Let Us Guide You To Prayer
1. What Is Prayer?
A prayer is a form of religious or spiritual expression in which a person speaks to a higher power or deity. It can be a way to express gratitude, ask for help, seek guidance, or make a request
Prayer is loving communication with God. Prayer is the expression of our inner spiritual needs. Through prayer we can find strength of spirit, guidance, wisdom, joy and inner peace. Prayer may be long or short, alone or in a group, silent or aloud, but it should be a true communication with God and not done for public recognition Important aspects of prayer include :
- Expressions of faith and trust in God
- Confession of our sins
- Praise of God’s mighty deeds
- Thanksgiving for all the good things we have received
- Dedication to serve God and other people
- Requests for our needs and the needs of others
2. Prayer: A Strong Act of Worship
Prayer plays a key role in our worship of God. What are the worship choruses we sing, if not prayers set to music? What are the praise-filled Bible passages we read aloud on Sunday morning, if not prayers recited in unison?
The Paul places prayer at the center of the Christian discipline of maintaining a continuous spirit of worship. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (Thessalonians 5:16-18). There are several reasons that prayer plays such an outsized role in worship. Understanding these reasons can help us maximize the impact of our worship.
More than any other form of worship, we pray. We spend more time in prayer than in church, Bible study, or personal work.
Learning to pray will be well worth our effort because it will enable us to worship God in the most effective way possible. Prayer is a very spiritual form of worship.
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3. The Power of Prayer
Jesus Christ tells us about the power of prayer in Matthew 18:18-20,
“Truly, I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be released in heaven.
Again, honestly, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, I am with them.”
The power of prayer isn’t from how many beautiful words you mutter; it comes from the prayer itself. When we gather and pray in Jesus’ name, we recognize that we cannot do anything without Him (John 15:5), thus allowing God’s power to work through us.
Prayer is powerful because it comes directly from God. Miracles such as Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus healing the sick happened through prayer. Power isn’t the only thing we get from worship but communication and a relationship with God. The act of praying allows us to open our hearts to God and intimately communicate with Him. Prayer is powerful because it is a direct way to talk and listen to God’s instructions.
James says, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (Jas. 5:16). Therefore he tells us to pray when we are sick, and ask others to pray for us, especially the elders.
In addition to praying to God, we also ask Him to intervene in men’s lives in accordance with His will. We gain a great deal from learning to pray because we know that God has the ability to influence our lives.
4. The Method
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).
God speaks through his Word, the Bible. So the more we read His Word and learn to pray it, the deeper your relationship with him will be. And you are not alone in this process, because God lives in you by his Spirit. Before beginning your time with God, invite the Spirit to direct your life and your thoughts. He is the best teacher you could ever have.
A simple guide to help shape your prayers follows the acrostic ACTS.
To adore God is to worship him for who he is and not only for what he does. In adoration you verbalize your worship, praise, honor, and exaltation of God. Many of the psalms can help us to focus on the attributes of God, such as his loving kindness, his mercy, and his majesty. Adoration is an expression of love and trust.
As you begin your prayer by worshipfully adoring God, the Holy Spirit will often reveal any sin in your life that needs to be confessed. To confess means to “agree with.” In other words, you agree with God concerning your sin — that it is, in fact, sin; that Jesus’ death on the cross has paid for that sin, and that you are fully forgiven as a result of that perfect sacrifice. This leads you to ask God for forgiveness and thank him for doing so (1 John 1:9).
Giving thanks to God is an expression of faith, and faith pleases God. In saying, “Thank you,” you are expressing your gratefulness and appreciation for what God does. Thanksgiving is also saying, “God, I trust you.” It is the opposite of whining and becoming bitter when things don’t work out the way you want them to. The Bible tells us that God’s will is that we give thanks to him in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Supplication means entrusting all your needs and desires to God. He is the Creator of the universe, and he wants you to tell him what’s on your heart, however minor it might seem. Anything that concerns you concerns God. That includes difficult areas in your personal life, or the needs of others.
When you pray, don’t forget that listening to God is just as important as speaking to him. Listen to him as the Holy Spirit speaks to you through the Bible or even in the quiet stillness of your heart.
Remember that a clear answer might not come right away or in the way you’d expect, but God is always listening, and he does respond. The more you pray and spend time with him in his Word, the more you will get to know who he is and see him at work.
Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be made full (John 16:24).
5. Learn To Pray
One of the finest ways to learn is by imitation. It entails copying what you see someone else do after watching them.
For instance, the believers in Thessalonica studied the life of Paul to learn how to live as Christians, and they studied other faithful churches to learn how to be a church (1 Th. 1:6; 2:14).
We pick up the art of prayer by imitating Jesus, and obedient brethren (1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Cor. 4:16; Heb. 13:7). We pay attention to their prayers, then incorporate what we learn into our own.
We must be mindful to comprehend what we are doing when we follow others in prayer.
Paul says, “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding” (1 Cor. 14:15).
Also, Jesus warned about vain repetitions, saying, “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. ” (Matt. 6:7).
6. How To Pray Effectively
1. Praying The Scriptures (God’s Will)
… My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.
Praying the Will of God ensures that we are not praying the wrong thing or with the wrong motives because we aren’t praying our own will, but God’s will.
2. Confessing Our Sins
Remember sin separates us from God.
That’s why I feel that repentance should be one of the first things that we do before we pray for ourselves and other people.
We don’t want anything to block or hinder our prayers.
We must let go of our pride and truly repent of our sins.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
The life of a Christian is marked by faith.
It took faith for you to accept, Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
It takes faith to keep walking down the narrow road when everyone else is walking down the broad road.
It takes faith for you to read the word of God and hold fast to its principles when the rest of the world says what you believe is wrong.
Prayer is no different.
It takes faith to humble yourself and pray to a God you can’t see.
And it takes even more faith to wait on the manifestation of that prayer.
4. Obedience to God
Just like unbelief leads us to disobedience, faith leads us to obedience.
When we have faith in God and in his character, we will obey him because we believe in his promises to us.
Even if he tells us to do something crazy like pack up all of our belongings and travel to a distant country.
Or to plant a church in the middle of nowhere.
Or to give your last $5 to the homeless man on the street.
It is in our obedience to his word and to his voice that our prayers are answered.
5. Be Fervent
What does it mean to pray fervently?
According to Merriam-Webster, the word fervent means exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling.
When we pray, we should be genuine and heartfelt.
We don’t have to pretend with God, he knows what’s in our hearts.
That’s why Christ encouraged us to pray in private because we can be honest and heartfelt.
We’re not trying to put on a show for the people around us.
That’s not to say that we can’t pray fervently and honestly in groups of people as long as our motives are right.