In my third resolution for the righteous life, the focus is on prayer.

  1. In serving a God who speaks, I hereby resolve to speak to him in return, as He has commanded. I will bring to him prayers of praise and worship with thankfulness and joy in all circumstances. Because He is a loving Father, I will beseech Him with petitions that are in accordance with his Word, safe in the knowledge he will grant every good gift I need.

 

Speak when spoken to

That we ought to pray to the LORD our God seems a given. It is a natural and inescapable fact that the people who belong to God should pay homage to Him, thank Him and ask for blessings from His all-powerful hand.

What child would refuse to speak to his Father?

What soldier would refuse to speak to his CO?

Our Father King speaks to us, the Word of the Lord has been given, how will we respond? In silence? With facile timidity? With a voluminous vomit of vocabulary? With the irreverent tropes offered in endless repetition?

The Disciples of Jesus, not yet cognisant of the fact that God was standing in their midst, asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Perhaps because they felt under-equipped for such an lofty task and knowing that John the Baptising had taught his own disciples how to pray, Jesus disciples felt they could ask for the same.

'One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”'

Luke 11:1.

And who better to ask than the one who was constantly seeking his Father in prayer! Jesus modelled what it looked like to pray, even forgoing sleep to pray through the night!

We will do well to sit at the feet of Christ and have him instruct us in the way of prayer; we can use the Lord’s Prayer as a guide and follow his patterns, but we also have prayers all across the scriptures worth emulating.

It may be worth comparing your prayers with those of the scriptures. Are they as expectant of God’s response? Do they touch on the same themes? If you recoil at some of the prayers of scripture maybe it’s time to get your prayer life an alignment, get it back tracking with the Biblical patterns of prayer.

 

My prayer life is lacking. Is there anyone among us who feels theirs is up to scratch? Surely there is always room to grow!

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name."

Heb 13:15

 

Petition

No-one likes nagging. It is a sure fire way to provoke frustration and get mere malicious compliance. Yet, Jesus uses nagging as an example of the persistence and trust we need when seeking the Lord's provision.

"[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” "

Lk 18:1–8.

This story does not tell us that we need to endlessly repeat ourselves to catch God's attention; He always hears us through Jesus Christ. But this parable does teach disciples that God is soooo much better than a crooked judge. If you can get justice from a crooked judge by persistent asking, how much faster, how much better, will it be when God comes through for His people?

We must not loose heart in our prayers. Too many of our prayers are asked half heartedly, not expecting God to answer (Ja 1:6–8). Or they are prayed to serve our own passions (Ja 3:18). We heap up empty prayers that God does very well not to answer.

But do not loose heart! Cry to Him day and night!

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, 

   and in his word I hope; 

my soul waits for the Lord 

   more than watchmen for the morning, 

   more than watchmen for the morning." 

Ps 130:5–6

Jesus hears you! And he will answer from heaven all that is asked in his Name (Jn 14:13-14)!

Wait on the LORD, and He will deliver you!

Knock on the gates of heaven as the persistent one who asks at all hours for his need to be met:

"And [Jesus] said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." 

Lk 11:5–10

Seek the LORD and you shall find Him. Knock on His door so that He may open up the storehouses of heavenly provision and rain down on you the abundant blessings promised for the people of God. Ask and receive!

God is the Good Father who provides for us. As a good father, he will discipline us, and train us in righteousness, but He will never neglect us. He is with us always through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.

"What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” 

Lk 11:10–13

What have you got to loose! If you don't ask, you won't receive, so ask away! (Ja 4:2)