Prayer is not a matter of man's invention. Prayer is God’s gift to His people who are born again and converted. God gives to them a way of access to His throne, so that they can confidently approach Him. God expects that this gift be used by them as the highest expression of thanksgiving to Him for the salvation that is theirs through Jesus Christ.
It is no wonder, therefore, that the devil would seek to divert attention from this great gift by many ways of deception. The devil seeks to direct his followers to use prayer too--to their "gods" or idols. The claim is then made that all worship the same "god" but in different ways. All pray--but prayer comes in different forms.
The devil also seeks to lead the Christians astray with regards to prayer. He seeks to persuade us that if we pray to "saints", they can more successfully intercede for us with God; or, perhaps prayer to the Virgin Mary, who can approach her Son Jesus for us, would be the best way to gain the ear of Jesus.
In prayer, the child of God acknowledges that grace and the Holy Spirit come to him in the way of prayer. We thankfully acknowledge that all this is the gift of God. We cannot purchase these nor earn them. We pray for them, and in this way God also provides.
Prayer must represent a sincere desire for these things. It is not merely a routine exercise out of custom or habit. The Christian prays because he desires earnestly God's grace and guidance of the Spirit.
Nor is this prayer a matter of a "one time" request. It might be argued that God knows we need His grace and Spirit before we even ask. Further, we might think that if we ask once, God would not forget that we have asked--and He would then provide. Fact is: we must continually ask for these things (Luke 18:5). This is not because God does not understand our request. Rather, God teaches us that we must continually ask so that we never forget that God is the One Who provides.
Finally, we show in all that we do, that we are thankful for the grace and Holy Spirit He provides. He gives these not merely once, but again and again. Every day we thank Him for these.
That's faithful prayer. It is not that of the Pharisee who thanks God that he was “not as other men," but as the publican who cries out, "Oh God, be merciful to me, the sinner! (Luke 18:9-11).
- Date: 7-November
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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