Q: 38 What is prayer?
A: Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving. (Crossway 2017)
Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
“Praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving.” In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul, in spiritual unity with Silas and Timothy, admonished the church to, “pray without ceasing.” He went on to say in verses 23 – 25, “may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, pray for us.” Beyond pouring out our hearts to our Lord when we pray, having proper alignment with God comes through continuous prayer. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul also talks about prayer as a way for the “faint of heart” to be encouraged; a way for the spiritually “weak” to be strengthened. The bottom line is, in order to “act honorably in all things” (Hebrews 13:18), we must stay connected to the power of our Lord through the Holy Spirit, which comes through prayer. The intimacy of being in constant communication with God through prayer, gives us the greatest opportunity to live in a manner “worthy of His calling.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
It is unpleasant to talk about the, “[t]hey will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away fromthe presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 9 & 10) aspects of our faith. However, because of the whole truth of the second coming of our Lord, we have a humanitarian obligation to plead with the Holy Spirit to reach all who will listen to and accept the salvation of the God. As Christ followers, we should be able to say, to our brothers and sisters in Christ, “[t]o this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11&12) We have a spiritual obligation to pray for those who believe, in this way and for this purpose, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
Believers intent on putting faith into action, should “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) In 2 Timothy, Paul reminds Timothy to, “always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5) Prayer is key to remaining “sober-minded.” It is through prayer the Holy Spirit helps you to live in such a way as to, “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” While is important to pray for ourselves, prayer will also help us “not to think of [ourselves] more highly than [we] ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:2&3)