By Dr. Ken Matto | Source

(Dan 6:10 KJV) Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

DANIEL knew that a decree was signed by Darius forbidding anyone to seek God or a god for a period of thirty days and if anyone was caught praying they would be cast into the lion’s den. Daniel would not obey such a decree because he knew that his prayer time was a vital part of his life. Nothing was going to come between him and his God, even his own possible demise meant less to him than prayer with God.

PONDER this fact for a moment! This man was willing to die rather than give up his prayer time. How many of us do not pray because it is inconvenient or we “don’t have the time.” Maybe the reason we do not have the time is because we do not pray. When Martin Luther had a heavy schedule pending, he spent as much as three hours in prayer in the morning and accomplished his daily tasks with the blessing of God. I would like to lay before you some reasons why prayer is vital.


(Matthew 26:41 KJV) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

IT is imperative that we pray every day because there are thousands of ways the believer can be tempted to sin. We are commanded to both watch and pray. Prayer is spiritual warfare of the highest order. We have the privilege of coming directly into the presence of God through Christ. We will be invading the spiritual realm of Satan, which would cause him to retaliate. As Christians, we are at war and must be continually invoking the power of God to protect and guide us through the day. We may not realize we are in a war but we are fully engaged. Study the four gospels and you will see that the Lord confronted many demons, plus Satan himself. The lack of teaching on this subject of spiritual warfare is dreadful.

UNFORTUNATELY the subject of Demonology has been relegated to the medieval mindset. This biblical doctrine would probably have become extinct if it wasn’t for the Charismatic Church. I believe they over-emphasize Satan and his power, but at least they make their people aware there is an arch enemy at work. It also took the New Age Movement to arouse our attention to this important subject. Prayer is vital to the Christian’s existence. It would be impossible to live the Christian life without it. Prayer is not to be neglected, nor exchanged for Bible study. Prayer is as important to the Christian as water is to the body.
(John 16:24 KJV) Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
A Christian must come to God in the right spirit of prayer, that is, out of desire to seek God and not out of a feeling of obligation. Prayer is what you make it! If you tend to view prayer as a cumbersome chore, then you will treat it like the plague. You may also think you are doing God a favor by praying. If this is your attitude, no wonder you have no joy in prayer. To gain joy in prayer one must view it as:
1) A Privilege - God does not need our input.
2) An Opportunity - You are seeking God’s thoughts.
3) Family Communication - You are talking with your Heavenly Father.
4) Intimate Dialogue - You may express your deepest hurts and your greatest joys in
confidence. You may express your most embarrassing sins to God.
JOYFUL prayer is a matter of how we view prayer. How do you think God feels when He hears His children say, “Oh, time to pray again.” Prayer is communication with a living being. How would you like to be a person who is consistently neglected, referred to as “cumbersome,” or “a chore?” Joyful prayer is Christ’s desire for us, as stated in our verse.
(Exo 3:5 KJV) And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
WHEN Moses was summoned near to God on Sinai, he was not allowed in the presence of God until God sanctified him. As God sanctified the ground Moses walked on, it was symbolic of our approaching God cloaked in Christ’s holiness. Prayer is a very holy moment, as you are in contact with Holy God. This is why God cannot answer the prayer of the unbeliever, because they are unholy since they are not cleansed by the blood of Christ.
ONCE an unbeliever becomes saved and knows Christ as Savior, they are sanctified and made holy through the blood of Christ. Then they are allowed to pray to God and will be heard. Imputed holiness is heard by Holiness Himself. We must never have a flippant attitude toward prayer because it is holy.
(Jer 33:3 KJV) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
BELIEVING prayer unlocks the power of God into our lives and situations. God has promised greater things to happen if we call upon Him. He said, “I will answer thee,” not "I might answer thee." When a believer is facing a tough decision or the bottom drops out of their lives, they can have assurance God will intervene with His great power. God’s method and timing may be different from ours, but we can be assured that when God works on our behalf (which is always), it will be a life-changing episode. Elijah demonstrated the power of believing prayer on Mt. Carmel when he confronted the 450 prophets of Baal. Moses also showed the power of believing prayer via the parting of the Red Sea. The same power is available for us today because God never changes.
(1 Sam 12:23 KJV) Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
SAMUEL had good spiritual insight into the sin of prayerlessness. He knew that part of his responsibility as a prophet and priest was to be an intercessor for the nation of Israel. The Christian is also called to be a prophet and priest, to intercede with God on behalf of both believers and unbelievers. Let us look at the present. Is it still considered sin not to pray? Did God remove this verse from your Bible? The answer to the first question is yes, because a person who does not pray reveals certain beliefs:
1) They are prideful believing they can handle all their own situations.
2) God is nothing but a messenger boy who should only be invoked when trouble arises.
3) They simply do not care for others because they will not pray for others.
4) They simply do not believe the promises of Scripture.
5) Laziness
SO my friend, if you have been living a life of prayerlessness, it is never too late to begin a daily prayer life. Satan will do what he can to hinder, but you persevere. A life without prayer is an unbelieving life.
(James 1:5 KJV) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
WHEN we face a major decision, we have two options: One, we may choose worldly advice with all its pseudo-experts. Or; two, we may ask God to guide us in the decision. God’s wisdom is irrefutable and sometimes we ask Him for guidance, and He does exactly opposite of how we think He should work. When we humble ourselves before God in prayer, we are admitting our wisdom is insufficient. For example, you might be praying to change careers and God allows it. (He does not deny every request.) He may initiate the change of career by causing you to lose your job in May, and then open up the new job next March. I don’t know why He does it this way, but during the time off, I can guarantee that you will have times of testing to see if you are qualified for the new career.
GOD’S wisdom covers all bases and focuses on areas we never thought of. “Let go and let God” is a very unscriptural phrase, because God wants us strategically involved in every phase of our life. Strange statement? Not really, because many Christians have allowed themselves to become detached from their spiritual lives, believing God will do everything for them. Let me offer three ways to negate that thought pattern:
1) Pray for God’s guidance.
2) Pursue the doors that you believe are open. God will close them if He does not want
you there.
3) Pursue those areas where you think God may not put you. These can be identified with
the saying, “I doubt that God wants me there.”
(Isa 55:8 KJV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
MANY years ago I sent a resume to a company for a Customer Service position and was called in for an interview and was hired as a Production Control Supervisor. From a human standpoint, God’s wisdom will remain a mystery to us, but we are thankful it is available.
FEAR, discouragement, and depression (FDD) may be overcome by prayer. When a person goes into sincere prayer concerning a situation they are facing or if the bottom has dropped out of their lives, then prayer can begin to transfer those feelings to Christ, who asks us to lay all our burdens on Him.
(Mat 11:28-30 KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {29} Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. {30} For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
THESE verses deal mainly with salvation, yet they can be claimed for those who suffer from FDD. It must be noted that FDD are symptoms which indicate deeper problems which must be dealt with. Many times depression is treated with drugs, which may work if the depression is a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. If the depression is self-induced, then medication may only compound the problem. Self-induced you ask? FDD are symptoms which do not occur overnight, they are a result of a series of events in a person’s life. To help combat these symptoms, a retraining of the thought process is necessary. As a person begins to pray, an exchange happens. Let me offer you some examples:
THE person who lives in fear has a difficult time doing or trying anything because of their fear. When a sincere prayer life is attempted, it constitutes a venturing out of their sphere of fear. As they continue in their prayer venture, there will be a graduation to a state of confidence as God begins to:
A. Answer their prayers.
B. Melt their fear to begin to build their confidence in Him and the promises of Scripture.
Once a person places their confidence in the Scriptures, it is only a short step to conquering their fear.
THE person who is discouraged has probably faced some failure in their life but instead of looking to God for their answers, they focus on the failures and are too disappointed to try again. When this person begins to adopt a serious prayer life, they are testing God as to His verity. They are not boldly challenging God with a clenched fist toward Heaven. What they want to see is God working on their behalf, which would negate the failure chain they are in. As God begins to open the new horizons, the discouraged person will become the encouraged person. They will learn how to filter all their setbacks through God’s omnipotent hands.
THE depressed person has built a cocoon around themselves because they are self-focused. Self-centered people have more bouts with depression than any other class of people, because their life is based on their own talents and abilities. When these fail, they become depressed as they see their world--which they once controlled--fall apart. The depressed person must begin to express themselves, and prayer is a way to do this. By praying, it helps them gain a caring partner in their life, whereas in the past, they have shut everyone out of their private life, even if they have had many friends. Even the Lord Jesus was not a part of their life. As this person begins to express themselves in prayer, the self-centered person becomes others-centered, and then begins to piece together a fragmented life into a stable Christian life. As they do, they discover places they fouled up and exchange those things for proper Christian action. Prayer is a great dissipater of satanic attack, but one must never put their faith in their prayers but in the One who answers the prayer.
BEFORE I close this section, I want to emphasize that in conjunction with a serious prayer life, biblical counseling may be in order. It is easier to get into sin than out of it. This section should serve only as a guideline to help a distressed believer initiate spiritual healing. When a person begins to initiate that healing in their life, it is advisable to have a partner for accountability.
(1 Th 5:17 KJV) Pray without ceasing.
WE are to pray with diligence. We must make every effort to bathe everything in prayer. Even the most mundane task will take on new meaning when we hand it over to God in prayer. Prayer is our vital link to the power of God as we have already seen. The Bible is replete with prayers as they differ in content and style, based on the person who was praying. As we pray, we will notice how different our lives will be, especially in our attitude toward daily living. The Apostle Paul never made a move without praying, and neither should we.
THE way people drive, the economy, and the general attitude of unbelievers toward Christianity, are just three reasons why we must be in continual prayer. Our lives must be imbued with the power and protection of God since we live in a hostile world. You may lack power in your Christian walk because you lack a prayer life. I have personally prayed before meetings, on the highway on the way to work, before the work day starts, etc. There is no limit or single method of praying. If your heart is right before God, the method will be inconsequential.
(Luke 11:3 KJV) Give us day by day our daily bread.
THIS verse deals with the Lord Jesus Christ, but for this section, I want to make it a plea for daily physical necessities. There is nothing unbiblical about praying for daily needs. George Mueller was the living example of this. He directed an Orphanage in England, and rarely, if ever, knew where the next meal was coming from. He prayed fervently each day, and God met those needs without hesitation. George Mueller had his heart and mind on God. God honored his prayers and faith abundantly. How about you? Do you have faith when you pray? Or do you say to God, “Well, Lord, You know my needs, but I will keep my credit cards handy just in case You don’t answer the way I think You should.” Oh, we may not say it like that, but if that represents a prayer attitude of mine, then I should not pray because my prayer will only be hitting the ceiling and bouncing off.
GOD can be trusted for our daily needs, because as His children, He has taken on the responsibility to care for our spiritual and physical needs. There is nothing wrong about praying for material goods, since we need cars to get to work, shoes, clothes, etc. God will supply our daily necessities. All we must do is rest in the promises that He will take care of us. (Matthew 6:22-34) Our daily needs may seem large to us, but to God, they are business as usual.
Praying gives us an awareness of how dependent we are on God. This article could not have been written without dependence on the Holy Spirit. Let us look at one place in Scripture where this is borne out. In Acts 12, we see there arose a persecution against the church.  In fact, James, the brother of John, was martyred in the pogrom. Peter was arrested and placed in prison and was guarded by four quaternion of Roman soldiers. Each quaternion was composed of four soldiers. There were four watches and each quaternion guarded one watch. Two soldiers stayed with the prisoner and two guarded the prison cell door. There is no possible way that anyone could sneak past these guards without being captured or killed, so physical rescue was impossible. The following is a compendium of events relating to Peter’s capture and divine release.
The Situation
(Acts 12:4 KJV) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
PETER was placed in prison, and from a human standpoint, the situation looked hopeless.
The Supplication
(Acts 12:5 KJV) Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
THE church of God went to work on its knees and prayed fervently for Peter’s release.
The Setting
(Acts 12:6 KJV) And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
PETER was placed between two soldiers and the custom was to chain the prisoner to the guards. If there was the slightest movement, the guards would be awakened.
The Solution
(Acts 12:7 KJV) And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
SINCE no one from the church would be able to get to Peter, God sent an angel in response to the prayers of the church to free Peter and to guide him out of the prison.
The Satisfaction
(Acts 12:14 KJV) And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
WHEN Peter was freed, he came directly to the people who were praying for him as a testimony to God having answered their prayer. When Rhoda came to the door, she was excited. The Bible uses the term “gladness,” which may also be translated “joy or delight.”
POINT OF CONSIDERATION - Rhoda went to the door and saw Peter. She then told the rest who were still praying for him. They did not believe her! Here they were praying for Peter’s release, and when it finally happened, they were in a state of unbelief. Could it be that God answered Rhoda’s prayer out of that whole group, since she believed and the others did not? She was also the only one who saw the initial answer to her prayer by seeing Peter.
GOD requires faith and belief as two prerequisites for prayer. Maybe God allowed Rhoda to go to the door so she could personally see the answer to her prayer. James 1:6 speaks of faith in prayer, and it states, “nothing wavering.” That is an emphatic nothing! Now I cannot be dogmatic about Rhoda and the others, but the possibility exists. Nevertheless, glean the principles of the lesson and engraft them into your life. Our dependence on God is our survival, whether it be spiritual or physical. Let us be quick to understand that man without God is extinction. Don’t pray because you must.   Pray because you may.
(Eph 6:18 KJV) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
WITNESSING can be a frightful ordeal, especially if you are one that goes house to house. Praying for strength in a witnessing situation is mandatory. Probably one of the best examples of this was the prayer of Nehemiah while he was still serving the King. Nehemiah was sad when he came into the presence of the King, and the King wanted to know the reason for it. In ancient days, sadness in front of the King could have cost you your life. In Nehemiah 2:4, the King makes an inquiry about what request Nehemiah desires and instantly, Nehemiah prayed silently that God would guide his words, since he was standing before the King of Persia. The same prayer principle holds true with us today. We invoke God’s power to:
1) Embolden our witness.
2) To prepare the heart of the person we are witnessing to.
3) To grant us the proper words.
4) To be an apologetic when presenting the Gospel.
AGAIN, the prayer is not what gives us the strength, but it is the One who answers it.
I hope this article has helped you discover some principles of prayer that will help you desire a prayer-filled life. I would like to finish this paper with a poem on prayer I received from a church bulletin, written by Georgia P. Buche.
I Forgot To Pray
I got up this morning,
It was time to start the day,
I had so very much to do,
I didn’t take time to pray.
Troubles came tumbling on me,
Heavier became my tasks,
I wondered why God didn’t help me,
He said, “Child, you didn’t ask.”
I tried to see truth and beauty,
The day stayed dark and bleak,
I wondered why God didn’t show me,
He said, “Child, you didn’t seek.”
I tried to enter God’s presence,
I used all the keys to the lock,
God tenderly, lovingly answered,
“My Child, you didn’t knock.”
I got up early next morning,
I made ready to start the day,
I had so very much to do, but
I took the time to pray.

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