Prayer is the greatest subject of spirituality in the Bible. It deals with our communication with God and how God and His plan, purpose, power and priority can be known in our lives and circumstances. But where did the idea of prayer come from? And how does the origin of prayer affect the way we pray?
This article deals with the fact that prayer originated from God and that true prayer is possible because God initiates it.
PRAYER ORIGINATED FROM GOD
Prayer originated not from human development but rather from God, the Creator, who prays and created human beings to pray to Him alone. Our God is the origin and power of all true prayer. He ordained and established the dynamics of prayer. He is a praying God who created us as praying people. God is the object of our prayer. Therefore, we cannot give an excuse for not praying to God. He alone can truly hear us, answer us and reward us when we pray. So our prayers should be focused and directed only to Him and nothing should stop us from praying to Him always.
God is the creator of all things visible and invisible. God spoke to bring into existence what was not in existence. The heavens and the earth and the plants and the animals were created to glorify God, but not to speak with Him in return. They did what God wanted without any mutual communication with God.
But God created human beings in a unique way. He said, “Let us make man and woman in our own image …” (Genesis 1:26–31). God spoke and called on the power within Himself to be actively involved in creating human beings. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit participated jointly, actively and communicatively to create man and woman. God created in us the need for prayer and the need to pray to Him alone for all our needs, wants and desires and to enjoy full life with Him.
We were created with the ability to communicate with ourselves, with others and with God Himself. All human beings, unlike animals, plants, and other heavenly beings, have the privilege from God to come in to His very presence and speak with Him. God made us in an unprecedented and remarkable way to mutually enjoy sweet fellowship with Him and commune with Him in prayer. This makes all human beings unique before God from the rest of His creation. God cares for us and loves us very much. Therefore, He has established with us this marvelous relationship of prayer. It is wonderful to know that God created you and me in His image to continually pray to Him alone because He is a praying God who cares for us, loves us, hears us and answers us when we pray. God is always near us to listen, hear, answer and bless us when we pray to Him. Therefore, we need to pray to God always and not faint or make excuses.
We pray to a God who also prays for us. Our God is the greatest prayer warrior. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our perfect example to know that God prays. God prays to Himself because there is nothing and no one greater or equal to Him to pray to for help or rewards. In John chapter 17, Jesus prays for Himself, for disciples and for all believers. Hebrews 7:25 teaches that Jesus always intercedes for us.
Imagine, right now, Jesus Christ is praying for you and for me. And all our prayers are acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ who is always interceding for us.
GOD INITIATES TRUE PRAYER
God did not only originate prayer, He also initiates prayers. True prayer is only possible through the initiation of the Spirit of God. God primarily called on us to pray. Then He helps us to pray. And He allows and makes us to pray in the all powerful name of Jesus. Therefore, nothing should stop us from praying constantly to God.
We are able to pray because God calls us to pray and moves us to pray. Before we even think about praying, it is God who speaks to our heart and calls us to pray to Him. And when we hear Him, we believe in Him and obey Him by praying to Him (Romans 10:17). Since the days of our first parents Adam and Eve, God has not stopped talking to us. But we are the ones who often choose not to hear God speaking to us.
It is God’s nature to speak to us even though He has spoken. Do you remember what God did when Adam and Eve sinned and brought sin upon the human nature? God did not just pronounce judgment on them. He first called on them. Then He called them to Himself. Then He reasoned with them. God talked to them and they talked with God. Then He provided their needs and restored them to a better relationship with Himself. He also provided the solution to the problem of sin once and for all through Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:6–22). We cannot live as Christians without praying. So God moves us and calls us to pray to Him. This unique access to God and communication link between God and us is never broken as long as we live.
God does not stop talking to people because of sin or when they sin. In fact, through prayer, broken relationships caused by sin can be restored and enriched. And by prayer, we receive Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, while we are yet sinners. Through prayer, confession of sin is made and forgiveness is experienced. We also receive God’s deliverance and healing through prayer. This is the power of God in prayer. It is the greatest spiritual exercise the human spirit, mind, soul and body can perform. But this spiritual exercise is not prompted or initiated by human nature or human spirit. It is truly possible only through the Spirit of God who calls us in prayer. The Spirit of God is always speaking to our hearts to pray. Every moment, every condition, every situation, every disappointment, every human relationship, every memory, every silence and every breath is an opportunity to pray to God. The Spirit ofGod always helps and empowers us to pray (Romans 8:26).
We love God because He first loved us. We pray to God because He first called us in prayer. We pray to God because His Spirit spoke with our spirit to call on Him and cry out to Him, “Abba,” Father (Romans 8:15). This cry or call from our heart is initiated by the Spirit of God, and it denotes a unique communication and relationship with God. Interestingly, God’s Spirit does not only speak to us once a day, or week, or month or year. Rather, He speaks to us every moment. We need to be still to listen and hear Him. God is always calling us into this wonderful relationship of prayer with Him every moment of our lives. Therefore, in Revelation 3:20, Jesus speaks to us to open the door of every area of our lives in order that He may come in to commune with us, so that we will commune and enjoy sweet fellowship with Him.
THINGS TO DO
1. List at least three things the article mentioned about prayer and talk them over with someone or a group of people.
2. Select at least three Bible passages from the article that say something about prayer and study them.
3. Spend some time in prayer now; submit yourself in the presence and power of God; listen to God speaking to your heart and pray for others and yourself.
Mletn-Too Wesley serves as lVCF International Student Ministry Specialist in West Michigan. He is a Liberian, who has studied and worked both in Africa and the USA.