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Pastoral 2014

The Bible and Prayer

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The Bible and prayer are closely bound together; they are two integral parts of Christian life and ministry. God communicates to His children by His Word, and they communicate to Him by prayer. Believers ‘inhale’ the words of God, and ‘exhale’ prayers unto God. So both the Bible and prayer are indispensable in maintaining a faithful and fruitful Christian life. While a lack of God’s Word and prayer will lead to spiritual calamities, an abundance of them will result in much spiritual success.

Our Lord Jesus had vividly stated the importance of God’s Word and prayer in John 15:7 – “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” A full measure of the Word and prayer each day will ensure a powerful and victorious Christian life.

Even for the ministry of the church, the Word of God and prayer are vital. Their pre-eminent place in the ministry has been affirmed by the apostles when they said, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Christian ministry ought to be defined as the ministry of the Word and prayer. When Paul wrote about the ministry of Epaphras, a servant of Christ from Colosse, he reported about Epaphras “labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12).

Both the Word of God and prayer must be pursued with great enthusiasm. If prayer is pursued without the guidance of God’s Word, the result will be a mystical religion. Conversely, much learning of the Bible without prayer will effect a mere mechanical, academic pursuit of the Scriptures without the beauty of faith, submission and the power of godliness.

The following biblical facts demonstrate to us the relationship that exists between the Bible and prayer

The Bible is the basis of all prayer

All we need to know about prayer is found in the Bible. The infallible truths about God to whom we pray can only be found in the Bible (Hosea 4:1; Jeremiah 8:9; Matthew 22:29; John 5:39). The perfect knowledge of God, which the Bible provides, is vital to a proper vibrant and effective prayer life (John 15:7; Psalm 119:58, 76, 170). Scripture shows that those who are mighty in prayer are those who know God intimately through His Word.

Prayers ought to be consistent with God’s truths in the Bible. Prayers which are contrary to the Word will not be answered by God. Acceptable prayers flow out of the sound doctrines of the Bible. In fact, it is warned that the prayers of those who are disinterested in the Bible are an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 28:9 tells us, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”

The Bible is the manual for prayer

Not only does the Bible direct Christians to pray, it also provides the divine principles and patterns of prayers that are acceptable to God. The principles of prayer are taught both by direct commands and through prayers of godly men, which are a pattern for all those who delight in coming to God in prayer.

It teaches us various kinds of prayer such as petitions (1 John 5:15), supplications (1 Timothy 2:1; 5:5), intercessions (1 Timothy 2:1), thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2) and confession (Daniel 9:20; Psalm 51).

The Bible is the corrective aid for improper prayer

Reasons for unanswered prayers are clearly taught in Scripture so that Christians may correct their errors and cultivate an effective prayer life. It admonishes us against sin harboured in one’s heart (Psalm 66:17): whether it be lack of mercy (Proverbs 21:13), hatred and violence (Isaiah 1:15), greed and lust (James 4:3), an unforgiving spirit (Matthew 5:23-24), marital infidelity (1 Peter 3:7), hypocrisy (Matthew 6:5-6), vain repetition (Matthew 6:7-8), or doubt (1 Timothy 2:8).

Who Are We?
by Joey Lim

We are a passing vapour that appeareth for a little time,
Yet we exalt ourselves, lift high our little earthly thrones.
We are everything in our puffed-up minds,
Yet we are nothing before Him, Lord of lords alone.

Every second, every minute, every hour
We have been given to praise His mighty name.
Instead, this blessing we squander and sour
On cursed idols, on sin, on sinking, crumbling fame.

When will Your people learn? When will Your people see?
When You will let fall the scales from our eyes
And reveal unto us how naked our souls be,
Then will we exclaim, Jesus, save me! —
with importunate cries

 

The Bible provides motivation for a life of prayer

The Bible excites us to a life of prayer with wonderful promises of God’s answers to our prayers. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3; cf. Psalms 50:15; 91:15; 145:18; Matthew 6:6; 7:7-11; 21:22; Mark 11:24; 1 John 3:20-22).

We are also given examples of lives blessed through prayers, e.g. those of Moses, Hannah, Samuel, David, Esther and Paul. In the Bible, the greatest of all men of prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 14:23, 26:36; Luke 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1). If we would truly accept Him as Lord and Master, we also ought to yield ourselves to be like Him in our exercise of prayer.

The Bible should be the main subject of our prayer

We ought to pray for an understanding of the Word of God (see Psalm 119:18, 34; Ephesians 1:17-23). When we learn the truths of the Bible, we must rejoice and turn to God in prayer to give thanks (Psalm 119:7, 164, 171, 175). We are to seek God’s blessings that are promised in the Bible (Acts 2:39; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Psalm 119:173; 2 Chronicles 1:9). We are to study the instructions and exhortations of the Bible and pray that they will be fulfilled in our lives (Psalm 119:5, 35-36; Hebrews 13:21). Upon the study of the Word, we ought to pray “Lord, may Thy will be done in me.”

The Bible’s promulgation ought to be a subject of our prayer

It is every Christian’s God-given duty to pray for the propagation of His Word. In this regard, Christians are also instructed to pray for those who preach the Word. Paul urged his first readers in 2 Thessalonians 3:1, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” To the Colossians, Paul wrote, “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” (Colossians 4:3).

Conclusion

A constant study of the Bible is essential for the nurture of our prayer life (Luke 11:1-13; Jude 20), and a consistent prayer life is essential for the right understanding of and obedient response to the Bible (Psalms 25:4-5; 86:11; 119:12, 26, 33-35, 64, 66, 68, 124, 135, 169; 143:10; Colossians 1:9-10). A biblical prayer life is most necessary for a closer walk with God.