Did you know?
What would cause people not to pray? There are many facets to prayer causing people to feel awkward, unsatisfied, frustrated and/or confused when they pray. We all need help to learn how to pray – even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray because they understood that’s where His power came from. Most frustrations are caused by our misconceptions: prayer is not a magic wand; it is not an act of desperation; it is not a tug of war with God nor is it a ritual to relieve guilt. These are some foundational truths about prayer.
So, this week I want to put forth some questions that people have asked me, and try to answer them.
What Prayer Is and Is not:
Prayer is not some mystical process whereby we call out to some force. Nor is it a kind of power with which we create things or speak them into existence, ordering God around like some bell-hop who art in Heaven. Prayer is communicating with and hearing from God.
True prayer is what happens when our will is aligned with the will of God, and we pray accordingly. Prayer is our connection to Heaven and Heaven’s connection to us—that is why you should always keep the lines open!
There is no greater privilege for anyone than being able to personally talk with and speak into the ears of Almighty God.
How should we Pray?
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NKJV). Notice the use of the word “all” in this verse. We are to pray on all occasions, with all kinds of prayer and requests, and for all the saints.
Is there a certain way or position we should be in to pray? People in the Bible prayed standing, lifting up their hands, sitting, lying down, kneeling, lifting their eyes toward Heaven, bowing, and pounding their chests. What works for you? Just pray!
Is there a certain place we should pray? Scripture tells us, “I want everyone everywhere to lift innocent hands toward heaven and pray,” (1 Timothy 2:8 CEV).
People in the Bible prayed during battle, in a cave, in a closet, in a garden, on a mountainside, by a river, by the sea, in the street, in Hades, in bed, in a home, in a prison, in the wilderness, and inside a fish.
Does Jesus tell us when to pray? People in the Bible are found praying early in the morning, in the mid-morning, in the evening, three times a day, before meals, after meals, at bedtime, at midnight, and day and night. People pray when they are young, when they are old, when they are in trouble, every day and always. In any position, at any time, in any place, and under all circumstances—prayer is good and needed in the life of the Christian
Are there certain types of Prayers I should Pray? The Bible identifies several different types of prayers we can pray. One model for how we should pray is captured in the acronym ACTS. Each letter stands for a specific aspect of prayer, arranged in a very natural order.
· A: Adoration (worship)
· C: Confession (of specific sins)
· T: Thanksgiving (gratitude)
· S: Supplication (specific requests).
Jesus essentially taught us the same thing in the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 6:9 KJV). This puts things in perspective for us. A good example of this type of adoration is found in Psalm 95:1–7. When we take time to praise and worship God in our prayers, we are placing God where He rightfully belongs. As a result, our problems and needs come into their proper perspective.
The closer we draw to God, the more we sense our own sinfulness. When Isaiah came into God’s presence, he said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5 NIV). The confession of our sin removes any barriers and clears the air of anything that would cause God not to hear our prayers. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us” (1 John 1:9 NKJV). This is, once again, modeled in the Lord’s Prayer. After “Our Father which art in Heaven,” we find, “Forgive us our sins” (Matthew 6:12 KJV).
Our immediate response after confession should be thanksgiving. We should be thankful that God would indeed cleanse and forgive us. David said, “Blessed is the person whose disobedience is forgiven and whose sin is pardoned.” (Psalm 32:1 GWT).
Should we give thanks because everything is going perfectly in our lives or because we are in a good mood? No, we should give thanks because God deserves our praise. Psalm 118:1NIV says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy endures forever.” As another translation puts it, “His love endures forever.” By giving thanks, which is simply expressing gratitude for what we have, we prevent our focus from shifting to what we do not have.
If we are faithful in the first three steps, the last step will not have debased into giving God our spiritual shopping list. Too often in prayer we start with requests instead of spending time in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving first. Yet, God does want to hear our needs and requests. Scripture tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace...” (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT).
We are also promised, “And my God shall supply all your need... “(Philippians 4:19 NIV).
Do not neglect this vital part of your Christian walk. As someone has said, “Prayer is the breath of the newborn soul, and there can be no Christian life without it.”
Prayer means hope. Prayer means help. Prayer means relief. Prayer means power.
Make Every Day Count!
Come this Sunday and don’t stay home, learn how to pray with us