One of the genuine marks of the Christian faith is that we do not worship a distant God. He isn’t some distant being with no care or interest in His people. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the third person of the Trinity to indwell our spirit. Our spirit is the lamp of the Lord and before The Fall was indwelt by the Holy Spirit which is the oil needed for God’s lamp to function.
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27
The Holy Spirit indwells those whom He has redeemed. He is the one that produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. He is the one that provides the gifts of the Spirit for ministry. He is our counsellor, teacher, and comforter. He is the one that enables us to live a Christian life. That’s why Paul was able to write “rejoice in the Lord, again I will say rejoice. The Lord is at hand. And we know that is the reality for a believer because He has “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Timothy 1:9). Before the ages began God had a personal plan for all of His people; He doesn’t orchestrate this from a distance, He is within His people.
Not only is He present, but He also wants to hear from His people. God desires believers to communicate with Him through prayer, and He doesn’t just want some highlights. He calls the saints to bring everything to Him “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
At any moment, by the merit of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians have the divinely given right to approach God with anything through prayer. The One who created and sustains the universe not only can hear your prayers, He wants to answer those prayers. Prayer is absolutely amazing because Christians have a more challenging time getting in touch with their utilities provider than directly communicating with the Lord and creator of the entire universe. If that fact about prayer doesn’t excite you, nothing will. Note also the Holy Spirit will help you pray.
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Philippians 4:4-7
Through Christ we have the opportunity to pray, but what does prayer do in and to a believer? This Scripture reveals four things.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
“Do not be anxious about anything” – That’s a bold statement. But it’s true because if “God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). We know God is for us because He wants to hear our prayers and take a personal interest in what’s going on in our lives. He knows all things but still wants us to approach the throne with all things.
“But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” – Praying to God and bringing our needs to Him reminds us that he has already supplied the greatest need of all, His Son (James 1:17, Romans 6:23) which is why we pray in His name.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” – Prayer isn’t always answered in the manner we desire, but it is always answered.
Prayer connects us to God and each other as we live as God’s people in this fallen world. In a word, it’s hard to be at each other’s throats while we’re on our knees together in prayer.
Adapted from a post by David Chambers “Four things Paul teaches us about prayer” http://www.patheos.com