We have a wonderful direct line for talking to God. Prayer.
First John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
The power of prayer comes from faith in a powerful God.
Some think prayer is a duty. Others think of it as a quick fix. And yet others consider it a last resort. The truth is that prayer is the way to talk with your Heavenly Father anytime and anywhere.
Think about your relationship with your best friend- you talk to them, listen to what they have to say and enjoy spending time together. In order to make that relationship grow and be healthy it takes communication. The same is true for your relationship with God. You need to talk to Him. Prayer will draw you closer to Him as you trust him with your heart.
When Should You Pray?
Jesus taught his followers to pray constantly. Jesus said: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10).
Many people pray before a meal asking God to bless their food. Others pray before they fall asleep. These are good practices, but your prayer life can be so much more than “Bless this food.”
Prayer to God can be a conversation anytime…when you are driving, when you are walking, when you are working. You can cry out to God in your time of need and praise God when prayers are answered.
It is also good to set aside time each day to pray. A wonderful way to start your day is by reading the Bible and praying to God.
“Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
What should you pray for?
Many feel they have to pray recited or memorized words. This is fine, but your prayer life can be so much deeper. God wants to hear directly from you. Tell him what is on your heart. You can just talk to God as you would speak to a best friend.
The whole Bible is filled with encouragement to pray: “Pray when you are sick.” “Pray when you need help.” “Pray for peace.” “Pray to confess your sins.” Why are we told to pray so much? It is because God wants to answer our requests.
Sometimes when you don’t know what to pray, read the Psalms aloud to God.
“I have called upon you, for you will answer me, O God; Incline your ear to me, hear my speech.” Psalm 17:6
How to Pray
Jesus teaches us to pray in the Bible with the words of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13:
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
The Lord’s Prayer can be memorized and recited. It is a beautiful prayer. But Jesus was also teaching us what’s important in our own personal prayers. The Lord’s prayer demonstrates that prayer should:
- Praise God for who He is. We honor God when we humbly come before Him and praise Him for His greatness. He deserves all our praise!
- Ask God to meet our needs by sharing our requests with Him.
- Confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
It is important to include all of these things in our prayers. It shouldn’t simply be us telling God our wish list.
Will God Answer Every Prayer
Many people wonder, “Does this mean that we can ask for anything and God will give it to us exactly how we ask?”
The simple answer is no.
First – our prayers need to line up with God’s will. In the Bible it says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14
But how do we know if what we are requesting, lines up with God’s will? The Bible teaches us about the character of God. For example, we know God desires life and love, peace and unity, provision for the sick and poor, and salvation for all. These are just a few of the MANY truths about the will of God.
However, if we are praying for selfish gain or with bad motives, chances are our prayers won’t line up with His will.
Prayers that go unanswered remind us that God is God. We do not control Him. His ways are higher than ours. And His answers are better for us than anything we asked for. – Greg Morse
And yet, sometimes even when we believe we are praying within God’s will, our prayers might not be answered the way we expect or think they should be answered. Sometimes it may seem like it is taking God too long to answer our prayers. It is important to remember that God always has our best interest in mind. His ways are always better than our ways. God might answer our prayers directly, and other times He may answer our prayers in a way we didn’t expect, or it may take years for us to see how God answered our prayers even when we weren’t aware.
Don’t Give Up
Even when it feels like God is not answering your prayers keep praying. Maybe you have an ongoing request such as:
- Physical healing
- Emotional restoration and healing
- A Job
- Recovery from addiction
- A friend or loved one’s struggle
You glorify God by needing Him, by asking Him for help, and by counting on Him. – John Piper
If you’ve asked God for what you need and He hasn’t answered yet, don’t stop praying. It is important to keep praying because:
- Praying about it will give you hope and with hope comes patience! “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25
- Praying to God deepens your relationship with Him. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8
- Praying about it helps you focus on God and not the issue!
- God changes you through prayer!
- God answers prayers!
“If you need wisdom, ask God and it will be given to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask God, be sure that your faith is in Him alone and that your sole desire for wisdom is to glorify Him. Do not give in to selfish intentions, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do” (James 1:5-8).
Have others pray for you
It is a great blessing to have others pray for us.
“Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16
We can also learn a lot about prayer by reading and hearing the prayers of others. You can see how others approach God and lift prayers up to Him.
We have two WONDERFUL ways for you to have others pray for you.
- The Prayer Show – This is a live show where people get together and pray for one another. It is hosted by our founder, Dawson McAllister, and his co-host Rachel Cardinal. Join them for live prayer on Facebook, YouTube, andPeriscope on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 am CT and Wednesday and Sunday nights at 6:00 pm CT.
- ThePrayerZone.com – is an interactive prayer website. Here you can post a request for prayer and Prayer Champions will type a prayer to God on your behalf. Check it out and sign up to request prayers.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
Photo credit: Diana Simumpande