Prayer is a critical part of our relationship with God. However, it is also a very misunderstood practice. Many of us treat God like an eternal pinata ready to drop candy out of the sky if we bother Him long enough about our wants and desires. Others tend to treat Him as a sky fairy that can magically wave a wand and make miracles happen if we say the magic words. Still others pretend that God is a genie in a bottle that only grants three wishes so we better ask just right. Is this what prayer really is, or is there more? Simply put - prayer is talking to God about what you're working on together. It's a relationship that requires both listening and talking. The Bible is filled with many examples of people who talked to God about all kinds of things happening in their lives.
Here are some scriptures that will help you understand how to pray more effectively.
1. We pray to the Father through the Son.
Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
2. God hears the prayers of His children.
John 9:31 (NKJV)
Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.
1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
3. What makes our prayers effective?
Mark 11:24 (NKJV)
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
James 1:6-7 (NKJV)
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The key to effective prayer is FAITH.
4. Should I pray by myself or with others?
Individual prayer is where we build our personal relationship with God. Corporate prayer is when we come together in agreement and to worship Him together as His Church. As a Christian we should do both.
Here are some examples of corporate prayer from the Bible.
Matthew 18:19-20 (NKJV)
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
James 5:14 (NKJV)
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Psalm 95:1-3 (NKJV)
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
5. How should I pray?
First let’s look at how we should not pray…
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (They were praying so that people would think they are holy) 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
If God knows everything, why should I pray?
ANSWER: He desires communication with His Kids. He loves when we depend on Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
This is how Jesus teaches us to pray.
Matthew 6:9 The Lord’s Prayer
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
We should seek God with a worshipful heart and we recognize Him as Father.
Matthew 6:10 The Lord’s Prayer
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
We should pray for His will and according to His will.
1 John 5:14 (NKJV)
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
For His Will - What is it that God wants?
According to His will – This is where we can pray what His word says over our life.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (HIS WAY OF DOING THINGS), and all these things shall be added to you.
When you seek the will of God everything else will fall into place.
Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Matthew 6:11 The Lord’s Prayer
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
We acknowledge Him as our provider… Everything that I have is because God has blessed me with it. And I am generous with what He has made available to me.
God blesses us to BE a BLESSING!
Matthew 6:12 The Lord’s Prayer
12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors
We should pray for forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We should forgive others.
Mark 11:25-26 (NKJV)
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:13 The Lord’s Prayer
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
We need to seek God’s strength in our weakness.
James 1:12 -15 (NKJV)
Blessed is the man who endures (WHO IS STEADFAST… DOES NOT GIVE INTO) temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
My prayer is often this… "Father I am a man and subject to error… Keep me from the things that would pull me away from you."
Matthew 6:13 The Lord’s Prayer
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Our focus in prayer should remain on Him.