Wednesday, December 2, 2015
I consider prayer a gift from God. Some people consider it a privilege and I understand why they feel that way. It is a privilege and honor to come into the presence of the Almighty God and talk with Him. Some people consider it an obligation. There have been times, especially in the last few months, when I was not where I should be spiritually, and I’ve also considered it an obligation. But truly, it is a gift. One that we do not take advantage of—or at least I don’t—often enough.
Prayer is a gift because it allows us to come into the presence of God and communicate with Him. Prayer allows us to share our innermost thoughts, desires, and needs, which deepens our relationship with Him.. But it is much more than that.
The Gifts inside of the Gift
Have you ever received a Christmas gift and opened it to find another wrapped box inside? You open that box only to find another wrapped box. You continue to do this until you get to the smallest box and there is the actual gift. I find prayer to be like this.
These “gifts within the gift” are best illustrated through what we know as The Lord’s Prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them this prayer as a guide:
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 forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 New King James Version)
Inside this gift of prayer, we find the gift of praise and adoration. In The Lord’s Prayer, “hallowed” means sacred, holy, revered. We must recognize God sacred and holy. And we must always revere Him.
Forgiveness is a gift found through prayer. “Forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us).” God’s forgiveness is a gift given to us as soon as we ask for forgiveness. Inside this gift of forgiveness we find that once God has forgiven us our sins, He remembers them no more. Note the caveat here: we must forgive those who have sinned against us, so that God can forgive us.
A third gift of prayer is praying for our needs and the needs of others. “Give us this day our daily bread.” There are those who feel guilty praying for their own needs. They may think, “There are so many people who are worse off than I am.” That may be true and you can certainly pray for them. But in this verse, God is telling us to pray for our needs, too.
Protection is also a gift of prayer. “Deliver us from the evil one” is praying for protection against all that the enemy of our souls might try to bring against us, our loved ones, our nation.
Once again, we find praise and worship in the last verse. This tells us that our praise and worship are important to God. They are sweet to His ears.
In the coming days of Advent, I will be writing more about some of the “gifts within the gift.” But for today, I am thankful for the gift of prayer. There is nothing more enjoyable than spending quiet time with God, communing with Him through prayer.
Oh, Abba Father, how sweet is your fellowship. How wonderful it is to spend time with You. You alone, O God, are worthy of all praise and honor. You alone are worthy of glory. During this Advent Season, may we make the time to spend with You, the Holy Child and the King of Kings. Amen.