Last night in Prayer Meeting, I talked a little about prayer. So, for those of you who weren't able to make it, I want to share with you some of the foundational aspects of prayer.
1) God takes PLEASURE in our Prayer. Sometimes we get in the mindset that the All Powerful, Creator of the universe isn't really concerned with the things that we have going on down here. But as Believers, the Bible says that we are beloved sons and daughters of God and an all-loving, Holy God takes pleasure in the conversations with His children!
2) We pray to God out of REVERENCE. Jesus said that if we ask anything in His name that He will do it. Many people end their prayers with “In Jesus name I pray”. The reason that we do this is because coming to God in the Name of Jesus means that we are saying that we have no righteousness, no salvation, no meaning in this life EXCEPT through Christ.
3) When we come to God, we come into His PRESENCE. In the Old Testament, the picture of prayer is the incense before the alter that goes up and as it rises, it is a sweet smelling aroma to God. Our prayers are just that, something that God wants from us and is sweet to Him as we stand before our Lord in prayer.
4) God gives us HELP in prayer. At the end of Chapter 8 of Romans, Paul tells us that even in the times that we don't know what to pray, that the Spirit of God prays for us “with groanings too deep for words”. Paul is saying that in those difficult times that you don't know what to say to God, don't worry. You just come to Him. He knows your heart. You don't have to have all the right words, just open up that line of communication to your Father.
5) We come to God in prayer with the right kind of HEART. Psalm 66 says “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not heart me”. 1 John says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. This means that we keep short accounts with God. Constantly confessing our sin to Him. We shouldn't let an hour pass by before we seek repentance for what we do wrong. God knows us. He knows our sin. But He wants us to confess it to Him and seek obedience. That is having the right heart in prayer.
6) We pray for our NEEDS. When we endure suffering, hardships, struggles, heartache, problems, and worries, we bring them to our Lord. God wants us to bring to Him to big needs and the little needs. The big concerns and the little ones. So we pray for all things, physical and spiritual, great and small.
7) We are THANKFUL to God in our prayers. We thank Him for everything. Our family, our church, our health, our safety, our possessions, the ways that He has blessed us, the struggles that He has brought us through. As Psalm 136 says, we gives thanks to the Lord because He is good!
8) We pray for OTHERS. We aren't selfish in our prayers. We don't put the spot-light constantly on ourselves, but we pray for the needs and struggles and lives of those around us. We pray for the Gospel to be heard by the lost, for the Word to be understood by the saved. We pray for people who live in our homes, who go to our church, for our neighbors and friends. We pray for all those that God has put into our lives.
9) We pray with STEADFASTNESS. Don't give up in your prayers. In the parable of the persistent widow, you had a crooked judge and an old widow who kept coming to him for justice. The judge continued to deny her but that did not stop this woman. She was persistent in her petition. Finally, the crooked judge has enough and gives the widow what she was seeking. Jesus ends this parable by saying, if this evil Judge can answer the needs of the woman, how much more will a Holy, Good God be willing to answer the prayers of His children? Some of you have prayed the same thing for years and God delights in the fact that you continue to trust in Him so much, that you are relentless in your prayer!
10) Sometimes in our prayer requests, God says “NO”. There is always a reason that God says “no”. Maybe it will hurt your walk with Him, maybe it will hurt you, maybe you don't need it. There is always a plan at work in our lives and we rarely know all the details of that plan. So we have to understand that when God says “no”, it is for our good.
11) Our prayers have POWER. God is sovereign over this world. He is in full control of everything and everyone around us. In saying that, we must also understand the power that our sovereign God has given us in prayer. That when we go to Him, He listens. That the prayers of Believers have the ability to reach our Father who can do things, change things, intercede in things for us. We have to understand that there is great power in prayer.
So, the challenge to you is this: make time for prayer. Every day. Find a quiet place to go to Him. Set aside time to get with the Lord and lay it all out to Him. Draw near to Him and you will be amazed at what God can do!