Do you ever wonder if prayer really works? You are praying about something and Satan whispers to you, "This is a waste of time. Forget it! Who do you think you are? What do you think you are doing? God is not listening. Don't waste your time."
Ephesians 3:20 Living Bible says, "God is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes."
Prayer can do whatever God can do. His resources are available to you. Twenty times in the New Testament it says, "Ask." It's encouraging to know that things that are out of my control are not out of God's. I may not be able to change a situation, but I can pray, and God can change it.
This coming Sunday we are going to look at several problems that you and I have as followers of Christ have when we talk about prayer. When you read the bible it says, “pray all the time.” Paul writes in Ephesians 6:18 NCV says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. And always pray for all God's people.” How can I pray all the time, I have a job, family, and the list goes on?
When we read the Bible, it’s clear that the apostle Paul prayed all the time, but can we possibly pray continuously? Ephesians 6 above explains that we should pray always and anywhere, with all kinds of prayers whenever a thought comes to mind. We should ask for everything we need, and always be ready by having a plan for our prayers, never stopping or giving up, but praying for everyone. We should develop the habits of keeping a running conversation with God instead of talking to ourselves, and schedule times for specific kinds of prayer throughout our day.
I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now. If I can pray and ask God for anything or to change things and if God is really in control of everything, why don't I get everything I pray for? Good question. Here are three things to remember:
• God is not a genie in a bottle. You don't put in a prayer, rub the side and get whatever you want. If every prayer were answered, we would be spoiled brats. Do you give your children everything they ask for? I hope not. You know what's best for them. You can see the bigger picture. If you can see the bigger picture for your kids, how much bigger is the picture God can see?
• Sometimes Christians pray in conflict. Just go back to last Sunday night, you get two Christians praying at the Super Bowl for different teams. Whose is God going to answer? Obviously, somebody has got to lose. God develops our character through these situations, thank God, He knows what is best for us.
• God knows what's best and you don't. If you think you do, that is very presumptuous. First John 5:14 GNT tells us, "We are sure that He (God) hears us if we ask Him for anything that's according to His will." Look at the phrase "according to His will." The attitude of your prayer needs to be: "Lord, this is my prayer request, but Thy will be done." That's what Jesus prayed, "Lord if it's possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, let Thy will..." (Luke 22:42 GNT).
But you don’t have to stop with a morning prayer! You can continue to pray all day long. You can pray with your eyes open! You can pray on your bus ride to school, or when you are in the car. You can pray in the middle of a conversation with your friend, when you don’t have the right words to tell your friend. You can pray when someone treats you unfairly and you need God to help you hold your tongue. You can praise God when a beautiful sunset catches you by surprise. You can pray in your bed at night - but don’t let this be your only prayer time, since it is SO easy to fall asleep and miss your time with your heavenly Dad
This leads to another problem we face, developing a strategy to pray all during the day. The best model is found in Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV, “In this manner, therefore, 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 this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
There may be no more familiar prayer in the entire world than the Lord's Prayer. It does not seem to matter where you go in the world; if you were to invite people to repeat those words with you most people could say them. We may not know many other portions of scripture, and we may not know any other prayer or passage well enough to say from memory, but most of us could work our way through the Lord's Prayer. There might be some division over one part of that prayer, and that would involve whether to say forgive us our trespasses or forgive us our debts or perhaps forgive us our sins.
The Lord’s Prayer covers every need of our lives. The Lord's Prayer is not just a ritual that people pray. It is a pattern for living. It is a model for how to manage your day. If you do this, you will have more energy. You will have more peace. You will be closer to God. You will have more power in your life. You will have more confidence. If you will do it, Jesus says, “This is the way you ought to pray.” Pray throughout your day.
Make Every Day Count!
Come Sunday and help us to become better at Praying!