Prayer puts God’s work in God’s hands. God is in heaven with open hands waiting for us to pray. He is ready to answer if we will just pray. In the Bible, we find three things to do when you pray. We are to:
Fast and Pray – Matt 17:21. Fasting and praying must certainly be one of the most powerful ways to pray. Esther asked all the Jews in Shushan to fast for three days while she and her maidens fasted before she approached Ahasuerus with her request. God miraculously opened the way for her before the king. And God saved the Jews from Haman’s wicked decree.
In Jon 3:5-10 the king of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and the people cried mightily unto God and God repented of the evil that he had said he would do to them. The church in Antioch fast and prayed before sending Paul and Barnabas out, Acts 13:2-3. When they ordained elders in every church, Paul and Barnabas fasted and prayed, Acts 14:23. You should fast and pray.
Watch and Pray – Mk 14:38. When Peter fell asleep in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told him to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” There are so many ways to fall prey to temptation these days. As Jesus said, “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” Indeed. The remedy is to watch and pray. Like Peter said, in 1 Pet 5:8, “be vigilant.”
Watching, as in 2 Cor 11:27, is also praying in the night as Jesus did in Lk 6:12 or Mk 1:35. And though Mk 13:33 is about watching for the second coming of Jesus, we should watch and pray in anticipation of his return for us at the rapture. Christians used to talk more about the coming of the Lord in the 60’s and 70’s than they do today and we are fifty years closer to his return than we were back then.
Thanks and Pray – Col 4:2. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Thanksgiving keeps the hands of God open. Be thankful to God in all things and for all things. Paul said in Phil 4:6, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” He gave us the “formula” if you will. As children, we were taught to say please and thank you. If that was a good instruction for our manners toward men, it’s an even better instruction for our manners with God.
Conclusion: Remember these three things to do when you pray: fast and pray, watch and pray, and thanks and pray.