The Power and Purpose of Prayer By Babatunde Olugboji
In the next couple of weeks, we will be focusing on the topic of prayer.
There are diverse kinds of prayers, including, but not limited to, the prayer of faith, of agreement, of intercession, of request, of thanksgiving, of worship, and of imprecation. We will be spotlighting the prayer of imprecation, a particularly controversial type of prayer.
To imprecate means “to invoke evil upon or curse” one’s enemies. David, the psalmist most associated with imprecatory verses such as Psalms 55:15, 69:28, and 109:8, often used expressions like, “may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them” (Psalm 35:6) and “O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, o Lord!” (Psalm 58:6).
But first of all, let’s define or explain what prayer is. At its most basic, prayer is talking to God, it is a way of relating to God. In opening our hearts and minds and souls to God we are challenged to grow, change, and to love. Just as we spend time with those we love, so also, we should make time to pray and grow in our relationship with our Father in heaven.
Note that prayer is not meditation like for instance yoga, or passive reflection. It is a direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul, the primary way is to communicate our emotions and desires to God. Prayer is seeking God’s favor (Exodus 32:11), pouring out one’s soul to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:15), crying out to heaven (2 Chronicle 32:20), drawing near to God (Psalm 73:28), and kneeling before the Father. (Ephesians 3:14)
We pray to praise God, thank Him, and express our love to Him. We pray to enjoy His presence and tell Him what is going on in our lives. We pray to make requests and seek guidance and ask for wisdom. God loves to have an exchange with His children (Isaiah 1:8), just as we love the exchange we have with our children. Fellowship with God is the heart of prayer. Too often we lose sight of how simple prayer is really supposed to be. It is spiritual communication between man and God, a two-way relationship in which man should not only talk to God but also listen to Him. Prayer to God is like a child’s conversation with his father. It is natural for a child to ask his father for the things he needs.
When you receive Christ into your heart, you become a child of God and have the privilege of talking to Him in prayer at any time about anything. The Christian life is a personal relationship with God through Christ. And best of all, it is a relationship that will last for all eternity. There are examples of prayer and exhortations to pray in the Bible (Luke 18:1; Romans 12:12; and Ephesians 6:18). God’s house is to be a house of prayer (Mark 11:17), and God’s people are to be people of prayer. “Dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 1:20–21).
Join me on the journey to understanding the purpose and power of prayer, with the expectation of connecting more closely with your maker.
Have a great week.
Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.
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