The importance of Prayer
Have you ever known someone who really trusts God? Rachel, an atheist had a good friend who prayed often. She would tell her friend every week about something she was trusting God to take care of. And every week she would see God do something unusual to answer her prayer.
Do you know how difficult it is for an atheist to observe this week after week? After a while, "coincidence" begins to sound like a very weak argument and Rachel has to ask does God really answer prayer and why would God answer the friend's prayers? The biggest reason is that she had a relationship with God. She wanted to follow God. And she actually listened to what he said.
In her mind, God had the right to direct her in life, and she welcomed him doing just that! When she prayed for things, it was a natural part of her relationship with God. She felt very comfortable coming to God with her needs, her concerns, and whatever issues were current in her life.
Furthermore, she was convinced, from what she read in the Bible, that God wanted her to rely on him like that. She pretty much exhibited what this statement from the Bible says,
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer..."
God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says, "Yes." sometimes He says, "NO." Sometimes He says, "Wait for a while," and we need to remembera day to the Lord is as a thousand years to us (2 Peter 3:8). So we need to ask in faith, but rest in peace-filled patience.
Surveys show that more than half of the uk prays daily. No doubt they pray for health, wealth, happiness, etc. They also pray when grandma gets sick, and when grandma doesn't get better (or dies), many end up disillusioned, and some end up bitter. This is because they don't understand what the Bible says about prayer. It teaches that sin will stop God even hearing your prayer (Psalm 66:18).
"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me"
It teaches, among other things, that if we pray with doubt, we will not get an answer (James 1:6-7).
"For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."
People who are new in the faith may have never studied about how to pray. Some members do not pray properly so their prayers are not even answered. All of us can improve in this aspect of worship.
We need to learn what to pray about. Should we make requests, be thankful, offer praise, intercede on behalf of others, offer petition? And what power does prayer have? Does God really answer prayer? If so, how should we pray and what conditions must prayer meet in order for God to hear and answer?
What is prayer? Note Acts 4:24,31. Prayer is simply man talking to God, expressing his thoughts to God (Rom. 10:1; Matt. 6:9ff). Hence, it is a form of communication similar in may ways to simply talking to our earthly father, except that we must remember whom we are addressing and must meet conditions of acceptable prayer.
I. What Should We Pray About?
What should we include in our prayers? Some cannot seem to think of much to say. Others say things that are inappropriate or even unscriptural. Some just repeat memorized phrases they have heard others pray.
Let us examine Bible examples of prayer. What did God's people in the Scriptures talk about in prayer? How do our prayers compare? Can we improve our prayers by considering what Bible characters prayed about?
Here's how to be heard....
Pray with faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Pray with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3-4).
Pray genuine heart-felt prayers, rather than vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).
Make sure that you are praying to the God revealed in the Holy Scriptures (Exodus 20:3-6).