How does prayer serve as a "thermometer," a measurement of the "temperature" of one's spiritual life?
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.
- Psalm 50:14-15
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.
- Matthew 7:7-8
If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
- II Chronicles 7:14
So we fasted and besought our God for this: and He was entreated of us.
- Ezra 8:23
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy Name, a most High.
- Psalm 92:1
Prayer is very important. God's people are a praying people. Prayer has been called the "thermometer" of spiritual life. When love and adoration of God are lively and "warm" in the soul, this will be reflected in much prayer. When spiritual activity is "cool," this will result in little prayer. Prayer is a measurement of spiritual "temperature." Prayer is worship; it is a matter of the heart - not only of the understanding.
Prayer is necessary. God the Holy Spirit blesses the prayerful use of His means of grace when applying His life-giving and sanctifying blessings to the souls of men. The Heidelberg Catechism states the following in Question and Answer 116:
"Why is prayer necessary for Christians?"
"Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: and also, because God will give His grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desire continually ask them of Him, and are thankful for them."
Prayer is also a necessary good work, a fruit of God's saving grace in the lives of His people. True prayer fulfills the necessary criteria of a biblical good work, being performed in faith, out of love, and for the honor of God.
Prayer includes the following four parts:
1. Adoration -
The praising of God for who He is in the glorious majesty of His attributes
2. Confession -
The acknowledging of, and sorrowing for, one's sin before God (a confession of who we are, and who God is)
3. Supplication -
The requesting of God for some good or restraining of evil
4. Thankfulness -
The expressing of gratitude to God for mercies received
True prayer is undertaken with the gracious affections (or qualities) listed in the corresponding chart.