Prayer is our most powerful tool we have, and with that tool must come the faith in what we ask. Sadly, many only pray during mealtime or bedtime. Often, God goes days weeks, months, and years without hearing from someone until they have troubles. Since He lets it rain on the just and unjust, He will still answer prayers, but when they are answered, many leave God alone again until something else happens, never thinking about why it comes back around and they canít handle it. We commune with God through prayer, thus it should happen every day. You can talk to Him with eyes closed and head bowed, or eyes wide open driving down the road. Itís how you learn to hear His voice, itís how you have a relationship with Him. Remember, Jesus said if we only had faith as a mustard seed, the mountains, not necessarily a physical mountain, but mountains of problems and trouble in our lives can be moved. The thing is, understanding what answer to prayer is.
I donít know what you are going through, or how difficult it is, but remember, sometimes, Godís answer is ďNo.Ē, or even ďNot yet.Ē, so we must not judge prayers answered by a ďYesĒ only. He knows what is best for us, He knows the course of what we go through and how it will affect other things, and though we might not understand why we tarry in a problem, His way is best. And thatís often difficult to get through, even when we understand that point, because we are human, and we want things fixed on our time. Before I continue, a couple verses on that point:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
2nd Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am including some scriptures that either are prayers, or speak about ways of praying at the end of this. The very first one I am including in the Lordís Prayer. Many times we say it, but donít really think about what is being said. Jesus didnít give this prayer to be something always reiterated word-for-word. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with that, but He was showing the Disciples HOW to pray, what to pray about. Thatís what we need to study and follow. Jesus is clear not to make vain repetitions, just repeating things over and over, chanting, if you will. We need to understand, God knew before the foundations of the world, what our needs were. Often, thatís the issue. We are stuck on wants, and cloud them as needs, because we want ďstuffĒ. Itís this stuff that really doesnít matter because we canít take it with us when we die anyway. There are so many more important things to focus our requests on such as salvation for family, friends, and others, and the list goes on.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
With that in mind, look at the words of Jesus, in the Lordís Prayer, from Matthew 6:7-13. We see the very first thing spoken in verses 9-10 is praise and worship of the Father. We are to bless His name on high and thank Him for the opportunity and ability to even speak to the Creator of all things, the One True and Living God. Holy and righteous is He, and He is worthy of our praise. We should also pray for His will and not ours to be done, as His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We canít comprehend Him, much less can our will be better than His.
In verse 11, we are to ask only for provision for what we need to make it through the day. Let us spend our time sharing the Gospel, feeding those who are hungry, clothing those who are naked, helping the widowed and lame, and showing the world the love of Jesus. We just need the strength each day to do that, and He will provide that if we ask. We should also thank Him for what we DO have, rather than what we donít have. Itís His to give and to take away.
Next, we seek forgiveness of our sins, while also follow the example we are asking of God, and forgiving those who have sinned against us. Many times, we are quick to discard, do away with, and reject people that hurt us and hold that grudge, which is actually hatred against them. Does not God have the very same right to do that to us? I contend that He had every right not to send His Son to die for us, yet He did. How can we ever understand forgiveness, if we donít give it? It doesnít matter what someone has done to you. Now, youíve heard the line, ďIíll forgive, but I wonít forget.Ē On the outside, it is a truthful statement. We really canít forget, but if you say that and still carry malice or ill-will towards someone, you have not forgiven them! And if you pay real close attention to verses 14-15, you will see that if you canít forgive those that sin against you, you will not be forgiven! The blood of Jesus will not cover you. That should be an exceedingly sober thought to chew on.
Lastly, the prayer ends by asking for Godís help in staying away from temptation, and staying away from evil. He finishes again with praise and adoration. This is the pattern for our prayers. Praising God, asking for what we need not want, praying for forgiveness and healing, praying for others as well; and finally, thanks and praise again. Prayer is not about a repeated set of words over and over again, but rather, straight from your heart, speaking to Him as your Father, because through our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, He is.
Examples of prayer and verses about it in the Bible (this is not an exhaustive list):
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.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Psalm 91 is a prayer for healing.
Psalm 19 is a prayer for deliverance from sin.
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1st John 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
In His Grace,
Mike Harris Jr.
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