Read the following verses, which are some of the instances when Jesus prays or teaches his disciples to pray:Luke 6:12
Just as human relationships require communication, so does our relationship with God.
Jesus teaches us to build a relationship with God by praying often and habitually. Just as human relationships require communication, so does our relationship with God. Imagine a marriage in which the husband and wife don't talk to each other. Could this ever be a healthy or successful relationship?
To emphasize the importance of building a habit of prayer, Pastor Miles led us through the story of Daniel.
1. Make your prayer a custom.
In the first chapters, Daniel is kidnapped as a child and brought to a foreign land. Over the years, he becomes a governor (and an overseer of two other governors) in the land ruled by king Darius. Daniel's subordinates are displeased at being ruled by a foreigner and vow to get rid of him, by death if necessary. The king, however, respects Daniel, who is the ideal governor, honest and forthright.
As a plot against Daniel, these jealous men go to the king and say that they desire to make a law forbidding anyone to pray to anyone other than the king (Dan. 6:7). Not realizing how this will harm Daniel, the king passes the decree. Yet in verse 10, after discovering the new decree, Daniel goes into his room, opens the window for all to see, and prays three times to God.
As Pastor Miles pointed out, the end of this verse says, " as was his custom since early days." Daniel has made a habit of prayer. No decree is going to change his relationship with God or stop him from communicating with the Father. We need to be in this same kind of communication with God - all the time.
2. Serve God continually.
Times get tough for Daniel, just as they get tough for all of us (though I suspect that none of us will be thrown into a den of lions). But in Daniel 6:16, the king tells Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." King Darius can see that Daniel has always served God and believes he will be saved.
We must act accordingly. We have to serve, even though it may not seem like the wise thing to do (in a worldly sense). It is God's plan, not ours. Remember, before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for God to spare Him of what was coming, but in the end, prayed, "Your will be done," and went on to save us all by His death.
We have to serve, even though it may not seem like the wise thing to do (in a worldly sense). It is God's plan, not ours.
3. Have faith that God answers prayer.
God does answer prayer and He answers in the manner that is best for us. In Daniel's case, the king calls to Daniel and finds him unharmed after having spent the night in the lions' den because God has answered his prayer (v. 23).
4. Live an innocent and blameless life.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Pastor Miles commented that going to church every week is great and reading from the Bible every day is great. Praying often is a wonderful thing, too. But what good is all of that if you visit your mistress after church, or read the Bible and then snort some illegal drugs, or pray for an hour and then kick the dog?
We all do thing that are wrong, but we need to pray for help to live holy lives. In this story, the king has no doubt that Daniel would be saved because Daniel has lived a holy life. This doesn't mean that Daniel is perfect; none of us are. But he tries to live obediently and prays for help and direction, which is something we all can do.