6 ¶ Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
In older days many a person who needed the power of a king or a prince to help them out in some way would line up to wait for the chance to speak to him, to plead with him, for help. Today, people might go to their Congressman’s office or even their Senator’s, state or federal, to ask for help on some matter of importance to them. For those who weren’t in poverty it may have been customary to bring some kind of token gift or something more valuable to soften the heart of the prince. Today, in our nation’s and state’s capital there are people we call “Lobbyists” who lobby and petition our government leaders for special favors. These “gifts” they bring are more along the lines of bribes.
With regard to our Christian faith, many Christians, most I would think, don’t so much as adore and praise the Lord Jesus Christ as they do seek some kind of help from Him in times of trouble. There may never be a prayer that leaves a person’s mouth but “Help me, Lord”, other than one of those non-prayers we would make before meals when I was growing up, “Thank you, Lord, for this food. Bless it to our bodies and our bodies to your service, Amen.” What a joke. That isn’t a prayer. It’s a mantra. You didn’t mean it, you weren’t speaking to anyone, and it was a total worthless ritual. The other one that was taught to children, teaching them a meaningless chant that did not come from the heart but from habit was “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take, Amen.” If you have taught your children that you haven’t taught them to pray but to chant. Prayer is a heartfelt speaking to the God who created you, who sustains you, and who has all authority over every function of the universe and your body and mind.
So, for most so called Evangelicals its either no prayer at all or a meaningless repetition or chant that doesn’t come from the heart and then the occasional plea for help. This is something Jesus condemned.
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Then, Jesus goes on to give a model prayer to His disciples. In verse 9 He begins with “After this manner…” showing that this prayer which we mistakenly call “The Lord’s Prayer” (it wasn’t a prayer for Him to make, it was for us. Jesus never called God the Father ‘Our Father’) is the structure and method He gave for His disciples to pray. It was not meant to be chanted or recited without feeling or meaning, as He said in verse 7 by His use of the phrase “vain repetitions”.
One of the many ways people have suggested we use as a format for prayer so that, as we speak out of our heart but not chanting, is the formula, A.C.T.S. First you offer up Adoration by praise and an admission that you understand who you’re praying to, then Confession where you admit openly that you know fully well what your sins have been, then Thanksgiving where you declare the things you are thankful for today, right now, and finally, Supplication where you “intreat”, as it says in the verse here in Proverbs, or plead your case, requesting the help you would like. Your prayer should never be formal or ritualistic. You are not a Hebrew under the Law. Upon the new birth, when you received Christ as your personal Saviour, God became your Father. Pray to Him. Talk to Him. Do it often and regularly at certain times if you need that kind of order. Be genuine, open and real. If you are a Christian you have the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of Christ as He was God in the flesh, living inside of you along with your spirit which He has made alive. Pray in conjunction with His Spirit, who knows already what you need.
Many will intreat a prince and everyone loves the gifts that flow from the seat of power, but our God craves a relationship with us. You don’t have a relationship with someone who you only speak to when you have a desperate need. The atheist will tell you that you are talking to yourself when you pray. Some when they pray are talking to other people and not God. This is a pet peeve of mine in public so called prayer. But, you should be talking to God daily and often and listening to Him speak to you through His word. Then, it is not so dishonest and selfish when you ask for a gift, for help. You would never do that to a flesh and blood person, only speak to them when you’re in trouble, if you loved that person. Also, God is not like some kind of human potentate for whom you must stand in line and hope for attention or a politician with whom you must make an appointment. You have 24/7 access to the throne of God and existing outside of time, He has eternity to hear all prayers and answer them according to His will. Why do you only speak to Him when you need to intreat Him for help?
Among the list of our daily marching orders given in 1 Thessalonians 5, we are told in verse 17;
Pray without ceasing.
That’s pretty simple to understand, isn’t it? Always to be in a prayerful state? There was a promise under the Dispensation of the Law that is applicable in all times for all people who belong to God.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
There is no better way to keep your mind focused on God than to be in constant prayer to Him. All who truly believe in God want His approval and His blessing. We appreciate, at least for the moment, the gifts of health, peace, and success He gives us in our daily lives. But, do we expect that our God will only hear from us when we need something? How would you handle that if you knew that someone would only acknowledge your existence or authority over their lives only if they needed something and the rest of the time they ignored you?