What prayer will and will not do
Prayer is our
communication to the God we serve. Prayer should not be a chore but a joy, just as
you love to talk with someone that interests you- that you love, and you want to grow
in a relationship with. Prayer is not necessarily worship but it is an essential
element to our Christian life. Our relationship toward God is sustained and
strengthened by our prayer, as His relationship toward us is sustained by His word
through His spirit.
are going to spend serious time in prayer we need to first put some things in order.
We need to have our own heart searched out, any unforgiveness or resentment is to be
dealt with. Any sin we may be practicing needs to be repented of. We need to be
cleansed before we enter the holy place. We come to him on the basis of the blood of
Christ. Any prideful attitude needs to be humbled by exercising our will and come to
God in total dependence on his mercy and His grace. When
we pray we should not just be speaking but be still enough to listen, as the Lord
through His spirit may lead us to a scripture. It may be for us, it may be for
another in showing us how to pray.
the Holy Spirit in Rom. 8:14-15 leads us to cry out Abba. Gal 4.6:
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your
hearts, (the Spirit) crys out, Abba, Father. He is another advocate to our
relationship to God by prayer. There
is no evidence in scripture that anyone prayed or worshipped the Holy Spirit unless
he is included in worship with the triune God. It
is the Spirits ministry that brings one to Christ. The Holy Spirit has a different
position functioning in a submissive role to Christ. Just as Christ was in a
submissive position to the Father on Earth. Likewise the Spirit does the same, taking
a subordinate role to both Christ and the Father when He is sent to earth (Jn.16:13).
His purpose is not to bring attention to himself but to the Son.
have list of needs to pray on but there should be room for the Holy Spirit to show us
how to pray. We are to be led by the spirit in our prayers to know the will of God,
in other words we need to be flexible. In this way we may not always have the
knowledge in praying for a specific request but trust in the Holy Spirits leading.
we are speaking to God and being influenced by His spirit then our prayer will never
be self centered or on things not pertaining to his kingdom. On one hand we submit
our hopes, our needs. On the other hand we need to examine our motives and God's will
in a given situation. The longing desire of our heart has to be what Christ would
want done or the prayer does not rise to him to even be considered. If we pray as
Jesus would then we should expect our prayers to be answered. A study on Jesus and
the apostles prayers is helpful in understanding and training oneself in prayer.
is the means in which God gets His will done on earth, not the means in which man
gets his will done in heaven.
James 5:17-18 tells us, Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. It wasnt Elijahs asking that accomplished this but it was God answering his request because it was his will, He had a purpose in it. God can take away things by our praying and affect people and nations and He can add things and bless them. He can do beyond even what we ask for as we are under a covenant of grace. He can and does miracles for his namesake. We cannot limit God in our prayer nor can we command him or control him what to do what we would like by our request. Ps.145:18 the Lord is near to all those who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.
Jn.3:22-24 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His
commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His
commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one
another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him,
and He in him. Notice if we
keep his commandments do what is right we will have get our prayers answered. In
Isa.65:24 God says before they call I will answer, while they are still speaking I
will hear. He loves to respond to what we ask.
have practical needs that we should submit to our Lord. We all need funds for the
rent or maybe for our house or car repairs, our children's education.
We all need food and gas in the car. If
we are asking to spend the funds on a holiday or something bigger or newer than we
already have without it being a necessity God will see our prayer as selfish and He
will not answer that prayer. God is able
to read our hearts to see what our secret motives are, these may not even be known to
us. So we should examine what is in our own hearts and ask as David said search me
O God and see if there be any wicked way in me. We should not have token prayers
as a quick throw up of words to heaven without considering the content.
us do not have the confidence in coming to God and asking our needs in our prayers I
Jn. 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him. We
should understand the general will of God for people and have spiritual insight to
know what he is specifically doing in someones life to pray on target.
us are overconfident and become bold to ask just about anything WE want. James says
two things James 4:2-4 You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not
receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers
and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
we put the things of the world our physical comforts ahead of God in our life we
forfeit him as being Lord. We are at
enmity with God. When we pray for something we must make sure that we are not asking
for something that goes against God's revealed will. If we are asking for prosperity to live in luxury to satisfy
our insecurities we best hope God does not answer this prayer. Many have had it
answered only to learn a hard lesson.
as we are to handle our doctrine correctly we are to handle our prayers. Our
petitions will reveal what we believe is most important in our lives. Our prayers are
to come through the cross. This means dying to our self desires so that we can be
focused on Gods purposes, it is these prayers he delights in answering. But there
is also a condition of faithfulness in our lives. If we ask for more ministry he may
have that intention but if we have not been faithful in the small things we need to
wait and become faithful for any expansion. God is not going to grow a church if the
people are not being fed and they are being neglected.
should not write out prayers and send them in with a very generous donation at the
request of a famous TV evangelist. Dont expect them to be more appropriately
answered because you exercised faith by sending a gift that was more than you had in
your bank. When you see the prayer requests piled up in front of the man of
faith, this is done on purpose for their TV program to prove the reaching effects
of his ministry. He then utters a
general public prayer over the thousands of requests to be answered and its over.
This is not how prayer is to be done. The motives of an intercessor is just as
important as what we ask for. Our prayers are to specific and to be for an individual
Jesus said, Is it not written, My house
shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But ye have made it a den of
thieves. Dont let their spiritual
props fool you.
prayers are to God and no other. We do not address unseen spirit beings and threaten
them or fight against them to have God gain control over a certain area or person. If
your speaking to the Devil in the atmosphere you are no longer praying to God.
dont want to become narcissistic, praying what I want to be, what I want to happen
in my way. It should be Gods will and plans we are concerned about. Praying in
Jesus name is not a warranty to receive anything we ask or say, and we can certainly
thank him for that. He doesn't want spoiled little children, but mature heavenly
minded people who look at His word and are willing to be conformed to His likeness
even if its uncomfortable. Those who can trust Him in His decisions, He can
entrust to answer.
petition God for riches, power, honor, knowledge, or reputation, for ourself it is
seeking our own kingdom. If we petition God for riches, power, honor, knowledge, or
reputation, for his kingdom we need to have him search our hearts to know if our
motives are pure. So how do we know how to pray and be on target? Charles H. Spurgeon
stated it like this, Sometimes a fog will settle over a vessels deck and yet
leave the topmast clear. Then a sailor goes up aloft and gets a lookout which the
helmsman on deck cannot get. So prayer sends the soul aloft, lifts it above the
clouds in which our selfishness and egotism befog us and give us a chance to see
which way to steer.
James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let
him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given
to him. But let him ask in faith, without doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave
of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will
receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his
ways. So we ask in faith, meaning we believe he heard us and to trust his decision
when and how to answer our prayer.
Jn 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.
power is not in our prayer no matter how earnest or eloquent it may be. The power
rests in the one who answers the prayer and it always according to what he wants to
see accomplished. It may be through us or another but it rests in Gods hands. W.
R. Reynolds- The sovereignty of God does not override the want, the will, the
tears, the cry of his children; but does, in the first instance, express itself
through that very want those tears and those strong desires. It is not that man
changes Gods purpose, but that man verily and indeed discovers that purpose
through his own earnest prayer.
how do we get our prayers answered? John 15:7-10"If you abide in Me, and My
words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My
disciples. "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My
Father's commandments and abide in His love. We need to be walking with the Lord
and seeking to do the things pleasing in his sight
and he is more than willing to answer our requests. Not that we will ask for
something for ourselves but if we are really and truly walking with him our prayer
will be a dying to our self wants and lifting up to him his kingdom wants.
says in Eph.6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplications in the Spirit.
We are to consistently have an attitude of prayer for anything that happens even if
we know we have the ability to correct or fix something.
Now this kind of attitude breads humility and is a hard thing to discipline
ourselves to. But it is necessary so that we train ourselves to be God dependent.
1:9-10 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for
you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all
wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge
It would be good to pray this for we are to
walk correctly thereby having the confidence that God hears us and will answer.
Because we have the understanding of his will. Paul's prayer is for a knowledge which
leads to godly living in accordance with wisdom and the Spirit, rather than the
theoretical knowledge of the false teachers. True knowledge leads to wisdom for
living .Paul is asking for this in their walk in contrast to the effects of the false
teachers' "wisdom" they were exposed to. God's people have always been
destroyed by a lack of knowledge
do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. To wait with patience is very
different from commanding God for what you think you may want.
We should not expect that
every prayer will be answered the way we would like.
Elizabeth in Lk.1 was righteous yet her prayers were not immediately answered. It
wasnt until she was very old that God granted her and her husband their request -
the answer a miracle in their lives with John the Baptist as the herald for the
messiah. It was Gods perfect timing.
asked in 2 Cor.12:8-9 about the thorn in his flesh. The Lord responded by saying to
him that his grace is sufficient. Gods purpose was not to deliver Paul from his
immediate uncomfortable position but he had a greater purpose. Paul suffering
became his pulpit with power, for when he was weak God was strong through him.
If we look at Heb.11 the great men of faith they became outcasts at certain times of
their lives or most of them. Hebrews 11 mentions all these faithful ones Abraham,
Moses Samson etc. the writer also states Heb 11:36-12:1 Still others had trial of
mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain
with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute,
afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world
was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the
earth. And all these, having obtained a
good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided
something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
wrote, Obedience helps faith, and faith, in
turn, helps obedience. To do Gods will is essential to true faith, and faith is
necessary to implicit obedience. Yet faith is called upon, and that right often to
wait in patience before
God, and is
prepared for Gods seeming delays in answering prayer. Faith does not grow
disheartened because prayer is not immediately honored; it takes God at His Word, and
lets Him take what time He chooses in fulfilling His purposes, and in carrying on His
work. There is bound to be much delay and long days of waiting for true faith, but
faith accepts the conditions knows there will be delays in answering prayer, and
regards such delays as times of testing, in the which, it is privileged to show its
mettle, and the stern stuff of which it is made.
Pet 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be,
you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being
much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found
to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. We are married to
Christ and His love will see us through the worst of times in our pilgrimage on
earth. He never told us to pray to be delivered out of the trials but that we should
be strengthened through them. This is for our own benefit. If we were to be delivered
out of every trial we would be weak in spirit. If you ask the people in China how to
pray for them they will tell you not to pray for their deliverance from persecution
but that they would have the fortitude to stand in the face of adversity and
persecution. If those in America who claim to have great faith in prayer were to
spend some time over in China or a place of persecution would get a reality check and
see what 1st century Christianity is about. There lukewarm bless me
abundantly prayers would be blown away as chaff in the wind. This is where we learn
true faith and to submit ourselves to Gods ways even when we dont understand
mature Christian prays through his sufferings, adversity strengthens our faith and
trust, all of Gods great saints went through trials to perfect their faith even Jesus
learned obedience by his experience of suffering and was brought to his goal becoming
mature and complete. Heb.4:8-9. It when we are in the cauldron of adversity that
drives us to pray like we are on fire.
21:14 After Paul refused the warning of his being bound in chains and given over
into gentile hands They all said let the will of the Lord be done. If my prayer
does not line up with God's will as revealed in the Scriptures, then I need to ask
Him to change my heart. Molding us by
changing our desire is part of the sanctification process. If a prayer does not have
Gods will in its center, it is not a biblical prayer. It doesnt mater how
many testimonials one gets to prove it was answered.
The psalmist reflecting on Israels trek
through the wilderness in Ps 78:16-18 He also brought streams out of the rock, and
caused waters to run down like rivers. But they sinned even more against Him by
rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tested God in their heart
by asking for the food of their fancy. We can ask for things on ourselves and
ignore Gods will and guidance to our own destruction, Israel did. Sometimes he
will ignore our prayer as it misses the mark, other times he may just give us our
request to test our hearts.
prayed thy will be done and taught the apostles to do the same. The apostles followed
Jesus ' way of praying Gods will. If God has no will then He would have no
influence over the affairs of mankind, we would then be in charge which is not a
comforting thought. Imagine hundreds or thousands
praying for the same thing such a s job but only one would get it. Its not because
one prayed more or better. Gods will is involved, he has a plan and we need to
gain insight into it to be part of His plans. When the disciples asked Jesus how to
pray he taught them to pray in a certain manner, it was never meant to be a
repetition said over and over, no prayer is. Jesus never said a certain prayer is
more powerful than another.
taught the disciples to pray in this way, contrary to the way the Pharisees
Our Father which art in Heaven
be thy name
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in
to His Lordship in
our lives and our affairs on earth. Asking for his influence to change things that
are contrary to his ways. First in us so we can be his representatives to others. We
should look for Gods will in a given situation that we may be part of it. If it is
not apparent to us we should pray that it will be.
Give us this day our daily
addresses dependence and
petitions God to be our supplier. This speaks of our physical and spiritual needs
to be met by his hand. We are promised he will supply our needs according to his
riches in Christ Jesus.
forgive us our debts, as we
forgive our debtors
forgiveness is to be consistent
lifestyle. We want to practice forgiveness and let things that are not crucial
roll off of us. We should be willing to hear things out and try to make peace. To
forgive does not mean we intentionally ignore biblical issues but human ones.
Do not lead us into temptation
but deliver us from the evil one.
addresses our need for guidance
and discerning good from evil. God will always make a way out for those who want
to be delivered from bondage and evil. We should be aware of the schemes of the
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
We are to give Him all the honor,
allegiance, loyalty and worship. No man should receive this no matter how Godly
they are, it is due to the one who is
our creator and the maker of all things.
After Jesus died and rose from the dead, our access to God is now
immediate as the book of Hebrews says we can come boldly before the throne of grace
because of his shed blood.
Its not the position of our body nor how uncomfortable we
are when we pray. Its not how loud we are nor how many we may have praying in
agreement. Nor is it any repetition of our prayer that would bring a speedy answer.
It begins as a matter of our heart. We being open and honest. We are to seek Gods
will in our prayer and that we are found inside it. If it is not apparent pray for
His will to be known to you. Sometimes a person praying to receive an answer from God
may get a yes -a wait or a no. There are decisions from God that we will never
understand this side of heaven and we are to accept them as his hand of divine
providence on our lives.
It is not a certain prayer that yields results.
Not the prayer of Jabez, not the prayer of Jesus repeated over and over that will
bring you blessings. Cleverly designed techniques only feed into our carnal desires
and they will never reach the presence of God for answers. There is no package of
words that can move the hand of God to be quicker or more constant.
The Christian object in prayer is God, not the prayer itself. It means to
trust in someone greater and wiser than us. Real faith has anticipation in prayer
that God hears us and that He will answer in His way and His time.
Faith is to have an absolute, yet simple assurance of Gods promise, and
have the patience for Gods timing.