10 Prayer Principles of the Lord Jesus Christ (Part 7)

Praying Through the Bible #122

TEXT: Matthew 6:1-8

Back in 1974, a group of scientists directed a message into the heavens. These scientists had hypothesized that as many as fifty million civilizations may exist somewhere in space, and they believed that some of them may have found methods to improve life and control the time of death. In November of 1974, these scientists, using special technology, beamed a message to a cluster of stars on the outer edge of our galaxy. If that signal were picked up by alien technology, the scientists estimated that it would take forty-eight thousand years for an answer to come back.

To some today, those efforts might seem futile and destined for failure. Yet those scientists were serious about their efforts — they really believed that one day Earth might receive an answer back from some other intelligent life in the universe. That leads us to wonder why we as Christians, who do have contact with “another world,” Heaven, sometimes act as if we don’t believe in the power of prayer. Every child of God has the ability to get in touch, not with other creatures, but with the Creator Himself. Through prayer, we have immedi­ate access to the One who stretched out the galaxies of the universe. He hears us the instant we pray and answers according to His will.

So far in this series on the principles Jesus Christ taught regarding prayer, we have looked at the following six:

1. Prayer should be a regular, everyday activity.
2. Prayer ought not to be done for the purpose of being seen by others.
3. Those who pray in a hypocritical manner — that is to be seen by men — will get their reward: they will be heard by men, and receive their praise from men, but they will not have their prayers answered by God.
4. Most prayer ought to be carried out faithfully in private before God alone.
5. Those who pray in secret before God will be heard by God and rewarded openly.
6. We should not use vain repetition in our prayers.

Today, we are going to look at the next principle which is that we ought to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and omniscience in our prayers. Verse 8 of our passage reads, “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Of course, this begs the question: if God already knows what we need, why pray?

Well, first, Jesus shares this with us to remind us of God’s sovereignty. Nothing we do or say comes as a surprise to God. He already knows what we need to live our lives. When we pray, we ought not to assume that we are informing God of what is going on in our lives. As David said in Psalm 139, “O lord… Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.“

In fact, God knows our needs better than we know them. He is sovereign and omniscient. In the matter of prayer, this brings us to only one conclusion: when we pray, we are praying not for God’s sake, but for our sake. When we pray, we express our total dependence on Him for our needs and our wants. It is an act of humility for us to surrender to God and let Him know that we acknowledge His sovereignty in our lives.

Ray Pritchard explains it this way. He said, “Picture a father watching his four-year-old daughter trying to put together a puzzle. She tries and tries but she just can’t get the pieces in the right place. Her father watches with great interest but he doesn’t interfere. Finally, she comes over and crawls in his lap and says, ‘Daddy, would you help me put my puzzle together?’ He smiles and bends down and together they begin to pick up each piece. One by one they put the puzzle together. Now why didn’t the father help his daughter earlier? For one thing, she didn’t ask for his help. For another, he wanted her to try on her own. And most of all, he wanted her to ask him for his help. When she did, he was honored and gladly helped her finish the puzzle. Is this not a picture of how our Heavenly Father deals with his children? Although he longs to come to our aid, often he waits until we specifically ask him. Sometimes he wants us to come to the end of our own pitiful resources before he intervenes. When we cry out in despair, he is honored as we express our complete dependence upon him. Every prayer is the cry of a child saying, ‘Help, Father, I can’t do this by myself.’…God doesn’t need our prayers, but we need to pray. We pray in order to express our complete dependence on our Heavenly Father. We pray to build our faith. We pray because he is God and we are not.”

When we realize that God already knows our needs and yet we go to Him and ask for them anyway, we submit ourselves to God’s divine plan for carrying out His will in the universe. We cease trying to do things our way and make room for God to do things His way. Even though He knows what we are going to pray for before we come to Him, He has ordained that prayer is the way by which we get what we need and want.

Praying to God in light of His omniscience and sovereignty also helps us to examine our requests in the light of His will. Because God already knows the deepest desires of our hearts, we can re-evaluate our wishes and truly see if they are in alignment with God’s will. Thus, we can begin to pray more effectively and we will be more careful stewards of provisions from God which He supplies in answer to our prayers.

It is often said that prayer changes things. That is true. But prayer does not change God or God’s will. The main change brought about by prayer is a change in us. Through prayer to a sovereign, omniscient God who already knows our needs, we grow in humility and faith, and we become better prepared for the changes that will be brought about in our circumstances and the course of events in our lives and the lives of others.

In closing, allow me to share with you this poem titled “My Father Knows” by Sarepta Henry:

I know my heavenly Father knows
The storms that would my way oppose;
But He can drive the clouds away,
And turn the darkness into day.

I know my heavenly Father knows
The balm I need to soothe my woes;
And with His touch of love divine
He heals this wounded heart of mine.

I know my heavenly Father knows
How frail I am to meet my foes;
But He my cause will ever defend,
Uphold and keep me to the end.

I know my heavenly Father knows
The hour my journey here will close;
And may that hour, O faithful Guide,
Find me safe and sheltered by Thy side.

One thought on “10 Prayer Principles of the Lord Jesus Christ (Part 7)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s