Continue In Prayer

Continue In Prayer
Tom Harding

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (Col. 4:2).

Our Lord said in Luke 18:1, “that men ought always to pray and not to faint.” Prayer is not a mechanical performance to be seen of men; the Pharisees prayed that way and were not heard before God (Matt. 6:5). Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude of the heart, and a dependence of the soul upon Almighty God. It is also seeking to spread out our heart’s desire before God and asking it to be granted according to His sovereign purpose. Real prayer is communion with God through the only Mediator, Jesus Christ the Lord; who is sitting at God’s right hand making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25; 1 Tim 2:5). Prayer is never intended to change the purpose of God, but rather to make us know and realize what the purpose of God is. I have often heard people say, “that prayer changes things.” I hope it changes our wrong attitudes, our sinful desires and our ungodly conduct, but prayer never changes the purpose of the eternal God (Isa. 46:9-12). He said, “I am the Lord I change not” (Mal. 3:6).

Well then, since God is sovereign and has decreed all things, then why are we instructed to pray? God has decreed all things, but all He has decreed come to pass through the means He has ordained (Acts 4:27-28). God has elected a people unto salvation (2 Thes. 2:13), but He has also decreed that His people shall be saved from their sin by the appointed means, Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:4); His grace and sacrifice (Rom. 3:24). The gospel then is one of the appointed means to accomplish His eternal purpose and prayer is another. Even the prayers of His people are included in His eternal purpose. Therefore, instead of prayer being useless and vain; they are part of the decrees by which God exercises His eternal purpose.

What distinct privilege the Lord has given unto to His covenant people to call upon our great God and Father in prayer. “For we have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).

Samuel declared, “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you”  (1Sam. 12:23).

Paul declared, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thes. 5:17-18).

I hope we can all say, “Lord teach us to pray” (Matt.6:9-15).

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