Bible answers to Your Questions by our Minister
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" - Romans 8:26.
We learn in Luke 11:1, "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples".
The disciples observed that Jesus set the example in prayerfulness, felt their inadequacy and approached the Master for assistance in this important area.
Age of Grace
While the Bible has much information on the subject of prayer, it is important for us to understand we now live in the age of grace.
In the Old Testament we read how certain ones cried to God to utterly destroy their enemies and have their petitions granted with haste. At the onset of His ministry in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly says that our idea of a good outcome may not always be what is the best in every situation.
He put it in these words: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" Matthew 5:11-13
1. Seek the Giver, not the gifts. Prayer is primarily talking with God but we have often reduced it to asking God for stuff. Jesus said in John 15:4, "Abide
in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
2. Let God surprise you with His abundance. Too often we are afraid to ask God for His extravagant blessings that He is longing to shower upon us. God
challenges us in Malachi 3:10 to "prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
3. Do not limit God with your request. Lay your needs before the Throne of grace and let God take over. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
4. Realise that every prayer is a partnership with God. It may require a personal rededication, an act of penitence or a first step on your part to realising the answer to your prayer. David understood this when he said in Psalms 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise".
5. Let God be God. His will be done. He will not grant your request if it goes against His sovereign will. Philippians 2:13 tells us "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure".
A More Excellent Way
While it is always good to pray and bring our requests to God, let us do it properly, in the way that God wants us to, not merely focusing on the results but the journey and how it can help develop us and strengthen our relationships.
1. Instead of "God, help the flood victims in Pakistan", pray "May Your people be moved to reach out to the flood victims in Pakistan and that the victims
may see Your goodness through Your servants".
2. Instead of "God, give me a speedy recovery", say "I thank You for being with me in my illness and ask You to continue to sustain me to recovery."
3. Instead of asking God for my parent's salvation, say "help me to focus on keeping in touch with my parents and sharing them the gospel of Christ".
4. Instead of praying that "God will help me in all my trials", say "Give me strength that I may overcome and understand Your will and submit to Your good pleasure in my current trials".
5. Instead of asking God to "Give me complete recovery", say "Give me strength to grow stronger each day as I walked with You".