This article deals with what the Bible tells us about prayer and how we should pray, so we may get our prayers answered.
Note: This article is long. So read it in stages, one section at a time, and relish reading it slowly. Don’t rush through it, because the message will not sink into the soil of your heart.
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What is prayer? Prayer is a way to communicate with God, a way to make your requests known to Him. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, told us how we should pray. When his disciples asked him, “Lord, how should we pray?” Jesus replied, “Your Father in heaven already knows what you need, so when you pray, say, “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” This prayer covers all aspects of our daily life. And since God already knows what we need, is it sufficient that we stop with just the Lord’s prayer?
Certainly not! Why? Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6, tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” So you make your requests to God through prayer on your knees, in your prayer closet, when you lie down on your bed, when you travel. You can pray to God anytime, because God loves to listen to the prayers of his children.
Develop a Personal Relationship with God
As God’s child, let me ask you, how is your relationship with God your Heavenly Father? Do you have a good Son or Daughter relationship with Him? The closer your relationship is with your Father, the easier it is to talk with Him through prayer, and make your needs known. Psalms 37, verses 4 and 5 tell us, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” What a wonderful promise!
So we have to grow our relationship in Jesus Christ to get closer to God, our heavenly Father. This is because Jesus stands as our mediator between us and God, His Father. That’s why Jesus said in John 16:23, “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” That is the key. Ask God, make your requests known to Him in Jesus’ name.
Check your heart — Are You righteous before God? Do You Follow His instructions?
If our prayers are to be answered by God, we have to live a righteous life. Are you following God’s instructions in the Bible? In the book of Isaiah 59, verse 12, he writes, “For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us. Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities.” So, if our offenses are many in God’s sight, acknowledging and repenting of our sins is the sure way to get back on track with God.
King David knew this principle of being righteous. He says in Psalms, chapter 66, verses18 to 20, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer, Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”
God loved King David, because he was a man after God’s own heart. King David realized the importance of keeping a pure heart, to keep a pure relationship with God. When King David committed the dual sins of adultery and murder, he acknowledged his personal guilt and sins at once, when he says in Psalms 51, verses 10 and 11, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me.” To remain righteous before God, we have to have a pure heart if we want our prayers answered.
Staying righteous is one of the key components in getting our prayers answered. Why? James, the disciple of Jesus Christ writes in Chapter 5, verse 16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” When we remain righteous, without sin, or blemish, God looks fondly upon us. We truly become his children, because we are fulfilling His will in our lives, for our sake, so that he may reward us for doing good.
Paul writes in Romans chapter 2, verse 13, saying, “For it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Obeying the laws of the Old Testament, and the instructions given to us by Jesus Christ, is what he is talking about. God loves when we follow his instructions given to us in the Bible. The Bible was written by God’s own disciples, apostles, and prophets, through the divine power of the Holy Spirit.
In the book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon, the son of King David, God says, in chapter 28, verse 9, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.”
Apart from being a righteous person, there’s another important thing that we must do. God requires that we remain humble throughout our lives. The one sin that God hates above all else, is the sin of Pride, a boastful heart. In the book of Proverbs, Chapter 3, verse 34, it says, “God… shows favor to the humble in heart.” God loves when we approach him in humility through prayer. God does not like a boastful, proud, and arrogant spirit. So how do you think God sees you? God will answer the prayers of a humble man or woman, if they are righteous in his sight.
Pray According to God’s Will
(Sometimes a “NO” is an answer too).
God loves to answer our prayers. He longs to listen to us daily and take care of our needs. He is a loving father. He gave Jesus Christ his only son to die on the cross for our sins. Why then will he withhold any good thing from us? He wants to give us whatever we ask through prayer. However, we have to check our hearts and our motives before we ask God for the things we ask Him. God knows what is best for us. As the disciple James writes in Chapter 4, verse 3, he says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” That may seem harsh and judgmental of James, but he is right. Most times, we ask God things that are not aligned with his holy will. We are eager to ask God a million things through prayer, as if asking a genie or a magician to fulfill our wishes.
God can see the depths of our heart. He knows our deepest reasoning. He is the almighty, ever, and all knowing God. When we pray and make known our requests to God, we have to make sure that our requests align with God’s holy will. This is where the Lord’s Prayer says, “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.” Without this spiritual alignment, most times our prayers go unanswered. The disciple John says in John One, Chapter 5, verses 14 to 15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us; whatever we ask; we know that we have what we asked of him.”
As Christians, we have to also learn to live with the possibility of getting a “NO” as the answer to our prayers. When we walk with God daily, stay righteous, be humble, we must be mature to accept that he will answer our prayers as best as he sees fit. We must have faith that God will give us his best answer, because he loves us too much to give us the wrong things. As humans, we see the here and now. God is able to see the big picture for our lives. So be thankful, even when the answer is NO, because God has our best interests at heart.
Have Faith That Your Prayers Will Be Answered
As Christians, it is important that we exercise our faith daily. When we pray, we must believe in God, that He is our God. He did wonderful things for the Israelites, when they were captives in Egypt. He destroyed Egypt for the sake of the Israelites with the ten deadly plagues. He drowned the Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea. In the New Testament, Jesus gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, healed lepers, caused the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, cast out demons, and healed a host of illnesses. Our God is capable of doing anything! He is the God of making possible, the impossible.
Matthew the tax collector, who became Jesus’ disciple says in Chapter 21, verse 22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Belief, is what pleases God. About pleasing God, Apostle Paul writes in Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 6, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him, must believe that he exists, and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” So as Christians, we have to earnestly seek a relationship with God daily, not just when we need our prayers to be answered. God needs our constant relationship. That’s what he expects from us.
Our faith gets our prayers answered. Even the impossible becomes possible. Jesus spoke of this when he spoke of a mountain being cast into the sea, by having faith, the size of a mustard seed. In James, Chapter 1, verse 6, he says, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
Daniel’s Prayer as an Example:
Daniel, a mighty prophet of God, was a righteous man who did everything he could to please God daily. He made sure that none of his actions offended God in any way. Watch how Daniel prayed to God. In the book of Daniel, Chapter 9, verses 4 to 6, he says, “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants, the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.”
Such a righteous man like Daniel did not get his prayers answered. But there was a reason why. In Daniel chapter 10, verses 12 to 13, the angel of God visits Daniel, saying, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.”
So sometimes even when God answers our prayer, there are evil spirits in the unseen realms, who hinder the answers to our prayers from reaching us. The answers to our prayer are delayed for such reasons. We may not fully understand why the answers to our prayers are delayed, but God knows everything and answers our prayers on time.
Daniel’s answer to his prayers were delayed by twenty-one days. Daniel was visited by the angel only on the twenty-fourth day. He spent those twenty-three days in mourning, eating vegetables, not eating choice meats, not drinking rich wine, and not using expensive lotions for his body. He focused all his time in earnest, continuous prayer with God, till his prayers were answered.
God is Supreme, His Answers to Your Prayer are Final
Whatever the answer to your prayer, are you ready to accept it? Can you keep an open mind to accept God’s reply to your prayer? God knows what is best for you and me. Isaiah says in Chapter 55, verses 8 to 9, that God is Supreme, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
So you have to understand that in all your praying, God knows how best to answer your prayers. Understanding and accepting the answers from God is a process, a sign of spiritual maturity. God is always with the humble and lowly. Isaiah speaks of this in Chapter 57, verses 15 to 16, For this is what the high and exalted One says, he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit.
Finally, as we mature in our spiritual walk as Christians, we must allow the Holy Spirit to intervene, pray for us. The apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 8 verse 26, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” The Holy Spirit will be our intercessor and gets our requests before God. When this happens, there’s a better chance of our prayers being answered.
Seek His Kingdom First
Listen to what the disciple Matthew says in chapter 6, verse 33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Each day, make sure that you are seeking the Kingdom of God first, with all your Heart. Then your prayers will be a sweet pleasing aroma before God.
Remember, God loves you. He wants you to experience the best He has for you. Share this article with others. Do leave me your feedback.
Note: So, after writing the caption, I checked Google, where it says:
“The Christian religion sees the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection. Around the world people view the butterfly as representing endurance, change, hope, and life.”
That’s interesting to know, for sure.