurate statement should be, God answers believing prayer. Jesus believed He needed to be in constant communication with His Father. Communication in prayer is not limited to a one dimensional laundry list that is waved before God. Checking items off the list, as they are answered, will give a certain degree of satisfaction. The potential danger becomes a reality, when prayer God becomes little more than a quick stop at a roadside ATM.

Pray expecting God to hear and to answer. Remember, God answers prayer. He sometimes says, "Yes." At times He will say, "No!" Often He will counsel the anxious to, "Wait." A personal favorite of mine over the years has become, "You have got to be kidding!" He does answer prayer, but the ability to respond to His answer,rather than react to it, is directly related to one's motive for praying.

Jesus found great affirmation from His Father, while He was praying. Earthly fathers often have to resist the urge to resent being treated as a source of supply, by their children. Selfish children do not know what is good for them, and they are only interested in a relationship that supplies them with what they want. As the relationship between a father and his children matures, there is an even greater desire to supply their needs. This generosity is generated by their joy of having genuine fellowship with their children.

God is not in need of a lesson in generosity, or fatherhood. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11)

The joy of prayer is not found in the presents received, but The Presence that is provided. Prayer leads to healthy communication between the heavenly Father and His child. It should become as natural as breathing is to a meaningful conversation.

The Practice of Prayer: When you pray, have a good pen and fresh piece of paper in front of you. Write down what God says in response to your prayer. Compare it with the Word of God. He will never contradict His Word.

Thought for the Day: The School of Prayer focuses on the arts of communication. Expect to hear from God, and take notes when He speaks. There is no need to stay after school.

"Answered prayer is the first test of a prayer meeting's effectiveness." Jack Hayford