The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Prayer - With the Understanding"
Certainly, there are times when God motivates and responds to the briefest prayer, "Lord help us!" Life comes at us fast and hard. We don't always have time in the moment to offer more than an earnest and spontaneous plea for our Heavenly Father's aid.
This is not the norm, however.
"I will pray with the understanding… And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us" (I Corinthians I4:15; John 5:14).
Prayer constitutes too gracious a gift, too solemn a responsibility, and too costly (to the Lord Jesus Christ) a privilege for any believer to neglect seeking the knowledge of God and His truth, whereby He enables us to pray Biblically, intelligently, and according to His will.
Regarding the aforementioned "Lord, help us!," even such a sometimes necessarily hasty cry to God requires at least some understanding if we are to expect Him to answer.
Consider the story of Mugsy and Bugsy, previously mentioned in these messages. One day, the two ne'er do well bandits decided to rob the 3rd National Bank of Bugtussle. When they arrived at the scene of their intended crime, Mugsy quickly grabbed his machine gun and started to leap from the car. Before he could exit, however, Bugsy shouted, "Wait, Mugsy! We can't go in yet." "Why not?" impatiently replied Mugsy. Bugsy folded his hands and bowed his head. "Because, Bugsy, we haven't prayed for God to help us yet!"
Extreme example, I know. And Mugsy would likely tell us his godly grandmother taught him to "Pray about everything, dear!" (sadly, Mugsy appears to have missed some of the other Bible lessons his dear Grandma also shared with him!). However, the point cannot be overlooked that regardless of the extent of our praying - be it the briefest cry, or the lengthiest season on our knees - we cannot expect our Heavenly Father to answer that which does not accord with His will. Yes, we must "pray with the understanding."
Thus, we must pray in the light of Scripture. "The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalm 119:130). The Psalmist greatly helps here. Nothing more causes even the most seasoned believer to realize how little of God and His ways we actually know than the calling to pray. No less than the Apostle Paul declared, "We know not what to pray for as we ought" (Romans 8:26). Thus, to have the slightest hope of praying effectually, our Heavenly Father must motivate, lead, enable, and teach us to pray. This means we must seek Him in His Word because our Bibles do not open themselves, nor do their precious words automatically jump off the sacred pages into our hearts. Indeed, no greater way of viewing Scripture exists than the understanding that it is the Textbook of prayer. The Bible contains many prayers, of course, and just as importantly, the truths we learn in the Bible about all things make possible effectual, fervent prayers that avail much (James 5:16).
Other than those of our Savior, the disciples offered perhaps the greatest prayer ever prayed: "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1). The Holy Spirit enrolls every believer as a student in this blessed school, and not a one of us has yet advanced beyond kindergarten. Let us then keep our Textbook close at hand and clear in heart as we make our approach to the Throne of grace. A Teacher beyond compare stands before us in the pages of His Word, and wondrously, dwells within us to make possible our understanding, and effective praying. He will gladly teach us as we join the disciples in the brilliance of their long ago request, "Lord, teach us to pray."
"And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth."
Weekly Memory Verse
"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead."