Brother Christian Diongo
Keeping your knees down is a representation of prayer, (being consistent in prayer). When it comes to this principle, it is a matter of the heart’s posture more than the physical act of kneeling. The state of your heart is then reflected in your attitude when it comes to prayer. This is because, as the Prophet Isaiah states in Isaiah 29:13, “People honour and worship God with their lips; however, their hearts are far from Him”. Therefore, people who truly seek God with their hearts know the significance of prayer, which is one of the ways to remain closer to God.
Prayer is defined as an “invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication”. Furthermore, its etymology is derived from the Latin word “precaria“, which means ‘devout petition to God or an object of worship’. However, beyond these definitions, for Christians, prayer is more than that because it is a conversation with God which also involves interaction with the spiritual realm (Ephesians 6:18). To further illustrate this, in 2 Kings 18, Elijah called down fire from heaven to prove that the Lord God was real.
It’s also seen in John 11 where Jesus calls the spirit of Lazarus back to life, raising him from the dead. Indeed, this goes to show that prayer isn’t just a dialogue, but it is a powerful and effective tool in the life of a Christian.
The question that is often asked is, if God knows everything and can do anything, why should one pray? In answering this question, it is important to understand that prayer is a spiritual activity, and God is spirit, thus, prayer establishes communion with Him. He is our Father, which indicates relationship—and that is what God desires to have with us through prayer, and with every relationship, conversation is involved. And whenever a relationship exists, there is a platform for asking and receiving. Throughout scripture, God urges us to ask that we may receive; in other words, although God is omniscient, if we do not ask, we will not receive because it takes away the essence of the father-child relationship that He seeks to have with us. Jeremiah 33:3, says that God has remarkable things to reveal about things to come and this can be relevant to things involving the work of God in our lives today, be it, our careers, marriage or academics. However, we do not receive these things because we do not ask (see James 4:3).
To further illustrate the importance of prayer, look at the life of Jesus Christ, although He was God, prayed constantly (Mark 1:35). He modelled a lifestyle for us to follow, and that is a lifestyle that values prayer. Furthermore, even our forefathers [in faith] prayed, for instance, King David. An example of one of his many prayers can be read in Psalm 5, being the King that He was, he cried out to God in prayer, bringing forth his requests.
The early church also prayed, and prayer is what carried them. It is not a gift of the Holy Spirit that some possess, and others don’t, so it is for everyone. Acts 1:14 tells us that the Apostles and several others met together and were constantly united in prayer.
Just like them, we ought to pray together with and for each other consistently and without ceasing. Moreover, the Apostles themselves requested to be prayed for as well. We see this with Paul in Romans 15:30-33, where he urges the church to join him in prayer over his trip to Judea. Additionally, when we pray for others, we partner up with God and His will. In Acts 12:1-18, while Peter was in prison, the church prayed earnestly for him. The power of interceding for one another was then the result of Peter’s release from prison. Paul further goes on urging us to pray for all people including those who are in authority for peace and a godly life which is God’s will for all of us (see 1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Hence, praying for one another does not depend upon titles or experiences, because all of us are called to intercede for one another including ourselves as well. When approaching God, we gain confidence in our spiritual journey with Him. Prayer assists us, in keeping us in alignment with His Will, and He will be faithful in giving us what we enquire from Him (see John 14:13). The word “keep” in the title, gives the notion of continuity, that is, after prayer there is prayer. Praying is not a one-time activity, or something that was invented recently to keep us busy. For many generations prayer has been proven to work, thus, there is no reason to treat prayer casually. Jesus Christ tells a parable in Luke 18:1-8; about a widow who had repeatedly cried out for justice before a judge until she received it.
The lesson here is about persistently praying and not giving up until you see something and even after that, continue praying.
In Isaiah 62:6-7, the prophet speaks of the watchmen who were posted to pray day and night until Jerusalem was restored to its glory. Through constant prayer, we can be watchmen of our families and loved ones. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah sent out his servant seven times to search for a rain cloud for this is what he was praying for, until it eventually happened. Here we see that Elijah had stayed on watch free of distraction because he stayed in prayer.
When praying it is important to stay focused and not get distracted or reluctant. Distractions can also include sin, for the flesh is weak and that is why we should pray constantly [this is a way to overcome our flesh] so that we may not fall into temptation (see Matthew 26:41).
It is through prayer that we are strengthened and empowered. Like Jesus, who, at the beginning of His ministry, went into prayer and fasting and was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, after which an angel ministered to Him, bringing Him strength. Even in the garden of Gethsemane, an angel came to minister and strengthen Him. For every situation, there is a strength that can be drawn in prayer. Through prayer, we can cancel the plans of Satan. In Luke 22:31-32, Satan planned to shake Simon Peter’s faith, but Jesus prayed for his faith not to fail. Hence, when we pray, it is because we understand that only God can take us out of a difficult situation that the enemy would use for our demise.
In Hebrews 5:7, we learn that throughout His life here on earth, Jesus offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to be rescued and God answered Him. The beauty of crying out to God is that He does not turn a deaf ear, He is the God who answers prayers. He comes to the rescue of those who cry out for His help.
After James was killed, Peter got arrested and this created concern in the church for Peter’s life because they feared that Herod would do to him what he did to James (see Acts 12). However, their earnest prayers saved him; we are not meant to be casual with our prayers but earnest in them. Consequently, when we stop earnestly seeking God through prayer, we give room for the enemy to take advantage of us. In Exodus 17:11 we see that, whenever Moses held up his staff, the Israelites had an advantage but whenever the staff was dropped, his enemies gained an advantage. Although we may not have the same staff that Moses had, fortunately for us we have prayer; and the enemy gains an advantage when we do not pray.
When we stop praying, confusion finds a place. There are many believers today who find themselves in confusion due to the lack of persistence in prayer; praying brings clarity and is important when making life decisions. A prayerful believer is never stunned by what strikes the eyes because they are enlightened to see the bigger picture, an example of that can be found in 2 Samuel 21:1. Therefore, when you encounter challenges that you do not understand, start seeking God first and He will be found. Not only do we receive revelation from God, but we also receive instructions on what to do from Him too. James 5:13-16 summarises the power of prayer, emphasising that the prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful deeds. When we seek God wholeheartedly, we are guaranteed that we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13). Prayer is a platform in which we draw closer to God and receive instructions, revelation, and ideas from Him. It is through prayer that we get to partner with heaven and establish the will of God on earth. When we neglect staying in prayer, our spiritual senses deteriorate; consequently, causing a hindrance in our relationship with God and the accomplishment of His purpose here on earth. Finally, it then opens us up to a hard life which leads to disobedience and ultimately living a life full of sin. If there is little or no prayer, there is little or no vitality in your Christian life. So always remember to keep your knees down in consistent prayer.