What is Prayer?
What is actually going on in prayer? David alluded to what actually happens when you pray in Psalm 37:7 – "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices."
When you go through some of the most stressful times in your life, God made a provision where you can rest; but if you don’t know how to access that resting place, then you have a promise that you’re not utilizing. It’s a shame when you have a way to insulate yourself from situations and circumstances, and you don’t use it. Things are going to happen in life, but the Bible shows us a way to create and insulate ourselves where we don’t have to be affected by those events.
Prayer is a Place of Rest
This isn’t something that you are “going to go do”, saying that I’m going to go rest in the Lord. No, this is a place that you enter into, a state in which you enter into that insulates you. This isn’t something that you act out, recite a particular verbiage and you’re there. It doesn’t work that way.
In Genesis, God said His presence would go with Moses and He will give him rest – because it is God’s presence that will bring the rest. So when you’re with God and in His presence, you are in a resting state. It’s about getting into the presence with God, and while in that presence, we looked at Paul’s prescription for anxiety in Philippians 4:6-7, and how he said that we aren’t supposed to be anxious about anything. We showed you how it’s not good for your heart, or your mind. We gave you the scientific studies to show you how it affects your heart and brain. Paul said everything by prayer – and prayer is the way to invite the presence of God in.
Prayer is the resting place that guards that heart and that mind when you enter into it. You enter into that rest.
We've taught that studies have shown that when they do an MRI, one part of the brain is being accessed when you are speaking, reading your Word, and fully aware. There is another part of your brain that is saying that is receiving the information. The study showed that when the test subjects entered into this deep meditative type of prayer, not just “please bless my food”, but the state that in the Orient they refer to as the “zen shin”, or the “no mind state”, the conscious part of the brain was showing that it was “turned off”.
The only problem with that is the part that was receiving was still on! We get an "IV" from Heaven where God is still feeding us, and we aren’t even conscious. We don’t even have to know what He’s doing for us. He doesn’t want us to even worry about what He’s doing or fixing. So we get to “rest in Him” at the same time being fortified.
We’ve always believed this by faith, but now we can see this scientifically. It’s not even a faith issue anymore, but scientific fact. So, why wouldn’t you want to do it? Why not enter into to this insulated place to protect our hearts and our mind physically?
Prayer is the place where God can insulate you, but it’s the one place that’s fought the hardest. Where is it fought – your time! Here’s why – in prayer, we always think we have to go “do prayer”, something that we have to do, but there’s more to it than just doing something.
But when you get into that resting place, and God is fortifying you, and you get in that "no mind state" where your mind’s at rest, and you’re just being still, and knowing and basting in His presence, you’re still receiving from God. Now, you have to read and know the Word, but you’re not resting while you’re reading.
So, here’s how it works together. Once you know the Word, and get into the place of prayer, what you know begins to flow. Now, not only are you getting an "IV" from Heaven, but the same Word that is in you is fortifying your body. You can know scriptures, exegete every chapter of Isaiah, but if you can’t flow in what you know, you can’t be effective in your game.
So, prayer is that place where what you know begins to flow. Remember, it is in that resting place that you are connected to the mind of God. That’s why the Word says we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). You connect to God in prayer. You take on the character of what His Words are saying and you become like Him. If you want to become more like God, spend more time in prayer, get connected to His mind, stay connected to His Spirit. Let the Word continue to be in your heart until you are saturated in God’s presence at every level! We are to be Christ-like. That is done in prayer.
Prayer is a Lifestyle
Prayer is not an event; it is a lifestyle. It is a consistent part of your life like breathing, walking and eating. Why would you want to think without being engaged in prayer? If you get to thinking and exclude God out of that process, who knows where it will lead you? It probably won’t have a happy ending because you’ll be thinking about things that you shouldn’t be thinking about.
But when God’s there, and God’s filling your mind and making those exchanges, then you’ll think Godly thoughts and do Godly things. Pray without ceasing.
People say that they just want to know the will of God for their life. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – "in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
If you want to do God’s will for your life, then you need to pray and be thankful every day of your life. Pray without ceasing and be thankful! It’s hard to have a bad day. The will of God for your life is praying and in everything giving thanks!
This is when it’s “not mine will, Father, but thine will be done”. What a great way to live life. We can make this Christian experience as hard as we want, or we can break it down to just praying continually and giving thanks in everything.
Pray without Ceasing
When Paul says pray without ceasing, that word in the Greek is proseuchomai, and it means that three-part Hebraic prayer. This is like the Lord’s prayer – it is a template to know how to pray.
The first part is repentance. When you go to God in repentance, and you receive forgiveness, then you can petition. Now you can stand before God righteous and holy, washed in the blood of Jesus, and He hears your prayers. And after you make your petitions known, you begin to give Him thanks. This is what “pray” means. You automatically do those three things. Prayer is not sliding something quickly up to Heaven, prayer is inclusive in all those things. You are doing this daily all day long.
It starts out robotic, but you’ll eventually get into a flow. You start out in the morning repenting, then you ask for things, and you start praising Him, then all of a sudden here comes a curve ball. Immediately you have to change in the middle of prayer to adjust for that. You learn to flow in what you know. The more that you know, throughout your day as you’re praying without ceasing, you’ll just change with the flow.
When you get overwhelmed in your day, back off and just rest in the Lord. He’ll guard your heart and mind. You can’t understand it, and that peace will pass your understanding. God will feed you with that "IV" from Heaven and give you exactly what you need to do. He’ll give you exact instructions on how to act and what to say, and when you come back to consciousness, you’ll have the mind of Christ and say just Jesus would say and do just what Jesus would do. If you’re doing God-like things you are going to have God-like results.
This is prayer. The only way you are going to get good at prayer is to just do it.
The more you do it, the better you get. The longer you do it, the more effective you become. How would you like to know that you have become so effective in prayer that you have the power to change nations?
That’s a promise, but you don’t start your first day in the big leagues. You start where you are. The more you learn how to flow, the more effective you are. You learn to steer that power and know how to keep that pressure in one area until you accomplish what you’re praying for and you feel it break through.