Picture this: There was once a good king’s servant who had been adopted into the royal family. He never asked his new father for what he needed, and so he remained in the tunic of a slave rather than the robes of royalty which the father longed to give him. This is the Christian who does not use the power of prayer.
What is Prayer?
Simply put, prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of God through His Son, Jesus our Lord. It is our direct line with Heaven and God’s chosen way of receiving communication. Prayer may seem daunting at first, but it is actually straightforward. It’s easy to talk to someone when armed with the knowledge that they love you unconditionally! Coming before God should, indeed, strike some kind of trepidation into our hearts since He is the Almighty, but we can go to him confidently, knowing that He will answer our prayers because of the presence of Jesus in our lives.
How is Prayer Possible?
Ephesians 3:12 puts it this way: “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Jesus, our mediator (Job 9:33), is the only one able to “lay his hand” on both God and man at the same time. He knows the heart of God, being His son and the very nature of God, but having also spent time on earth, he is equally acquainted with our human weakness and frailty. Because of His love for Jesus, God the Father will listen to our prayers, and He desires to communicate with us in this way.
Why Should We Pray?
Well, because Jesus told us to (Luke 18:1)! We should pray simply because Jesus commanded it. But there are also some practical reasons to pray.
Prayer is essential to knowing God and to growing spiritually. Praying every day will bring peace, and eventually daily prayer time will become a habit. Also practice pausing momentarily during the day and silently praying for a specific need or silently praising the Lord for a specific victory or joy. You will find yourself thinking more and more of our Savior as a Friend and prayer will become increasingly easier.
1st Step To Getting Closer To God Through Prayer
The first step to growing closer to God through prayer is to make sure your trust and faith is in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Sometimes people put their trust in their church or in works instead of in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and for the salvation of their souls. John 1:12 says: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
2nd Step To Getting Closer To God Through Prayer
The second step is to live a life that is honoring to God, for living a life of sin means God will not hear you (Psalm 66:18). If you aren’t in the habit of doing daily devotions as a special time with God, try starting. This is one of the most important aspects of becoming closer to God. In addition to prayer, the Bible is God’s way of “talking” to us. It is His words, right in front of us for our reading pleasure. Prayer without Bible reading is powerful, but prayer with Bible reading and study is that much more. The Bible is God’s way of telling us how to live a life that will bring glory to Him.
How Do I Pray?
Principles From The Lord’s Prayer
If you aren’t sure how to pray, you aren’t alone. In fact, Jesus’ disciples questioned the very same thing of Him when he was here on this earth. In Matthew 6, Jesus gave an example of how to pray in the form of what is now known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” He first gave glory to God and acknowledged His holy name, then he asked for God’s will to be done. He prayed for “our daily bread,” that God would supply all our needs and for God’s forgiveness. Jesus finished by asking God to deliver Him from the temptations of the devil.
The Lord’s Prayer is the ultimate model for what God wants to hear from his children. Basically, the complete idea of prayer should include adoration (the worship of God), confession (the acknowledgment of sin), petition (faith’s claim for personal need), intercession (our sincere prayer on behalf of others), and thanksgiving (the heart’s expression of joy in God).
We should also pray with confidence that He will deliver, as well as pray with joy because He is able to deliver. God has given us the privilege to talk to Him, and that should be cause for celebration in our hearts. We are able to come to him freely, to enjoy his presence. “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence (Acts 2:28).” God will always hear and answer our prayers – as long as we do not have unconfessed sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18) and we pray in faith (Matthew 21:22).
Prayer must be done in faith. “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1: 6-8). In other words, if you don’t believe you will be answered, then usually you won’t. Have faith that God will answer your prayer. Start with humility, asking Jesus to forgive you (1 John 1:9). Then tell him of your needs (1 Peter 5:7). And finally, thank him for his sacrifice on the cross (John 3:16).
How does God Answer Prayer?
Sometimes it seems like God answers every prayer with a resounding “No!” It’s as if He’s meeting your requests with icy silence, as if He can’t do anything about your problems.
When He Says, “No”
In actuality, God does answer some prayers with “No.” We can trust Him when this happens, because He knows what’s best for us.
Because we are finite, frail creations, we don’t know what is best for us. God, in his infinite wisdom, does know, and He’s working to give us just that. When He answers “No,” sometimes it’s simply because he loves us so much. But other times He just knows that what we’re asking for isn’t really what we need. God even says “no” to our most heartfelt prayers, making us feel like he has ignored us. He hasn’t, but he knows that good will come out of the tragedies.
When He Says, “Wait”
When God answers “Wait,” we should obey and continue in prayer, trusting in God’s perfect timing (Psalm 27:14).
We all want immediate answers to prayer. We feel like we need them. Sometimes we even feel like we are entitled to them. But God doesn’t usually work that way. Often, perhaps to test our faith, he keeps us waiting until the last possible minute or brings us answers in ways we don’t expect. Waiting can be horrible. But always remember that God has the best interests in mind for His children. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).
When He Says, “Yes”
When he answers “Yes,” we should rejoice with thanksgiving.
Sometimes he will even give you more blessings than you asked for. Just be patient and wait on God’s timing. He knows what you really need, and what you really want. The simplest prayer can bring you the miracle you need. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
What are the Results of Prayer?
Freedom From Anxiety
Prayer helps us overcome our worries. Worry happens when we face a situation and choose to rely upon our own strength rather than God and the truth of His Word. Perhaps we have forgotten that God can handle any problem, or perhaps we let our worldly nature persuade us that we can do a better job handling the situation. God wants to free us from our anxieties. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
But to enter that rest we have to cut off the source of stress’s power: our unbelief (Heb. 3:19). The Bible tells us that Jesus will give us this rest if we cast our cares upon Him. If we tell Jesus our needs and the causes of our worries, He will grant us peace: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). The best way to overcome anxiety is to replace it with prayer and thanksgiving. God is powerful, more powerful than whatever is causing the worries. As we learn to take God at His Word, walk in His favor and trust in His strength, our worries will melt away, replaced by a precious peace that is known only to God’s children who rest in His arms.
Freedom From Temptation
Prayer helps us to overcome temptations. Temptation is what happens when we take our eyes off of God and get distracted by the glittering world around us. It is when sin looks good. When you know you shouldn’t, but you want to.
But temptation is like slick ice on the sidewalk. One careless move, and you fall flat before you know what is happening. Temptation in and of itself is not sin, it’s only the ice. If you choose to walk by the ice, nothing will happen. If you choose to walk on the ice, you will fall. You have to make the move, and then when you’re falling and committing the deed, it becomes sin.
Jesus teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” On a regular basis, we need to be open and honest with God, telling him our struggles, asking Him to keep temptations away from us, or else give us the strength to overcome them. He will do this. He promises to not give us more than we’re able to bear. 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises that: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Summing It Up
Prayer is not some mystical process in which we call out to some magical force. It’s not power to create things from nothing or to command God as if He were a genie in a bottle. It’s the simple way that God talks with His children. Prayer is one of the greatest blessings of salvation that we as God’s children must take advantage of. We can approach God as a child approaches their father. Prayer is vital to our spiritual growth and relationship with God. It brings peace. It brings strength.
Now picture this: There once was a good king’s servant who was adopted into the royal family. He talked with his new father often, sharing his fears, his hopes, his dreams. His father lavished on him from his royal storehouse all that he needed. But, even better than being provided for, the servant was now not only a son in name, but a true son indeed.