Posted by: Rolf | July 7, 2008

Praying When in Need…

Life holds many stressful moments when we lack clarity on ways to proceed or help others. Through prayer, we can receive guidance. But how does it work? Prayer starts with our transitioning from what is happening in our world to communing with the Lord and thinking about Him. By taking our eyes off the circumstances and focusing instead on God, our minds will clear.

Look around any day, and you’ll see people who need to make changes in their lives. Maybe you have a sister who does not know Christ or a believing neighbor who struggles to tame a gossiping tongue. The most powerful way to effect change in another person’s life—or your own—is by praying.

We live in a spiritual war zone. Every time we get on our knees, we are doing business with God, but we are also doing battle with the Devil. As a result, we must expect interference and harassment. Satan knows that a devotedly prayerful person is dangerous. Such an individual is enjoying a deep, peaceful relationship with God that translates into a passion for obedience and a powerful witness.

If your conversations with God consist of a checklist of needs and a catalog of feelings, then you have missed a key element of prayer. Expressing concerns is certainly appropriate, but the most important part of prayer is focusing on God Himself—loving and worshipping Him. There are three things about the Father that we are to ponder in our prayers: His name, His kingdom, and His will.

Notice that I said “spend time with God.” Believers today expect prayer answers to be as instant as microwave meals. If the Lord does not respond immediately, people typically have one of three thoughts: God is angry with me; I must have sin in my life; or this must not be God’s will. Usually, however, the real answer is that we haven’t prayed long enough for God to have worked out all the details. There is a time for quick, emergency petitions, but most prayer is a continuous effort.

That’s why it is best to avoid general, non-specific prayers—how would you know if the Lord has responded? A prayer list can give us a picture of God at work. With a record of our petitions and His replies, our faith in the power of prayer will grow. One request God promises to answer with a “yes” is the desire for wisdom. Whenever we need understanding, we are to petition God, and He will give it generously. He won’t criticize us or turn us away for requesting it too frequently. He desires that we have the mind of Christ.

Then we will be prepared to receive His thoughts and to offer Christ-centered petitions back to Him. In our prayers, we are to follow the pattern that Jesus taught His disciples and be specific about the distinct needs that we see. God wants not only to provide for us but also to build up our belief in Him. Increased faith comes from seeing a direct correlation between our requests and His answers.

Prayer is the Christian’s most powerful God-given means for affecting change. Yet we often feel unsure about our appeals to the Lord. The first basis for our confidence in prayer is the knowledge that we belong to God’s family. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, God becomes our heavenly Father. Because of this, we can be absolutely sure He will hear our prayers.

Prayer cannot be reduced to a formula. It isn’t some static activity where repeating certain words brings the desired solution. It is ongoing communication with the Father, which involves listening, speaking, and acting on what we hear. God has promised to answer His children’s prayers, but He often waits before responding. He does so for many reasons.

I you desire to learn how to pray I recommend a great book written by my pastor, Dr. James L. Nicodem “Prayer Coach”. I encourage you to read this book if you want to get of the bench and onto the praying field.

In His Grip and Serving Grace…

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