Prayer is the vehicle into God’s heart. Behind every strong follower of Yeshua, is a hidden life of prayer and devotion. There is no secret recipe to becoming a strong person of faith outside of a prayer life. When we pray, we deposit God’s truth into our hearts and position ourselves for a breakthrough. If prayer is such a vital part of a disciples life, why do so many look past it? To understand this question, we must first consider some of the misconceptions regarding prayer.
The Modern Prayer Life
For many, prayer means saying grace before they begin a meal. Although everyone should give thanks to God before a meal, it should not be the climax of one’s prayer life. Today, prayer is used more as an afterthought, instead of an action taken beforehand. If someone is going through a crisis, another person will say “you are in a prayers” as a way to show the other person that they care. This would be a nice thing to say if the appropriate action was behind it. Far to often, Christians will say someone is in their prayers but will forget to actually pray. “Prayer” becomes another way for someone to say they are thinking about the other person.
Although the sentiment is much appreciated by bystanders, over time, this type of “prayer” waters down the overall concept of prayer. Prayer reverts to a powerless exercise of the mind that lacks a connection between God and the Holy Spirit. Sadly, this is the version of prayer that many believers subscribe to.
Yeshua Prayed Often
When we compare the vibrant prayer life Yeshua had in Scriptures, suddenly our
“happy thought” prayer life comes to a much-needed halt. Looking into the life of Yeshua, we can see that prayer was the source of his strength. Prayer was such a huge part of his life that Judas knew where to find him on the night of his betrayal (see John 18:2).
Throughout Scripture we find Jesus retreating to find private places to pray.
“As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.” (Luke 5:16, The Message)
Prayer was a meeting place between Yeshua and the Father. It was the retreating ground for Yeshua to connect himself to the heart of God and to prepare himself for his ministry on earth. We never will know what Jesus’ ministry would have looked like without prayer because he never gave us that option. This tells us the power behind prayer. If Jesus needed to pray to accomplish his earthly mission, so do we.
Prayer Is Preemptive
The effect of prayer can be illustrated by a person who has a checking account at a local bank. When a person needs to purchase something for themselves, they make a withdraw from their checkings account by use of their debit card. If the purchase amount is greater than the amount deposited into the account, the sale will void. Thus, purchases can only be made if the account has enough resources in it to fund the activity.
This is a great way to understand how prayer works. When a person prays, they make a deposit into their spirit by communion with God. This spiritual deposit helps service the activity that will go on throughout the day. So, if a stressful situation comes upon the person and makes an emotional “withdrawal”, it will not overdraft the account.
Many times believers face difficult situations without making deposits into their spiritual bank accounts. In the aftermath of those situations, many are left feeling hopeless. This is because their spiritual bank account is negative. By prayer, a believer can launch a preemptive strike against the plans of the enemy, so that whenever a difficulty comes their way and makes a withdrawal, they won’t overdraft.
We see this illustrated in Yeshua’s life. Often times, Yeshua would rise early in the morning before his ministry began to make a prayer deposit.
“While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed.” (Mark 1:35, The Message)
Notice the time in which Yeshua prayed, “early”. Even though this speaks to the physical time when Jesus prayed, on a larger level, it gives us deeper insight into the timing of prayer. When we pray, we pray early.
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee” (Psalms 63:1, KJV)
Prayer is often used as a late resort, not as an early strike against the enemy. The point is, when we pray, we pray early in situations before the enemy has launched a spiritual assault. As evidenced in the life of Jesus, when a believer prays early in a situation they prepare themselves for any given situation that may come their way. Whenever the enemy launches a spiritual attack, it is met with immediate resistance because the believer has prayed and deposited truth into their accounts.
When Prayer Changes Everything
It is only when a believer partners with God early in prayer do they discover the power of prayer. Prayer changes everything in life when a believer understands that it is a preemptive measure taken against the enemy.
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Ephesians 6:16-18)
The Apostle Paul encourages us to pray at all times. He is not saying that the only thing we should do every waking moment is to pray. If that was true, we would never have time to “make disciples” and fail at executing the great commission giving by Jesus in Matthew 28. What Paul is saying is the same thing that was displayed in the life of Yeshua. We must develop a lifestyle of prayer so that when the enemy attacks, it is met with resistance. Prayer is a victory stance against the enemy.
Prayer is not a complaint session with God, it’s a partnership between a believers heart and Gods. It is the foundational element into growing in one’s relationship with God, along with reading the Bible. If you would like to grow in your prayer life, consider a few of these prayer resources and start a personal prayer challenge. Prayer changes everything. Jesus couldn’t live without it, and we can’t either.