WHAT IS PRAYER? – Talking to God
Prayer is a privilege.
Imagine meeting your best friend for coffee at your favorite cafe. Your friend knows everything about you. You can count on your friend being exactly where he says he will be. Anytime you need him, you can call and he won’t be upset with you. He is willing to listen and responds with love and concern.
That is just like prayer. The only difference is that your best friend is God.
God is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He knows everything you ever did and He still loves you! He knows your future too. He has the best plans for your life. He cares for you so much that He gave His Son so that you could be with Him forever. “For God so loved the world, the He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
You can talk to Him about anything that concerns you. Tell Him your desires and passions. Share your concerns for your loved ones. Talk out your fears with Him.
Communicate to God what is inside you without fear.
Prayer – What do I say?
Prayer may be accomplished in many ways. The best way is to be natural, just as if you were in the room with Him. He is very anxious to hear every word you say. You can say whatever is on your heart. He’ll even listen to your anger and sadness.
In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus taught the disciples a pattern for prayer. “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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
Prayer – Why Pray?
Why is prayer important? If God already knows all about you and knows all that He has written, why should you pray? It’s because God created us to have free will. He wants us to come to Him willingly and not as robotic creations. He has given us a mind to make decisions and the most important decision is about eternity. Even though He knows the future, we don’t know the future choices we will make. It’s important to live by His guidance to make the right choices.
In the Bible, you will find kings, prophets, and ordinary people like you and me, averted destruction by praying to God. One prayer stopped the sun, one prayed fire down from heaven, one gained fifteen years to his own life, and one prayer even saved a whole city. These people prayed intensely to the God who answers prayer.
When you pray, God listens to your cries. When you don’t pray, God feels left out of your life. “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b). As you pray consistently, you are affirming the existence of God in your life. You are building your faith as you see God’s hand do His mighty work on your behalf just because you asked.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Power Of Prayer - How powerful is it?
The power of prayer should not be underestimated. James 5:16-18 declares, "…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers.
Jesus taught, "…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20). 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us, "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." The Bible urges us, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).
Power Of Prayer - How do I tap into it?
The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." No matter the person praying, the passion behind the prayer, or the purpose of the prayer - God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. His answers are not always yes, but are always in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we will come to understand that in time. When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God's will, God responds powerfully!
We cannot access powerful prayer by using "magic formulas." Our prayers being answered is not based on the eloquence of our prayers. We don't have to use certain words or phrases to get God to answer our prayers. In fact, Jesus rebukes those who pray using repetitions, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8). Prayer is communicating with God. All you have to do is ask God for His help. Psalm 107:28-30 reminds us, "Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." There is power in prayer!
Power Of Prayer - For what kind of things should I pray?
God's help through the power of prayer is available for all kinds of requests and issues. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If you need an example of a prayer, read Matthew 6:9-13. These verses are known as the Lord's prayer. The Lord's prayer is not a prayer we are supposed to memorize and simply recite to God. It is only an example of how to pray and the things that should go into a prayer - worship, trust in God, requests, confession, protection, etc. Pray for these kinds of things, but speak to God using your own words.
The Word of God is full of accounts describing the power of prayer in various situations. The power of prayer has overcome enemies (Psalm 6:9-10), conquered death (2 Kings 4:3-36), brought healing (James 5:14-15), and defeated demons (Mark 9:29). God, through prayer, opens eyes, changes hearts, heals wounds, and grants wisdom (James 1:5). The power of prayer should never be underestimated because it draws on the glory and might of the infinitely powerful God of the universe! Daniel 4:35 proclaims, "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'"