From Craig Swanson…
In my last 3 blog posts, we’ve looked at the apostles’ teaching, fellowship and the breaking of bread (communion). The final thing that Acts 2:42 says they were devoted to was prayer. But what does that mean? Just the statement of being devoted to prayer is guilt inducing. None of us pray enough or about the right things. After all, Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing”.
There are so many wrong concepts of prayer. One is to approach God like we can demand something from Him. “Here’s what I need God – I’m asking in faith, so I’m expecting you to give it to me.” Even prayer, prayed with faith, does not obligate God to do anything. He is sovereign – He will do what He wills. Prayer was not given to us to change God’s mind. Another is to approach Him like He is a vending machine – only coming to Him to satisfy our own felt needs.
Another wrong approach is on the opposite extreme. With an understanding that God is indeed sovereign, there is a temptation to pray very little because God will do His will anyway, and since He is omniscient, we aren’t going to inform Him of anything He doesn’t already know. If we are honest with ourselves, all of us have probably travelled down all of these wrong approaches to God at different times in our lives.
God gave us prayer, He tells us to pray, He tells us to ask – what is this thing called prayer all about? John 14:13 says, “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The chief end of prayer is to glorify God. We are to do all things to the glory of God and we are to ask all things to the glory of God. Prayer is not intended to change God, but for Him to change us. Prayer is to remind us of our dependence upon Him.
Eph. 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” This is telling us that the things that we do that make a difference for God’s kingdom were orchestrated by God. The people He intends for us to help, the tasks He intends for us to do, are placed into our lives to accomplish by His power and for His glory. How do we walk in them? By living close enough to Him that we don’t miss them. This is where prayer comes in. God gave us the unbelievable privilege of complete access to Almighty God as sons and daughters.
God receives glory through lives that reflect Him. We reflect Him as we spend more time in His presence. The early church was devoted to prayer and the apostle Paul told us to pray without ceasing because they recognized that we have the incredible privilege of walking and talking with our heavenly Father moment by moment every day of our lives. Talk to God, trust Him for the results and He will change our lives and be glorified in the process.