What is Prayer? – Talking With God
What is prayer? Prayer is our direct line with heaven. Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God! He wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. Cell phones and other devices have become a necessity to some people in today’s society. We have blue tooth devices, blackberries, and talking computers! These are means of communication that allow two or more people to interact, discuss, and respond to one another.
What is Prayer? – The Logistics
Many people question what is prayer because they desire to pray, but don’t know how. Consider these tips:
What Do I Say? Praying is like talking to your best friend! It’s easy to talk to someone when you know they love you unconditionally!
Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and make you new in Him! “Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins” (Acts 3:19).
Tell Him your needs! “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Thank Him, for He died on the cross at Calvary for us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
How Do I Say It? Here’s how I have learned to approach the Savior of my life.
With confidence and belief that He will deliver: “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome” (Ephesians 3:12). “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” (Hebrews 4:16).
With joy that He can deliver. “You have shown me the way of life, and you will give me wonderful joy in your presence” (Acts 2:28).
With expectation that He is going to deliver. “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray” (Psalm 17:6).
What is Prayer? - What Does the Bible Say?
Pray for each other. Jesus set an example for us on what to pray. He prayed for His disciples and for every generation to come that would follow Him. His prayer was that God protect and strengthen them as long as they were in this world. Jesus also prayed for those who would come to believe in Him through the Gospel message (John 17).
Pray with faith. “So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Pray with worship and reverence. “Exalt the LORD our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy!” (Psalm 99:5). “‘Yes, Lord,’ the man said, ‘I believe!’ And he worshiped Jesus” (John 9:38).
You will know with confidence that God can hear you when you pray, so open that line of communication! Pray, knowing that no matter how far you roam, your connection with Him can never be lost!
“I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding” (Philippians 1:9).
Unanswered Prayer – Unheard Answers
Are you experiencing unanswered prayer? Does God turn a deaf ear to some of your desperate pleas for healing, finances, or protection? We all experience irritation when our best efforts to communicate result in an unsatisfactory response -- or worse, no response at all. We wonder, “Did you ever receive my message?” When we pray, we often equate the lack of immediate tangible results with God rejecting our prayers. In James 5:13-16 we are urged to pray earnestly with the promise of “powerful and wonderful results.” Why would God emphasize the importance of prayer and then choose not to respond with a joyful answer?
When answering prayer, God responds first to our attitude, much as a parent responds to a precious child (Psalm 103:13-14). Our childish actions and attitudes frequently affect a prayer’s desired results. Unforgiveness (Mark 11:24-25), selfishness (Proverbs 21:13), doubt (Matthew 21:21-22), greed (James 4:2-3), pride (2 Chronicles 7:14-15), and stubbornness (Zechariah 7:11-13) hinder God’s desire to answer prayer.
Unanswered Prayer – Unexpected Answers
Prayer is not a casual one-sided conversation. It is not “back-up insurance” guaranteeing a life free from pain and struggles. Prayer is actively acknowledging God as the source of all power and trusting that His answers, whether expected or unexpected, will accomplish greater things (Isaiah 46:9-10; 64:4).
Matt and our daughter, Jackie, both musicians, became close friends. As a drummer, he would play back-up whenever she sang with the worship band. Matt’s deepest desire was to teach God’s Word and perhaps enter the ministry. Their common interests drew them closer. As a high-school junior, Jackie hoped to attend the same out-of-state university as Matt. Then, Matt was diagnosed with advanced lymphatic cancer. Jackie says, “I had great faith that God would heal Matt. He had such a passion to be a pastor, teaching others. I knew God wouldn’t take his life because Matt could make such a difference in this world.” She prayed for his healing.
In September of Jackie’s senior year, Matt died. Jackie responded with anger and disbelief with God for seemingly not answering her prayers: “Initially, I blamed God. Later, I blamed myself, thinking I didn’t pray hard enough, or maybe I accidentally missed praying one day.” Following graduation, Jackie began attending a Christian university. Through friends, she began releasing the pain and grief locked inside, eating away at her in solitude. “Once I actually voiced my suffering to another, the healing began, and I experienced God’s love and strength again” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Matt had taught all of us that he valued his eternal relationship with God more than any temporary life he had on earth. We had all prayed for Matt to live, and God answered with a wondrous “YES!” (John 11:25). In the last semester of our daughter’s junior year in college, she met Michael. “I was first attracted to Mike’s intense love for God. I knew God was accomplishing His plans in all our lives.” Today, Michael serves the Lord, teaching and sharing God’s love with intense passion. And when Jackie sings of God’s greatness, her devoted husband, Michael, accompanies her on the conga drums (Jeremiah 29:11).
Unanswered Prayer – Understanding Answers
Sometimes, God will answer, “No” to our desperate prayers. Any delay or unexpected outcome must not dishearten us. What is God’s true purpose in answering our prayers (John 14:13)? What does God want to complete in us through prayer (John 16:23–24)? God wants us to bring our every need to Him as He answers (yes or no) according to His character and will. God will never grant requests contrary to His will. While receiving a “Yes” usually makes us happy, God never promised us happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances. God wants us to have everlasting joy -- especially when He responds, “No, it will be done in My time, not yours. No, I will reveal My glory.”
In Luke 22:41-44, Jesus agonized over the events leading up to His death. In fervent prayer, His greatest desire was to give preeminence to God’s will, not His suffering and pain (Hebrews 12:2). When we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), God always responds, and every answer brings joy.
"Our Father in heaven" -- We need to always acknowledge first and foremost who we are talking to. He (God) is our heavenly Father. We address Him with respect just as we should address our earthly father with respect. He is the only true God who created all things in this universe, including ourselves. He loves us and we need to show our love for Him.
"Hallowed be your name" -- We must see Him as being holy, sanctified, consecrated; worthy of praise, honor and glory!
"Your kingdom come" - We acknowledge His coming kingdom. We pray that Christ will soon return and establish His earthly kingdom where we will reign with Him for eternity.
"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" -- We need to be praying for His will to be done in our lives, so that we might bring glory to Him here on earth as He is also glorified in heaven. We need to do things His way, instead of selfishly doing our own things to satisfy our own desires.
"Give us today our daily bread" -- We should ask our Father each day to provide for our needs, just as He promised in His Holy Word. His Word says that we don't have, because we don't ask. Of course, we must first know God through His Son, our personal Lord and Savior. If we don't know Christ, God won't acknowledge this request for daily provision.
"Forgive us our debts (or transgressions) as we also have forgiven our debtors (transgressors)" -- This speaks about forgiveness among our associates, neighbors, friends, family and loved ones. Any and all persons in our lives that we come in contact with in social or business situations are included as well. If we can't forgive others, how can we expect our heavenly Father to forgive us?
"Lead us not into temptation" -- We need to ask our heavenly Father to help us recognize every evil thing, every temptation before us. We need help to stay focused on our Father and see the evil that we might fall into, for what it is really is, a trap set by Satan to bring us down to his level.
"But deliver us from the evil one" -- Help us, dear Father, to steer clear of that liar and deceiver. Let us see clearly the path that you want each of us to walk. By the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, may we never stray from your will and way...
Lord's Prayer - A Glorious Ending
Some commentators believe that the end of the Lord's Prayer - "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever" - was added by someone other than the original writer. Whether that's true or not, this last phrase simply emphasizes more praise and glory to God the Father - so it's absolutely biblical… a glorious ending to a model prayer to God!
• Prayer Vigils
o Vigil consists of concentrated prayer for a specific need or challenge (evangelism outreach, missions endeavor, building program, revival meetings, divine healing, etc.).
o Often extends 24 hours; 2–3 days to a full week. Volunteers sign up for 1-hour blocks.
o Close with a special prayer rally.
• Prayer Walks
o Enlist prayer volunteers to walk in pairs or small groups through neighborhoods, business districts, school zones, etc. o Blanket the areas with prayer.
o Conclude with a corporate prayer time for the area(s) covered.
• Solemn Assembly
o Solemn Assembly is a prayer gathering held for the sole purpose of seeking God’s help and direction.
• National & Global Prayer Emphases
o Week of Prayer (January)
o National Prayer Summit (March)
o National Day of Prayer (May)
o Global Day of Prayer (May)
o World AG Fellowship Day of Prayer (May)
o See You at the Altar Day (September)
o See You at the Pole Campus Prayer Day (September)
o Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (October)
o International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
© 2007 by Gospel Publishing House.
P.O. Box 25894, Overland Park, KS 66213
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.