We also talked about spending quality time with the Lord, and learning about His heart of love for you, and realizing how much He enjoys spending time with you, listening to you, being with you, watching you enjoy the gifts He gives in your life, and yes, even talking with you.
This blog is a study on prayer – talking with your Heavenly Father.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog on prayer will be broken into 5 parts (posts).
WHAT IS PRAYER?
I know many people have written books and articles about all kinds of prayer – the prayer of dedication, the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of petition, etc. I am not going to describe all the different methods and types of prayer because I believe that is something that is easy enough to research yourselves. In this blog, I want to take your focus onto learning to pray effectively about anything, in any situation, in faith, and applying the Scriptures to your prayers. Additionally, there are so many Scriptures on prayer and talking to God that it would overwhelm to post all of them in this blog. Therefore, I am posting those I feel led to post.
The simplest description of prayer is that it is conversation with your Father God and it encompasses all kinds of emotions and needs. It’s praising Him and thanking Him for Who He is and for what He has done in your life; it’s thanking Him for His blessings. It’s committing people, situations and other things to His care. It could be about dedicating or consecrating yourself or someone or something else to Him. It’s asking Him to meet your need or someone else’s. It is good to pray about everything and anything. Prayer is one of the greatest privileges that we have as Christians. We don’t HAVE to pray; we GET TO PRAY.
Fellowship with God was one of the richest privileges of man before the fall. Until then, Adam and Eve were blessed with all they could want or need in the Garden of Eden, and surely the most wonderful blessing was unbroken communion and companionship with God, their Father and Friend.
Sin not only banished man from the Garden of Eden; it banished man from God. The fellowship and communion was broken. Jesus Christ came into the world to restore us to the Father, that by our believing in Him and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we become born again as children of God. Jesus’ amazing sacrifice restored to us so many things that we had lost, including fellowship with God.
Romans 6:11 says, “Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God, living in unbroken fellowship with Him in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 3:1-2 says, “See what an incredible quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should be permitted to be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! … Beloved, we are even here and now God’s children.”
As God’s beloved children, we can come to Him with any need, any situation, any problem, and any number of requests – because He is our Father and because He cares for us.
1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast the “whole of your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” There is nothing neither too small nor too large for God’s interest because His biggest interest is in YOU.
When we pray, we open the door for personal communion and fellowship with God. It is a time of loving companionship where we enjoy His company and He enjoys us; where we can talk to Him, and pour out our hearts to Him, and also where – as we learn to LISTEN for and RECOGNIZE His voice – we can hear from Him. Prayer also opens the door for the Lord to enter into our problems and situations, and work on them. Prayer brings us into union with the Lord so that we become partners with Him.
Prayer does not have to be fancy or long or loud. You can pray sitting down, standing up, on your knees, in a church or walking down the street, or folding your hands (or not) or bowing your head (or not). God is not as concerned with your physical position in prayer as He is with the position of your heart. He cares about your sincerity of heart and your faith. You don’t have to beg and plead with Him to help you. God is good all the time, and His plans for you are never for evil. He loves you and wants what is best for you, and it brings Him great joy when you turn to Him for His help.
Of course, it is much easier to approach God when you know Him. Think about it. Let’s use this example. Let’s say you need help with something or perhaps even a loan of money from a friend. Most people would not feel comfortable going up to a complete stranger to ask for assistance, unless it was a serious emergency and even then some folks have trouble doing this. Yet suppose we were talking about going to your parents, or a close family member, or a close friend. Most likely you would feel comfortable approaching them for some kind of help, even if you didn’t feel comfortable going to them for EVERYTHING.
It’s the same thing with God in terms of YOUR perspective. God is always there for you, able and waiting and longing for you to come to Him. However, if you have not built a relationship with Him, YOU won’t necessarily FEEL like you could go to Him. You will have difficulty EXPECTING from God because you have not developed that relationship with Him. God’s promises are for all of His children; He does not designate one person as His favorite and another as less favorite. And I have seen many times an individual who previously did not know or care about God suddenly cry out to Him in a moment of faith, and in their time of need, and receive an answer. That is because our God is merciful and loving, and He can read a person’s faith and heart toward Him far better than any of us can.
So, if you don’t know the Lord, get to know Him. Ask Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior or something similar in your own words). If you’ve been away for a while, come home to Him. If you realize you need to grow closer to Him then do that – He will welcome you with open arms!
Let’s look at what the Lord says about prayer and your relationship with Him. Some of these Scriptures are a refresher. Read through them, and when you have finished, read through them again and think about them. Let them sink in… for these are from the heart of God to YOU.
PRAYER & RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
UNDERSTAND THAT ALL SCRIPTURE IS INTENDED TO TEACH YOU; the promises are for you; the wisdom is for you; the guidance is for you – the words in Scripture may have been spoken initially in ancient times but they are intended for ALL of us today, not just the apostles or prophets from way back when.
Consider what God says:
Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness, in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action. (2 Timothy 3:16)
For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by our steadfast and patient endurance and the encouragement drawn from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope. (Romans 15:4)
UNDERSTAND THAT GOD’S PLANS FOR YOU ARE GOOD. If you have not been experiencing good in your life, it is NOT because God does not like you or does not want good for you. Yet we must learn to cooperate with God; He created us to be partners with Him in our prayer and in our daily lives. Look throughout the Gospels and notice the high value Jesus placed on having and expressing faith and trust in Him.
Here are examples:
“When He reached the house and went in, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus said to them, Do you believe that I am able to do this? They said to Him, Yes, Lord.” Matthew 9:28
“But Jesus, on hearing this (that Jairus’ daughter was dead), answered him (Jairus), Do not be seized with alarm or struck with fear; simply believe in Me as able to do this, and she shall be made well.” Luke 8:50
“Jesus speaking to Martha regarding Lazarus’ death, said to her, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40
“And when Jesus saw their faith - their confidence in God through Him - He said to the paralyzed man, Son, your sins are forgiven you and put away; that is, the penalty is remitted, the sense of guilt removed, and you are made upright and in right standing with God.... I say to you, arise, pick up and carry your sleeping pad or mat, and be going on home. And he arose at once and picked up the sleeping pad or mat and went out before
them all…” Mark 2:5, 11-12
“…And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us. And Jesus said, You say to Me, If You can do anything? Why, all things are possible to him who believes! At once the father of the boy gave an eager, piercing, inarticulate cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!" Mark 9:22-24
“And when the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came up trembling, and, falling down before Him, she declared in the presence of all the people for what reason she had touched Him and how she had been instantly cured. And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your confidence and trust in Me) has made you well! Go - enter into peace (untroubled, undisturbed well-being).” Luke 8:47-48
“He [Jesus] said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he [Peter] perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me from death! Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31
“And Jesus went with them. But when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent some friends to Him, saying, Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not sufficiently worthy to have You come under my roof; Neither did I consider myself worthy to come to You. But just speak a word, and my servant boy will be healed. For I also am a man daily subject to authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my bond servant, Do this, and he does it. Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and He turned and said to the crowd that followed Him, I tell you, not even in all Israel have I found such great faith as this.” Luke 7:6-9
So faith is of high importance in the Lord’s eyes. He wants our faith – our trust and belief, our confidence in Him. It is similar to a child speaking of its human father and saying, “My Dad is bigger than your dad! My Dad can do anything!” God wants us to know that we can rely on Him even more confidently than on a human father.
In my own earlier experience, I did not know God well, and I did not know of His promises. I had a distant and sometimes frightening picture of God so I did not invite Him into my life and situations much, and I did not know how to pray in faith. I did not know it was my RIGHT as a child of God to BELIEVE Him for His help and provision in my life. Every time I did pray, it was like flipping a coin and hoping for the best. Because of my poorly advised understanding of God, I did not really seek Him and I did not pray in faith when I did pray. I did not know much of His Word. Because of ALL THAT, it took a while for me to open up to Christians outside my upbringing to actually listen to the Word of God. Praise God that He found a way to connect with me and draw me into His arms! Yet here are God’s own words on His plans and intentions toward you:
“The thief (Satan) comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance to the full, till it overflows.” John 10:10 (Jesus speaking)
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” In fact, the Message Bible gives its translation of this verse: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11
We are told to set our hopes on “God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (1 Timothy 6:17)
So God is not a big meanie who is out to make us miserable and take all enjoyment out of life. He is a wonderful, loving and caring Father who wants good things for His children. The devil is the one who kills, steals and destroys.
Got it? God = Good. Devil = Bad.
KNOW GOD – SEEK AFTER THE LORD. Get close to Him. Call on Him; seek Him out. Think of how hurt a good parent would feel if their child wanted nothing to do with them. God’s heart is that He wants to be sought, loved and cherished above all things by His children. Read these words from Scripture; understood in the ancient languages, all infer emotions that are deep and passionate, a sense of the heart longing for someone.
Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently shall find Me.”
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me as a vital necessity and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
James 4:8 says, “Come close to God and He will come close to you.”
Amos 5:4 says, “Seek Me [inquire for and of Me and require Me as you require food] and you shall live!”
UNDERSTAND THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO COME TO HIM AND TO BE CLOSE TO HIM. Look at these Scriptures that tell you of the closeness and intimacy that God wants with you, and how He wants to be involved in all of your life. These are how He would like YOU to regard Him:
Seek, inquire of and for the Lord, and crave Him and His strength (His might and inflexibility to temptation); seek and require His face and His presence continually evermore. Psalm 105:4
You [Lord] have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word]. Psalm 27:8
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
The steps of a righteous man (that’s us through Jesus!) are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way and He busies Himself with his every step. Psalm 37:23 The NLT explains it: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
When you love someone – particularly if you are in love with someone - don’t you want them to love you, to want to be with you, to trust you, to think of you? Well, that’s how God feels about you!
James 1:5 says, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God Who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”
So whatever it is going on in your life, go to the Lord with it. He WANTS to help you. James 1:5 is even saying you don’t have to worry if you need wisdom for your situation - God knows you don’t have all the answers but He does! He wants to give you His wisdom! He won’t find any fault in you or admonish you because you ask for help.
What do you want or need to pray about? If you are grateful for something, you can thank the Lord, as in “Thank You, Lord, so much for (fill in the blank).” If you just want to worship Him, you can praise Him and the Psalms give you many examples that you can use. You can read and pray them right out of the Bible, or you can let them inspire you to offer up your own words of praise and worship.
How do you pray when you need help with something? Healing? Deliverance from a bad situation? How about a miracle? Help with finances? Need a job? Praying about family or beloved pets? You can go to the Lord with EVERYTHING. There is nothing that is insignificant to Him. He doesn’t have too much on His plate to deal with your problems; He doesn’t set a limit on how many things you can ask Him for. NOWHERE in Scripture will you hear Him say, “Ok, you get two prayer requests, that’s it!”
He’s not too busy with Sister Super-Christian’s needs to attend to yours. HE IS GOD. There is nothing that is hard for Him. There is nothing that is He is not willing to do for you as long as it is in alignment with His Word. (In other words, you would not pray for Him to help you rob a bank because His Word tells us not to steal.) Always keep in mind: YOU are His precious child. YOU are His baby (relatively speaking).
You need to know that when you pray, you are not talking to the air. You are being heard and you will be answered. This brings me to the next point.
WHEN YOU PRAY, KNOW THAT THE LORD HEARS YOU. Look at these Scriptures of assurance – anywhere you read “upright” or “righteous” – that’s us in Jesus, because of Jesus – not because of anything we are or have done! When you read that He “inclined to me,” it means a bending down and stretching out - it’s like leaning down closer to listen intently. Remember these points!
“…the prayer of the upright is His delight!" Proverbs 15: 8
“He hears the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15: 29
“And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65: 24
“I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1
“Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:2
“But certainly God has heard me; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.’ Psalm 66: 19
So settle that in your mind – God wants to hear from you and when you pray, HE does hear you. He WILL answer.