“To pray is to open our hearts to Jesus. And Jesus is all that we sinners need both for time and eternity.
He “was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). This gives us the Biblical view of the purpose of prayer, its place and significance in the divine dispensation of salvation.
Jesus said once, “Apart from me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). He knew how literally true these words are, how entirely helpless we are without Him. But at the same time He said, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” All that you need and more besides.
He never grew tired of inviting, prompting, encouraging, exhorting, even commanding us to pray.
The many and various admonitions to prayer in the Bible shed remarkable light upon prayer. They show us that prayer is the heart-throb in the life of a saved person.
Permit me to cite a few of the gracious admonitions to prayer which the Lord has given us:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (Matthew 7:7-11).
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).
“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
These three passages from Scripture alone, it appears to me, should be sufficient to show what Jesus meant prayer to be.
If I were to give expression to this meaning in my own words, I would put it about as follows:
Jesus comes to a sinner, awakens him from his sleep in sin, converts him, forgives him his sins and makes him His child. Then He takes the weak hand of the sinner and places it in His own strong, nail-pierced hand and says:
‘Come now, I am going with you all the way and will bring you safe home to heaven. If you ever get into trouble or difficulty, just tell me about it. I will give you, without reproach, everything you need, and more besides, day by day, as long as you live.’
My friend, do you not also think that that is what Jesus really meant when He gave us prayer?
And that is the way we should make use of it. That is the way He desires to answer our prayer, graciously and abundantly.
Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and, for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life.”
–Ole Hallesby, Prayer, trans. C.J. Carlsen (London: InterVarsity Fellowship, 1948), 28-29.