Five Things That Bring God Pleasure
Day 5: Prayer
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:13-15, ESV)
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:7-15, ESV)
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” (Proverbs 15:8, ESV)
So far in our study of things that bring pleasure to God, we’ve looked at obedience, worship, baptism, and humility. In today’s study, we will look at prayer. If you have ever been in a relationship with someone, you know how important communication is. Communication is how you get to know each other, how you catch up, how you understand, how you learn. Without communication, the relationship will surely suffer.
How long would you go without talking to your spouse? A few minutes? An hour? An entire morning? A few days? A week? It’s very unlikely that you would go much longer than a few hours, possibly a full workday, without communicating with your spouse in some form or another, especially with the convenience of the cell phone. Why is that the case? Well, a relationship that is characterized by love, affection, and care for each other must have communication at its center.
That being said, how often do you communicate with God? Yes, though God knows everything about us—our thoughts, our desires, our worries, our struggles, our triumphs, every detail of our lives—He still desires to hear from us. After all, prayer isn’t just about making requests and hoping to get answers. Prayer can be entrusting God with the thoughts and desires of our heart, seeking to know Him more, casting our burdens on Him, taking time to thank Him, praise Him, worship Him, and appreciate Him.
Prayer can be public or private, but it should be a regular habit in the life of a believer. God desires a relationship with us, and this relationship will be strengthened by time spent in prayer, conversing with our Creator. In Matthew 6, the Lord Jesus did not give us the exact words to repeat every time we pray, but instead gave us a great template to follow. He instructed His disciples to pray, beginning by addressing the Father, praising Him, putting a request in the Lord’s hands, confessing sin, and putting the present and future in His care. It should be noted that Jesus Himself did not pray for forgiveness because He never needed forgiveness.
The Lord did not intend that this prayer be repeated word for word, over and over again, lest we become like the pagans referenced in Scripture who vainly repeat the same sayings. Our prayer should be a manifestation of what’s on our heart and mind. Whether it’s appreciation, concern, care, or joy, we can bring it before Him. It would be my prayer that each one of us would have a desire to intentionally set aside time to pray every day. What a blessing it would be to our families, churches, and our relationship with the Father.