In the Gospel of Matthew, we read that after Jesus fed the 5,000, he sent them away and he went alone onto a mountain to pray (Mathew 14:23). But throughout the four Gospels, we read that the Lord has done this many times, and this of course shows us the importance of prayer.
Prayer allows us to communicate with God. It is our private time with him where we have the opportunity to thank him and to praise him, and to pray for the needs of people we know, for the needs of our family and for ourselves.
Through prayer, we receive strength, direction and the revelation of his will from him. The more time we spend on our knees in prayer, the more we get to know him – just as we read in the book of Jeremiah, where it says: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
And how should we pray? In Matthew 6:7, we read the Lord’s own words as to how we ought to pray. He said, but when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Therefore, we should pray without repeating and with as few words as possible, for it says much speaking is not for believers, because our heavenly father knows what we need before we even open our mouth.
But how do we approach God? Just as we approach our earthly fathers, in the same way we ought to approach our heavenly father, too.
For example, if we needed our earthly father’s help, we wouldn’t go to our uncle first to ask him to speak to our father on our behalf. But instead, we would go directly to our father and ask him. Likewise, our heavenly father, who created everything including the concept of relationships, wants to hear directly from us.
God did not allow any room for any ambassadors to exist between him and us, except one person – his holy son Jesus, the anointed of the Father. And here is the truth of the Gospel: When Philip asked Jesus, how can we know the way? He told him: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me (John 14:6). So, there is no other way to God but Jesus!
If Jesus is the only way to God, according to Scripture, then why have so many of our fellow Christians from the traditional churches invented alternative ways to reach God with their prayer needs by using the names of deceased believers (or saints)? Don’t we know what the apostle Paul wrote in his epistle to Timothy (I Timothy 2:5): For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Also, when Peter healed the lame man who lay at the gate of the temple, he said: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk (Acts 3:6). We see that he didn’t do it by invoking another person’s name but by the name of the glorious son of God, because there is power only in the name of Jesus, in whose hands God has given everything that is in heaven and on earth.
The truth of the Gospel is that the Lord Jesus had suffered and died on the cross not only to free us from our sins but also to provide us with the way to the throne of grace. When we attempt to use other ways to reach God, our actions show that Jesus is not good enough and therefore we need a better way, or perhaps we are not worthy to come to him. But either way shows that we are refusing his great and holy sacrifice on the cross.
I can only say that this great error is the result of lack of spiritual knowledge, which in turn has led to the spiritual confusion of many of today’s Christians. We need to pray that the Lord will have mercy upon our fellow brothers and sisters and that he will open their eyes and understanding, so that they may recognize and accept the truth that is found in the living gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.