Take Time to Pray Every Day
1. What is a good practice before eating?
WHEN the family comes together for their meals each day it is a fine practice to pause first and express appreciation for the provision of food. Do you stop and thank God for the food you eat? Yes, it may have been your money that bought it and perhaps your hands that cultivated it or prepared it for serving, but, when you think about it, was it not our grand Creator who made the wonderful provision of food in the first place, as explained in the book of Genesis: “Here I have given to you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed. To you let it serve as food”?—Gen. 1:29.
2. (a) Should we be too busy to recognize the Giver of food? (b) What confidence did David and Christ Jesus express?
2 Jehovah wonderfully designed the vast and delicious variety of things to eat, such as grains, vegetables, fruits and meats. How can anyone be too busy to remember the Giver of anything so vital as the food we eat and need for daily nourishment. It does not take many words to show appreciation and recognition that is due God in this regard. Here again we can imitate Christ Jesus, who taught us to pray: “Give us today our bread for this day.” (Matt. 6:11) When he fed thousands miraculously he said a blessing. (Matt. 14:14-21) We can have faith that Jehovah will not let his people go hungry. David had that confidence when he wrote: “A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.”—Ps. 37:25; Matt. 6:31-33.
3. (a) What is an important part of our worship? (b) Why should we come in time for the opening of our meetings?
3 Congregational prayer is a vital part of our worship. It shows proper respect to be at the meetings arranged for the congregation in time to be seated so as to listen carefully to the opening prayer. One dedicated brother is chosen to represent the group in prayer. Listen to what he says, expressing himself in prayer to God. If you are in agreement with the thoughts that are expressed, you can say from the heart, ‘Amen’ (a Hebrew word that means “surely”).—1 Cor. 14:16.
4. What does prayer do for those attending a meeting?
4 It is stimulating to hear warm expressions of praise, thanksgiving to Jehovah, the Hearer of prayer, and requests for his spirit and guidance. How fitting it is to pray at the start and the closing of our meetings for Bible study and training. It aids the attender to dismiss distracting thoughts and lends an air of seriousness to the arrangement. Both young and old can listen and learn to fear and obey God as they gather together. (Deut. 31:12) Truly the precious provision of prayer at our meetings binds our brothers together in love and unity and helps us to keep in mind those unable to attend. (Acts 12:5) Praying together binds a congregation together and, along with other spiritual blessings of the meetings, incites all to love and fine works.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
5, 6. (a) Is there some special position or formality required when prayer is offered? (b) Why will kneeling aid?
5 Talking with God should not be limited to mealtime and the congregational meetings. We can find many occasions daily to commune with our Father in heaven. There is no special position necessary or formality to follow. The apostle Paul follows up a description of our spiritual armor with these words: “While with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit.”—Eph. 6:18.
6 Kneeling when praying helps one to have the right mental attitude. It is a most respectful way to approach the Sovereign of the universe. (Eph. 3:14) In some lands it is customary to bow to people. It is most proper to bow to the Greatest Person alive. The invitation of Psalm 95:6 is: “O come in, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Jehovah our Maker.” It is just marvelous to think that no appointment is needed; anytime or anywhere a brief request or expression of gratitude can be made through the channel, Christ Jesus, to God.—John 16:23.
7. (a) Name two vital things to consider in talking to God. (b) Why is it good to be in a quiet place?
7 Talking with God is a matter of the heart as well as the mind. The psalmist emphasized this point, saying: “I have called with my whole heart. Answer me, O Jehovah.” (Ps. 119:145) Rather than a special physical position or a place to pray, it is what you say and the motive behind the words that count. Do not say the same things over repetitiously. Some think that prayer is more effective this way. But that is not what Jesus recommended. (Matt. 6:7) It is not good to memorize words for this purpose. In sincere prayer it is the ideas and thoughts that mean the most. Worship must be from the heart, not only the lips. (Matt. 15:8) It is beneficial and aids in concentration to seek out a quiet place to talk to God.—See Matthew 6:6; Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18.
8. Why should a confession of sins be made? On what basis?
8 Aside from your basic needs and other petitions, do you confess your sins in the Scriptural way? On the basis of Jehovah’s loving-kindness and mercy we can now plead for forgiveness of our sins by means of Christ’s sacrifice. (Num. 14:17-19) There is one mediator, Christ Jesus, the appointed way to approach God. (1 John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5) Of course, if we want forgiveness we in turn must be forgiving, as shown in Luke 11:4. It is well to remember that, no matter how much you forgive others, you will never equal the extent to which God has forgiven you.
9. (a) What follow-through is necessary for mercy to be shown? (b) Describe a loving provision for help.
9 An earnest confession of sins and error aids one to go forward with a better conscience. (Ps. 32:5) However, do not confess your sins at night and ask to be forgiven if the next day you fail to put forth the proper effort to overcome the particular weakness. The proverb wisely states: “He that is covering over his transgressions will not succeed, but he that is confessing and leaving them will be shown mercy.” (Prov. 28:13) At times it is necessary also to ask help from older men in the congregation, requesting their prayers on one’s behalf, as shown in James 5:14-16. This loving arrangement is another fine provision for our spiritual well-being.
10. What benefits are there from making prayer a habit?
10 When coming to an accurate knowledge of the Bible, one will form new habits as one puts on the new personality. (Col. 3:9, 10) One of these habits should be that of regular prayer. It is good to raise your heart and, where convenient, your voice to Jehovah and talk to him. It does not require an abundance of words. When, starting out the day, you want to accomplish much, let him know that. When, tiring out during the day, you need added strength, ask for it. At the end of a day of accomplishment, there is some satisfaction; express your appreciation for it. All day long keep in touch, expressing yourself. Make it a habit to confide in your heavenly Father; then gradually prayer will become a part of your life. You will enjoy this privilege to the full. “Be vigilant with a view to prayers.” “Pray incessantly.” Establish the fine habit of talking with God.—1 Pet. 4:7; 1 Thess. 5:17.
11. What is supplication, and when is it necessary?
11 The Bible speaks of supplication along with prayer, supplication being a more intense form of humble entreaty to God. (Phil. 4:6) Christ Jesus prayed for Peter so his faith would not give out. (Luke 22:32) Jehovah stood ready to help his own Son in time of need. (Heb. 5:7) There are times when a person needs help—when his physical strength runs out, when his mental powers are exhausted and when serious problems need to be solved. This is the time to lean on your God for help, direction, wisdom and strength. It is comforting to learn that “the eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their cry for help.”—Ps. 34:15.
12. What did Jehovah provide to aid in our warfare?
12 In view of the fact that our enemies are more powerful than we are, it is not possible to stand alone, without outside aid. There is the vital spiritual armor from God described in Ephesians 6:11-17, along with prayer and supplication (Eph 6 vs. 18), to enable us to stand firm against the Devil and the demons. Through diligent study, prayer, meditation and regular association with our Christian brothers and a desire to share the good news with others, we can be healthy in the faith, strong and determined to stay in the truth. As we daily draw close to our heavenly Protector we will be reminded to keep up our guard so as to wage the right kind of warfare.—1 Tim. 6:12.
13. What wonderful relief can be had from daily burdens?
13 If you take time, not being too busy to pray, you can receive much comfort, knowing that Jehovah helps in many ways with our problems and the things that tend to weigh us down. We are invited to throw our burdens and anxieties upon him, for he assures us that he cares for us. (Ps. 55:22; 1 Pet. 5:7) After having prayed about a matter we do well to have the faith that God will take care of it, that is, if we work in harmony with what we asked of him. We are commanded not to be anxious over anything. (Phil. 4:6) Why not relieve your mind of that which may trouble you. With prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God.
OVERCOMERS WITH PRAYER
14. (a) How can we win in tests of faith? (b) How should we view the time spent in talking with God?
14 We have reached a time when we are facing the greatest crisis in world history. There are tests of faith now and more ahead. It is wise to pay constant attention to ourselves and to our teaching. (1 Tim. 4:16) It is no time to take chances. Not only must we be in the race but we must obey the rules for life. One rule is to be “vigilant with a view to prayers.” In prosperous lands it is easy to get ensnared with the love of things that you can own or possess and find yourself putting earthly treasures ahead of heavenly ones. It is very easy also to get contaminated with worldly ways. Ask Jehovah for strength to speak out the truth when necessary and strength to keep quiet when you might betray a trust. The most precious moments every day can be when you approach God, asking him to help you and that he might guard your steps in his way. (Ps. 37:34) Pray not only to win through trials and temptations but also to gain divine approval.
15. (a) Why can we expect God to listen to us? (b) Should we express ourselves freely to him?
15 The fact that God commands us to pray and fills his Word with examples of men of prayer should convince us that we can expect him to listen to our petitions. Pray to be on the safe side, Jehovah’s side of the great issue, and that you might keep a deep-seated joy of true friendship and understanding with him. If you want to enjoy the blessed close relationship with God, then you must be consistent and live in strict harmony with what you tell him. When decisions must be made, choose the course that will keep your trained Christian conscience clear and clean. (1 Tim. 1:5, 19) You should not reason that, since God already knows our inmost thoughts, it is not necessary to tell him anything. You should want to express yourself freely to him because of a heartfelt desire to enjoy the best of relations with him at all times.
16. (a) What attitude should the Christian maintain? (b) Should one talk with God and serve his enemy?
16 Our request should also be to maintain a theocratic attitude so we will not be talking to God and actually be serving his chief enemy. One who is dedicated and baptized to do God’s will should not be doing enemy thinking or acting. The Bible rule is that one cannot be serving two masters. (Matt. 6:24) Nor can we be limping between two opinions, dividing our worship and service between Jehovah’s organization and Satan’s. (1 Cor. 7:23) Some may not openly argue against the truth or God’s way of doing things but on the other hand they may refuse to act on the good things learned and thus resist the direction to move ahead. By maintaining an intimate relationship to God, using that spiritual bridge of prayer, a person will be more apt to keep in mind his always staying loyal and faithful to God.
17. (a) How is a person able to accomplish more than he thinks he can? (b) What source of strength should be tapped?
17 Your prayer habits should never deteriorate into a mere routine or formality. Continue to approach the Most High God in full faith and ask always in line with his will. (1 John 5:14, 15) Faith is not a quality only to be assigned to men of Bible times. We can pray for more faith so as to accomplish more than ‘we think we can.’ Reading the scripture at Ephesians 3:20 should encourage us to tap more regularly this unseen reservoir of unlimited help to carry out God’s will for us: “Now to the one who can, according to his power which is operating in us, do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive . . .” Feel free to ask for physical needs, spiritual blessings and the triumph of righteousness, and to be a better and stronger witness, giving a fine, logical explanation of the truth at a moment’s notice.
18. (a) Should we forget to pray? (b) Why do we need prayer?
18 With the principles of faithfulness and loyalty to Jehovah’s interests ingrained in our minds and hearts, may we stay strong in the faith, persevering in prayer so that we may never swerve from the path of righteousness. (Rom. 12:12) It should be unthinkable to chase Jehovah God out of our mind even for one day of our dedicated life. Consider for a moment the joy, the strength, the confidence and poise Jehovah’s name people have because they know how to reach their Father in heaven via prayer. (John 16:24) We need to think about our precious privilege of prayer often so that we will be riveted to our assigned places in Jehovah’s ever-expanding organization. We want to be ever ready to accept all that is lovingly provided to maintain our whole-souled devotion to the Hearer of prayer.
19. What excuse is heard in the field ministry, and can we properly use such excuse for not praying?
19 When presenting the Kingdom message to others, the reply is often heard: “I’m too busy.” It is hard to fathom why people are too busy to listen to a Bible message. However, on the other hand, do we find in our own course of action that we are saying in effect we are too busy to talk to God or to listen to his Word by a regular study of it? Be careful not to get caught in a whirlpool of activity that will stealthily drown your appreciation of communing with God. In other words, never let collapse that spiritual bridge to true understanding and friendship with Jehovah God.
20. What invitation should we accept daily?
20 May we be always happy for the divine invitation to pray: “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, to all those who call upon him in trueness.” (Ps. 145:18) Be assured that through the miracle of prayer Jehovah is able to listen to you. Speaking with him is truly a most sacred and treasured privilege. If you appreciate that fact, you will pray. Take time to do it every day.