Prayer shouldn't be drudgery or something you do out of religious compulsion. When you pray, you meet with the Creator of the Universe face to face. Prayer is two-way communication with your Abba, Father God. God does nothing on the earth except in response to the prayers of His children. When you pray according to God's Word and His will, you open the door for God to have His way in your life, the lives of those for whom you pray, and in the life of your nation. What a wonderful privilege we have as those who pray! I encourage you not merely to mandate prayer from those you lead, but to celebrate prayer with them!
Celebrate God’s Expectations
Jeremiah 29:11divulges God’s expectations for His children: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. The word peace is shalom in Hebrew. It means wholeness, safety, wellness, happiness, favor, friendship, andprosperity. God sees you, not as a dirty old sinner dog, but as His child whom He loves and for whom He as a hope-filled future. We should celebrate prayer because prayer makes a way for that positive future to come to pass!
Celebrate God’s Generosity
We don't have to beg God to meet our needs. God responds to faith, not weeping, wailing, and complaining. However, there are times when we will need to remain persistent in our faith and prayer; Jesus addressed this issue in the Gospel of Luke, just after He taught His disciples to pray.
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:5-13)
Even an imperfect, tired, grumpy man will give to his friend who continues asking for help. How much moreshould we expect to receive from the Father whatever we ask of Him? After all, God is not imperfect; He’s perfect. God is never weary or tired, and although God can be angered by sin, He is never grumpy towards those who are His own.
The word importunitymeans shameless. In other words, the person in need who knocked on his friend’s door wasn’t ashamed to ask for what he needed until he got it. He wasn’t afraid to wake his buddy up at midnight. He wasn’t timid or shy, as some Christians seem to be when they approach God. The man in Jesus’ example was bold to ask for what he needed, and we should be too.
I know that my granddaughters understand this concept because they employ it on me! When they see me, they are not timid, afraid, or shy about asking me for money! They know I have it, and they know that I want to bless them! When my granddaughters ask for money, I don’t give them pocket change, or a one or a five; I give them at least a hundred-dollar bill. If I am that generous towards my grandchildren, imagine how generous God is towards you! Jesus’ illustration enforced the principle of God’s generosity. God is much more extravagant towards us than we could ever be towards anyone! Celebrate God’s generosity!
Celebrate Every Prayer Victory
If you want to build your faith, or the faith of those you lead, celebrate every prayer victory—including those that are recorded in Scripture. Here are some answered prayers that give us reason to celebrate—
· In Genesis 20:17, Abraham prayed to God to heal Abimelech, and he was healed!
· In Numbers 11:2,Moses prayed, and judgment was lifted off his people.
· In 1 Samuel 1:27, Hannah prayed for a child, and God blessed her with a son.
· In 2 Kings 6:17, Elijah prayed, and God gave him revelation.
· In Job 42:10, Job prayed for his friends to be healed, and he was delivered.
· In Jonah 2:1, Jonah prayed that God would give him a second chance, and he was spit out of the whale’s belly.
· In Luke 21:32,Jesus prayed (even before Peter messed up) that Peter would be restored, and Peter became a leader, preaching the powerful first sermon on the Day of Pentecost!
· In Acts 8:15, the disciples prayed that Samaria would receive the Holy Ghost, and the entire city received.
· In Acts 9:40, Peter prayed, and Tabitha was raised from the dead.
· In Acts 10:2, Cornelius prayed, and his family was saved.
· In Acts 16:25, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises from their jail cell, and they and all the prisoners were released. The jailer and his family were also saved!
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)Celebrate the power and the effectiveness of prayer! What an honor and responsibility we have to co-operate with God in seeing His will come to pass. Your prayer brings about God's hope and future for you, your family, your church, and your nation!