When we pray to the Lord, tremendous power is available to us, and this week, I want to show you how God's power is available to us when we are praying a prayer of petition - prayer in which we are asking something from God.
Most people are familiar with the “Our Father” in Matthew 6:9, where Jesus gives us a model for prayer:
“Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) 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 also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Certainly we can pray this prayer as it is written but the Lord was not specifying that this was the only way to pray. There are many examples in Scripture, particularly in the Psalms, and throughout the New Testament that speak to us about how to pray and provide us examples of prayer.
Yet we must remember that our Heavenly Father is NOT a robot; we are not robots either. He created us to have a warm, interactive relationship with Him so while it is good to learn about prayer, and the prayers of others can certainly inspire us, don’t feel you have to talk to Him with ONLY a printed prayer book in front of you.
The Lord wants to hear from you in your own words yet with a foundation on His Word. It is far more important that the words you pray be fresh and genuine yet expressing faith and trust. God is much more interested in the position of your heart toward Him, and to know that you love and trust Him.
Our prayers should be guided and energized by the Word of God. The entire Bible is based on a system of living words. In fact, the Lord describes His Word in Hebrews 4:12 as “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power, making it active, operative, energizing, and effective.”
Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So we need to read the Word, hear the Word and speak the Word; we meditate on the Word. We receive God’s living Word into our hearts by giving attention to it and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus we grow our faith.
Let’s look at these Scriptures to see what else the Lord says about prayer. Read them slowly and carefully. If you are like I was, some of these may be a surprise to you!
“Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking reverently and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
“And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and really believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21: 22
“For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will get it.” Mark 11: 24
“Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever (anything and everything) they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in(to) My name, there I Am in the midst of them.” Matthew 18: 19-20
“So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any grievance against you, Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
“whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.” Mark 11:25
“I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, without anger or quarreling or resentment or doubt in their minds, lifting up holy hands.” 1 Timothy 2: 8
“Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer life, being both alert and intent in your praying with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4: 2
“Be unceasing in prayer, praying perseveringly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
“Pray at all times on every occasion, in every season in the Spirit, with all manner of prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).” Ephesians 6: 18
“Is anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray. Is anyone glad at heart? He should sing praise to God.” James 5: 13
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.” Philippians 4: 6
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“…Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises,” Hebrews 6:12
I would suggest reviewing and meditating on the above Scriptures. We will continue in upcoming Part 3.