Let us pray: Dear Savior, since prayer is one of the mighty weapons You have given us to fight off sin, temptation, and the onslaughts of the devil—today teach us to pray mightily! Let us never take prayer for granted or become generalized and lazy when it comes to our prayer life, but to be specific and ardent. And also teach us to never doubt your ability to help us. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO HEARS ALL OUR PRAYERS!
TEXT: Ephesians 6: 18: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
When I was a little boy we always prayed over our meals. I sometimes prayed before bed—unless I was very, very, tired. We prayed at church, too, saying the Lord’s Prayer and listening to the Pastor read the lengthy General Prayer. Sometimes I even prayed for help when I had a test I hadn’t studied for! Over time, I became a bit lackadaisical in my prayer life. I was young and dumb. Yes, I still prayed, but most of the time I rationalized that since God knew all things and we’d prayed in church on Sunday, I was covered. As I got older I realized what a fool I had been.
We all know that prayer means talking to God. Often of our prayers are for His help when we don’t know where else to turn. Some of our prayers are thankful for God pulling our fat out of the fire. And a lot of them are simply going through the motions because we were raised that way. Today let’s get specific about prayer.
Yes, God knows everything about us and wants to help us. Yes, He fixes even our poorly worded or sloppy prayers. But when St. Paul writes about “Praying on all occasions” about everything—He means it. Just as you share your inmost thoughts and verbalize them to close friends or relatives—do it even more with your Best Friend, Jesus Christ!
Ask a child what they pray about. You’ll get some interesting answers. And remember, there are no “bad” prayers. But like you, God doesn’t want us to speak to Him in generalities. No, He wants us to spill out our hearts with specifics. That means that we have to focus and concentrate on exactly what’s bothering us. We have to be thoughtful. So, don’t just pray for good health—no, pray about a specific pain or ailment. Ask Him to uncover its source or root cause and deal with the cause. Trace out your bad choices in life and ask Him to get you to see where you went wrong and give you the insight and power to fix it. And when it comes to gratitude prayers, focus on being specific, too. If you’re healthy right now, ferret out the reasons why and verbalize them in your prayer of thanksgiving. The more specific you are in prayer the more God will help you. For it reveals a laser-like awareness on your part. It shows you really do trust in His grace. That’s Jesus’ point in that little section where He reminds us that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, huge and mighty things will occur via our prayer life.
The Word of God, the Gospel, is also called by Paul “the sword of the Spirit.” That means you can use prayer to defend yourself against evil and also go on the offensive against Satan and his minions by using passages in your prayers. I’ve learned over the years that many of our physical and emotional problems stem for demonic forces attacking us and trying to pull us down. That’s why Christ tells us in the Lord’s Prayer: “Deliver us from the Evil One.” Just because science cannot verify this doesn’t make it untrue. So, pray for the Spirit to guide you, protect you, help you, and uncover exactly where Satan has made inroads into your being—and then ask Him to cast out those demons and obliterate their specific area of influence over you! Yes, you can do this! After all, you’re wielding the Sword of the Spirit and nothing can stand against it! It’s what Christ used to force Satan into hell.
Paul says to “pray on all occasions with all types of requests.” Do you? I always ask my confirmation kids if they say a table prayer before eating. About half say: “No.” I’m saddened, but realistic. Everyone is busy, tired, stressed, and families don’t eat together as often as years gone by. But isn’t it important to ask God to purify your food and make it a blessing instead of a curse? Isn’t it good to express gratitude instead of waiting until you have no food and you’re desperate? The same goes for health concerns. Prayer can and is a powerful preventer of all sorts of problems. We take life-saving prescriptions daily, but do we utter life-saving prayers daily as an antidote to ailments?
And what about praying for others—specifically our fellow saints? How much of your prayer life should be devoted to you, and how much to others? If you read carefully in the Gospels, you’ll find that Christ spends the majority of His time praying for the saints—and even His own enemies while nailed to the cross! In John 17, Christ utters His great high priestly prayer—the night before He died. As true man, Jesus spends about 2/3’s of it praying for strength and guidance not to shirk His responsibility in suffering, dying and thereby paying the penalty before God for our sins. And then in the other 1/3 of that prayer He prays for His disciples and for us. He prays that we may embrace Him in faith and trust in the Lord in all things. He prays for our deliverance. So, perhaps try to follow His example. Pray 2/3’s for you and 1/3 for others! It works, too. “The prayer of a righteous man avails much!” as St. Peter says.
I have outlines aspects of prayer today because I fear many Christians take this powerful weapon of spiritual warfare for granted. Paul tells us to pray all the time. Elsewhere we’re told to: “Pray without ceasing.” For in prayer you’re in constant communication with our God, and if that link remains strong Satan cannot break in and wreak havoc. Sounds good to me! What about you? Amen