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Finding the Power of Prayer in our Lives

God will hear our prayers if we have faith and try to follow in His ways. We need to be in the right frame of mind for God to hear our prayers. We must align our intentions, desires and motives with the will of our Heavenly Father.
By NIGEL SMALL
Read Time: 6 minutes

The need for prayer in our lives began when Yahweh said to his angels, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1:26). And ever since, a bond has existed throughout history between our Creator and us. This relationship has been built through interaction and communication between Yahweh and His children.

The Almighty communicates to us through intervention and the Scriptures, which the apostle Paul said are,

“profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NKJV).

It is through prayer we communicate with God, and He responds,

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Jas 5:16).

WHAT IS PRAYER?

Prayer is an intimate process whereby we can establish a connection with our Maker. When we pray, we express our thoughts, actions, desires and emotions toward our Heavenly Father—and this helps establish a proper relationship with Him. Prayer is not a monologue; it is not a one-sided communication. Rather, it is a dialogue, a two-way exchange between God and people.

When we pray, we talk to God about the issues in our lives, and we also expect His reply to our prayer requests to be the answers yes, no or not yet. God’s responses to our prayers are affected by how we pray and with what intent we pray.

THE MODEL PRAYER

For prayers to be effective, meaningful and powerful, one must master the art of prayer. A model was given to us by Jesus when he taught his disciples how to pray. This famous Scripture is referred to as the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). This prayer was a teaching tool providing us with a helpful framework so our prayers might be more effective.

KEY FEATURES OF THE MODEL PRAYER

1. Addressing and Honoring the Name of God: “Our father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt 6:9). Our prayers start by addressing and honoring our Father in Heaven. Every prayer must be addressed to our Heavenly Father, but we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). We do not pray to Jesus, but rather, we pray through him, “Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16).

So, we pray to our Heavenly Father, in and through the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, a name above every name given among men (Phil 2:9). It is the only name providing us with instant access to God’s throne.

2. Acknowledging God’s Will and Plan: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” (Matt 6:10). Immediately after recognizing the supremacy of God, Jesus prayed for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth: “All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.” (Num 14:21).

When we prayerfully put God’s priorities first, He hears and responds to our requests.

The things of Yahweh must rightly take precedence over anything we might petition for ourselves. God’s first commandment given to Moses was for us to love Him above anyone and anything. Therefore, He expects us to follow His commands and express a deep sense of love for His plan and purpose for the earth over anything we would seek for ourselves. When we prayerfully put God’s priorities first, He hears and responds to our requests.

3. Our Petition to God: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt 6:11). After we consider the things of God, we may present our requests to the LORD, whether we are praying for ourselves or interceding on behalf of another. Here we let God know our concerns. And we should note the selflessness when Jesus petitioned. He appropriately asked his Father for what was needful and necessary.

The Lord’s prayer encompasses all the necessary elements of a prayer. It teaches us to address, worship, and acknowledge our Creator and His desires. We are guided to make requests and humbly confess our faults to our Heavenly Father. We are also taught to forgive others if we expect to be forgiven.

HOW SHOULD WE PRAY?

God will hear our prayers if we have faith and try to follow in His ways. We also need to be in the right frame of mind for God to hear our prayers. We must align our intentions, desires and motives with the will of our Heavenly Father. We learn about God’s ways by studying His Word. He will not hear the prayers of those who ignore His Word,

“If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” (Prov 28:9 ESV).

The Old Testament states God occasionally refused to hear the prayers of Israel because of their wickedness,

“I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.” (Isa 1:15 ESV).

As we have learned from God’s relationship with Israel and His Son, we must pray in accordance with God’s will. In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 ESV). God’s Son yielded to his Father’s desires. And as followers of Christ, we should pray similarly—according to God’s will. God wants His children to pray for things that benefit them spiritually. The Apostle John wrote,

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (1 John 5:14 ESV).

Additionally, when we pray, we need faith to believe God not only hears our prayers but has the power and desire to answer them.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (Jas 1:5-6 ESV).

However, even if we pray with faith, this does not mean God will automatically give us everything we ask for. Our Heavenly Father does not take away all of our life’s problems. But if we pray in the right manner, He will hear us and answer in helpful ways for us to spiritually grow and develop more Christ-like characters—thus better preparing us for His Kingdom.

GOD ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS

God answers our prayers in different ways. We must have confidence He knows what is best for us. Sometimes, He grants a request after making us wait. Isaac prayed but had to patiently wait for his sons to be born (Gen 25:20- 26). Other times, God disciplines us, but we can benefit and learn from His chastening (Heb 12:6), and thus be spiritually refined as purged gold,

“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28 ESV).

God loves and cares for those who sincerely seek Him, and we must believe whatever happens to us is because God is working in our lives for our good. We should therefore ask in faith, praying God’s will be done—not ours, knowing that only God can truly help us. David said,

“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psa 34:15).

God can direct believers through controlled circumstances requiring great faith. Sometimes, it is only through hindsight we can understand and fully appreciate how God has answered our prayers.

when we pray, we need faith to believe God hears our prayers and has the power and desire to answer them

A good example is Daniel who prayed to Yahweh three times a day despite the decree by King Darius that threatened those who petitioned any other than himself. But God heard Daniel, and when he was cast into the lion’s den, God stopped the mouths of the lions— all because of Daniel’s faith, obedience and trust in Yahweh.

Hannah also prayed to the LORD and wept in bitterness because God had shut her womb. She faced cruel provocation and cried out to the LORD for help in her affliction. Hannah vowed if the LORD opened her womb, she would give God the child as a Nazirite. Because she had faith and was fervent in prayer, the Almighty opened her womb, and she gave birth to Samuel.

Lastly, we remember God’s Son reaching out to his Heavenly Father for the strength to endure. As the epitome of selflessness, he prayed,

“Father if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus understood he must perfectly obey the task ahead to fulfill his Father’s will and bring about salvation for a world in desperate need. Jesus spent much time communicating with his Father, sometimes praying all night (Luke 6:12).

Paul says believers should “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess 5:17). Prayer is Yahweh’s designed way for all people to communicate with Him. When we pray reverently and fervently, we get blessings from God and receive the fruit of our faithfulness, if He wills.

Nigel Small,
Moorestown, NJ

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