21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

January 9, 2019

Wednesday we start 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting at NewPointe. Maybe you feel excited, or maybe you are secretly wondering why. What is prayer anyway? Ask a dozen people that question and you’ll get at least a dozen different answers. Some may feel it is saying the Lord’s Prayer or praying the rosary. Others might feel it is calling on a Higher Power. Some believe it is simply asking God for something. But we believe the purpose of prayer is to talk to the God of the Universe, the Creator, Almighty God. God encourages His people to communicate with Him, and the Bible, the record of God’s history with mankind, is filled with the prayers and stories of His people who prayed in all kinds of situations. Prayer is communication with God.

But prayer is more than words. Simply saying words is not prayer or a well-trained parrot could do it. Prayer is an expression of the heart. It comes from relationship with God. We don’t just say words we have memorized; we speak from the heart and listen with the heart.

Asking God to meet your needs is a legitimate part of prayer, but prayer is more than giving God a grocery list. Imagine a relationship where you got no communication but “please, please,” and “gimmes.” No words of affection, thanks, compliments, or appreciation. No dreams or hopes are shared. No sorrows or griefs. Just business. Just “I need this,” or “give me that.” Why would you want a relationship like that? You’d probably ditch it.

Richard Foister, theologian and author, says that prayer is essentially a growing relationship of love between a person and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Humans grow close to each other by spending quality, focused time together. We grow close to God as we spend time with God, talking, listening, sitting in His presence. The point of prayer is relationship. So, the sign that prayer works is not a magical answer—it’s that the relationship between the person who prayers and the One who listens grows.

“We ask in prayer,” writes author and theologian Mark Roberts, “because we want God’s answers. But more profoundly, we ask because asking brings us near to God. When we approach the throne of grace boldly, seeking mercy and grace in our time of need, we get more than what we came for. We receive both God’s help and God’s presence. We ask in prayer because we need answers. But we ask because, most of all, we need God. Supplication opens the doors to deeper relationship with the Lord.”

As we mature and grow over time, our prayers become less and less about stuff and our hurts and needs, and more about Him. Real love grows.

You can see that prayer, then, is absolutely vital. If we want to make any progress in life, we must pray, for everyone who asks receives” (Luke 11:5-13 & Luke 18:1-8). “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Our growing relationship with God helps us know and desire what God wants and knows is best, so we pray in faith, in line with His desires.

If you desire life, and life in abundance; if you want to make constant progress, to be increasingly conformed to the image of Christ; if you want to make steady progress, if you want to be effective in your service to the Lord, then pray and pray again.

The standard word has been that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. However, more recent research says to actually qualify as a habit—something you really truly are most likely to continue long term, it takes 66 days. But 21 days is a great start. If you choose to pray with us for 21 days, maybe you will find enough satisfaction in your growing relationship with God that you will choose to persevere until March 8, and find you have created a habit you cannot live without.

Pray with us. Your relationship will grow. You will find that, indeed, prayer DOES change things. Even better, prayer changes you.

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