By Oscar M. Baker
Prayer is communication. Supplication is only one part of it. There doesn’t need to be any supplication in it. Prayer can be just talking with God like when Adam talked with God in the garden. Abraham had communication with God, and Enoch walked with God. David had some communication with God, and his Psalms show this forth. Now there are different kinds of prayer. Our Lord gave an illustration once to the disciples and others that might be listening. It was about two fellows that went up into the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and he stood out before the crowd, lifted his face up to heaven, and prayed out loud so they could hear him. He was thanking God that he wasn’t like that poor publican he saw over there who was an outcast, he was looked down on by the Jews as he collected taxes for the hated Roman government. Now that was a queer prayer that a man was thanking God for that he wasn’t like somebody else. Who would think of such a thing? Well, a proud Pharisee is about all that would think of such a thing. But it was a communication. I don’t know how far it got, maybe the Father wasn’t even listening. We’re told that some people’s prayers don’t get very far. God hears only those that fulfill the requirements.
EIGHT POINTS IN TRUE PRAYER—
1. True prayer gives access to the Father. True prayer He will listen to, and so you have access, otherwise you are shut off and you have no way of communication with the Father. The publican in the illustration didn’t even look up. He beat his breast as was the custom in that time for when they were in grief. He was an outcast and hated by the people, and he needed God. And so he beat himself on his breast and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” And of course, that’s a prayer that the Pharisee should have been praying, also, for in Romans Paul says, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, and he included himself in that, too. But the difference between the two is just this, the poor publican left the Temple a justified man – justified because of his faith and his type of prayer – repenting before the Father and asking for mercy.
2. True prayer puts God first, others second, and self last. True prayer rests on God’s promises. Our prayers should rest upon the promises for us today in the Prison Epistles. A lot of it gives us a platform. And practically every verse we should utter as a prayer.
3. True prayer watches and waits for the answer. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”
To be continued….
[Excerpts from T.F.T. tape, 1-17-84.]