We looked at what prayer is and how should we define it and at the difficulties of knowing when and how to pray.
We also observed that public recognition, eloquence and wordy, or impressive speech, may be simply products of the mind and not necessarily of the heart or spirit and that these can be barriers to answered prayer.
Furthermore, we learned that prayer is often the result of human needs as well as of praise and worship of the God whom we love.
In Part Two, we will look at why we should pray and when we should pray and we will also look at how our prayers can be truly answered as well as attempting to examine reasons why some prayers are NOT answered.
We will conclude this subject on prayer with some examples from Biblical sources about the types of prayers that can be prayed.
The most important thing to remember about praying is that prayer must come from the heart because God, our father, who is in Heaven, looks not on the outward things of a man but only upon the heart.
In other words God looks for genuiness, honesty and truthfulness in those who come before him.
He cannot abide falseness, dishonesty, or lies so we must always approach The Lord with a penitent heart full of sincerity and also believe that He is more than able to provide what we petition Him for.
This is what the Bible calls 'Faith'. We must believe that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?
The Bible exhorts believers to pray because prayer aids our sanctification in Jesus Christ and helps us to develop our relationship with God.
Prayer helps us to abide in Him and ensure that through a closer walk with God, Jesus abides in us.
John 15:7-10 says: 'if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you'.
Therefore it is imperative, that as believers in The Lord Jesus, we learn to pray regularly.
WHEN SHOULD WE PRAY?
As Christians, we can pray alone and in secret, which is predominantly the best way to pray.
This method of praying is also the way recommended by The Lord Jesus, himself, in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 where He says:
'But when You Pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Heavenly Father, which is in secret; and your Father, which sees in secret shall reward you openly'.
As believers, there are also times when we need to pray as a group such as in worship or the giving of thanks to God. Sometimes we may need to pray together for the needs of one another, which the scriptures also exhort us to do (as recommended in the book of James 5:16).
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL PRAYER?
You may very well be wondering if there are any special requirements that God may desire of us when praying. The answer to this enquiry is YES! The Lord has set out in His word a particular pattern which believers must follow in order to achieve a successful prayer-life.
A) The Lord requires us to have a humble heart:
'If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and PRAY and SEEK MY FACE and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, then I WILL HEAR from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
B) The Lord also requires us to be wholehearted before Him:
'You will seek me and you will find me when you search for me with ALL Your Heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
C) The Lord requires us to call upon His Name in Faith:
'Therefore I tell You, whatever You ask for IN PRAYER, believe that You have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24) [NIV]
D) The Lord requires that we live in Righteousness and that we are in a state of confession and contrition before Him:
'..Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another. The effectual, fervent prayer, of a righteous man, availeth much (James 5:16).
E) The Lord also requires of us daily obedience to Him and His Word: 'And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we KEEP His commandments, and DO those things that are pleasing in His sight (1 John 3:22).
WHAT ASSURANCES DO WE HAVE THAT GOD WILL ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?
Psalm 34:17-19 tell us that: 'When the righteous cry' The Lord hears them and delivers them out of ALL their troubles.
He assures us that: He is near to those who are of a broken heart and saves those who are of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the lord delivers him out of them ALL'.
For further understanding of this intimacy with God please read the following scriptures from your Bible:
- Psalm 91:15
- 1 Samuel 1:27
- Psalm 4:1-5
- Psalm 18:1-6
- Proverbs 15:29
- Isaiah 58:1-14 (is a perfect example of why we should pray for the world).
- Luke 11:1-13 (is a perfect example of how much we put our trust in God our Heavenly Father).
SOME REASONS WHY PRAYERS MAY GO UNANSWERED.
Historically the church has observed that there are times when prayers have been made and have not been answered.
The Bible gives several reasons for why prayers are refused and why there may be apparent causes for failure in prayer.
It must be understood that our prayers should be in accordance with God's divine will as recorded in 1 John 5: 13-15 where the Bible specifically states that:
'..This is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His Will, he hears us'.
'And if we KNOW that He hears us, Whatsoever we ask, we Know [also] that we have the petitions we desired of him'.
A list of possible causes for unanswered Prayer:
- DISOBEDIENCE.............................. Deuteronomy 1:45 and 1 Samuel 14:37
- SECRET SINS................................... Psalm 66:18
- INDIFFERENCE............................... Proverbs 1:28
- UNMERCIFUL................................. Proverbs 21:13
- UNFORGIVING................................ Luke 6:37
- DESPISING GOD's LAW................. Proverbs 28:9
- BLOODGUILTINESS....................... Isaiah 1:15
- INIQUITY.......................................... Isaiah 59:2 and Micah 3:4
- STUBBORNESS/STIFFNECKED.... Zechariah 7:13
- INSTABILITY OR DOUBT.............. James 1:6-7
- SELF INDULGENCE........................ James 4:3
- LACK OF EQUITY........................... Proverbs 29:27 and Revelations 22:11
God answers prayer requests in His own way and in His own time and cannot grant prayer requests that are against His holy nature or His wisdom and purposes. He will not grant prayer requests that are purely selfish in nature or are not in our best interest including those prayers which are immoral or made with impure motives.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PRAYERS THAT CAN BE MADE.
A prayer of praise (Jude 1:24-25)
The Prayer of Paul for those who share his ministry (Phillippians 1:3-11)
The prayer of Paul concerning Spiritual wisdom (Ephesians 1:15-23)
The prayer of Paul for knowing God's Will (Colossians 1:9-12)
The prayer of Paul for Spiritual Growth (ephesians 3:14-21)
The prayer of Stephen at his stoning (Acts 7:59-60)
The intercessory prayer of Jesus (John 17:1-26)
The Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-15)
The Publican's prayer (Luke 18:13)
The prayer of the Prophet Habbakuk (Habbakuk 3:1-19)
The prayer of Ezra (Ezra 9:5-15)
The prayer of Daniel concerning The Captivity (Daniel 9:4-19)
The prayer of Hezekiah who was sick (Isaiah 38:2-8)
The prayer of Jabez for God's Blessing (1 Chronicles 4:10)
The prayer of Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-39)
The prayer of Solomon at the Temple Dedication (1 kings 8:22)
The prayer of King David's thankgiving (2 Samuel 7:18-29)
The prayer of Abraham for Sodom & Gommorah (Genesis 18:23-25)
Further examples of the different topics of prayer that can be made are follows:
Prayer for repentance, for salvation, for wholeness, for healing, for miracles, for blessings, for peace, for guidance, for love, for a baby, for conquering fears, for every day issues of life, for overcoming sin, for world peace, for the promotion of the gospel, for the disenfranchised and downtrodden, for unbelievers, for Governments and those in authority over us. for the coming of God's Kingdom, for the dying, for the dead, for the living, for long life, for wisdom, for discernment, for the future, for goodness to triumph, and so on...
We began this study of prayer with the purpose of providing a basic outline of what prayer is and why prayer is necessary.
ATT-ALL THESE THINGS has set out some biblical principles that we hope those who are unsure about praying may be encouraged to follow.
Please note that the subject of prayer is an infinitely vast area of the bible and is therefore worthy of further study.
HAVE YOUR SAY!
How often do You Pray? Do You consider Prayer to be important? If so, then Why?
If you wish to advance or discuss this subject further then please leave your comments in the comment section of this post.