1 Tim 4:4,5
Prayer is such a vital part of the life of the believer yet it is probably the least understood. At Calvary Chapel Conference Center, we use the gift and the armor of prayer at all levels and in every circumstance. We have literally hundreds of references to prayer throughout the Old and the New Testaments. Prayer is essentially and basically communicating with God. Communication by definition is two-way. Prayer should consist of the two elements of asking and listening. As the late Pastor L.E. Romaine of CCCM used to say "God gave you two ears and only one mouth." If you have a one-way relationship -- well, you know where that goes.
I was in church when God strongly placed this acronym for prayer upon my heart. I was not looking for it or even thinking about it. In obedience though, I simply scribbled the word "Available" down and just as quickly received the words to go with each letter of the acronym. Upon arrival at home, I quickly got on the computer and wrote out this simple devotion.
"A-v-a-i-l-a-b-l-e," an acronym for prayer, will help us to codify some of the qualities and characteristics of a prayer in light of the Word of God and in the life of the true believer. Prayer will remind us that he is GOD and we are not. This acronym is based upon the word "available" which in its basic Websters definition means "reachable."
"Our Father who art in heaven" -- He is the one true God. (Deuteronomy 6:4 -- the Hebrew shema) He is the creator of the universe. (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1) We direct our prayers towards the one and only God. (Isaiah 43:11, 44:6, 45:5-7) We direct our prayers to the God who forgive sins. (Matthew 6:14, Mark 2:5-7, Romans 6:23)
V-Veil/Victory... At the crucifixion of Jesus, the veil to the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn, giving us access to the Holy of Holies, a picture of our direct access to God the Father. (Matthew 27:51, Hebrews 6:19, Hebrews 9:11-15) We have victory in Christ at the Cross. (1Corinthians 15) HE alone defeated death by resurrecting Himself on the third day. (John 2:19-22) Our victory is our hope in the assurance of the Resurrection. 1 John 5:13 states that we have eternal life.
A-Access/Always/Attitude... Access is somewhat redundant here in as it is a synonym for available; nonetheless it is an important characteristic of prayer and it dovetails well with our command to pray always. For if we were ever denied access, it would follow that we could not obey this command. Vice-versa, as we strive to pray always, we realize that God is only a prayer away. Pray 24/7; pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:6) Paul was the ultimate example as verily in every letter he states his constant prayer for them. Paulís prayers were other-centered. Jesus, as well, in John 17 (entire chapter) lays out for us an awesome example of prayer. Our attitude should be an attitude of prayer.
I-Intercessory... prayer on behalf of others. Ezekiel gives us an example of how God is searching for a man in the earth who will stand in the gap for the land and the people. (Ezekiel 22:30) Examples of intercessory prayer can be found in Isaiah 53:12, Hebrews 7:25, and Jesus' in John 17. The (Holy) Spirit in Romans 8:26 is constantly interceding for us. In application, Paul says to imitate him as he imitates Christ -- to selflessly pray for others as our examples have done before us.
L-Life Eternal... dovetailing well with intercessory prayer as souls are hanging in the balance. (Matthew 16:26) Eternal life is at hand as we intercede for those who donít know Him. We pray for the Father to draw the unbelievers to Himself for eternal life. (John 3:16, John 6:37) We pray that "the sheep" would hear His voice and respond to His call to Himself for salvation.
A-All things... are possible with God. (Mark 9:23, Matthew 19:26) With God, nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37) Recently, my 73-year-old dad, a "dyed-in-the-wool" atheist, received Jesus Christ as his Savior. Pray, for the object of our faith is The Creator.
B-Believe... God. Ask without doubting. (John 15:16, James 1:6)
Faith and belief are interchangeable. The Hebrews 11 definition of faith states "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."
Without faith it is impossible to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Anything that is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
For prayer to be effective, you must believe and believe that He is a rewarder of those who trust Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Belief (faith) is simply a key ingredient of salvation (Acts 16:30-31). The Philippian jailer asks "What must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas respond, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!"
L-Love... God is love. (1 John 4:9) Love covers a multitude of sins. (James 5:20) Pray because you love God and want fellowship and a relationship with Him. Jesus said you would know them by their love. He said "if you love me, do my commandments." A sacrifice of prayer is an act of ultimate love. As I cried out to the Lord to save my family, I began to pray for them. A relationship is based on communication and prayer is a vehicle to communicate with God and a vehicle for God to communicate to you.
E-Eternal perspective... If we will view life with eternity in mind, we will weigh successfully the things that are most important and the eternal things will far outweigh the temporal. We will pray more, to God, for others, in fulfillment of the greatest of all commandments, to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Prayer should help us to focus on eternity. The eternal perspective on life will radically transform your walk with God. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Philippians 3:20-21)
The word "available" means reachable.
GOD is reachable.
Access is 24/7.
We who have been born-again of the Spirit of God have become the children of God. (John 1:12) Our Father, through the shed blood of Jesus has made Himself available to us at all times. All good gifts come from Him. (James:1:17) We have not because we ask not (James 4:2) and Jesus has promised that any thing we ask of Him according to the will of the Father will be done. (John 15:16)
As we have talked about prayer and about the only true God, you may be asking, "How do I get to know this God I just read about? How do I start to communicate with Him?"
The Bible states in Romans 10:9-13, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved..."
If there was ever a day and an age and a time that we needed to pray, these would be the days.
Letís pray, pray, pray, pray, pray.
Lance Roll, Executive Chef