Pastor Austen Ukachi’s (Senior Pastor of He’s Alive Chapel) Teaching Series on Prayer..
In this series titled, what is prayer? We shall take a fresh look at what prayer is. The purpose of the series is to encourage those who see prayer as tough, boring and uninviting so that they can acquire an interest in this wonderful medium of communication with God. It is also to encourage those who are slack in their prayers due to discouragement, disappointment and unanswered prayers so that they can wake up from their slumber.
What is prayer? When can one say one has prayed? Who is the object of prayer? Is there any preferred posture, time and place for prayer? In whose name do we pray? These, and more questions, we shall address in this series.
One of the simplest definitions of prayer is: “Prayer is to offer devout petition, praise, thanks, etc., to God who is our object of worship.” This means that prayer is not only making petitions, but also when we praise and thank God for His blessings and favour upon our lives. Some even believe that praise and thanksgiving are more powerful than making petitions.
THE ACTS MODEL
There is no hard and fast rule on what pattern we have to adopt in our prayer, but this acronym ACTS, has been devised to help us maintain a certain flow and order in our prayer.
This simply means that we should start our prayer by praising God, and then we move on to confess our sins, thereafter thank God for all His mercies and blessings, before we shall bring up our supplications to Him.
Another practical definition of prayer is taken from the statement of Hannah to Eli in 1 Samuel 1:15, “…but have poured out my soul before the LORD.” Prayer is pouring out the burdens of our heart to God. Obviously, Hannah may have poured out her soul to the Lord without adhering to any order or model of prayer, but simply unburdening her heart. Many a time our hearts are burdened because of lots of problems: that is the time to rush into the presence of God in prayer. We must all learn to pray the way we know best. Pouring out our soul does not mean we have to be loud and noisy; we must know that even when we pray silently in our heart God still hears us.
OVERCOMING THE LAZINESS TO PRAYER
Martin Luther King, Jr. says “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” By this statement he stresses the importance of prayer to our survival and daily existence. Like every other habit in life, prayer has to be cultivated through constant practice. The more we pray the more proficient we become. Perhaps, the first point for us to start is to ask the Lord to help us overcome the laziness to prayer.
“Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.” Mahatma Gandhi