Prayer is an intimate conversation with God our heavenly Father. It is the lifeblood of an earnest and intimate relationship with the Father. It is a continued lifetime process and practice by which true Christians connect to Jesus Christ, the source of our power, encouragement, comfort, wisdom, and guidance (1 Thessalonians5:17).
François Fénelon, in the seventeenth century, wrote about prayer saying: “Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures, and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them.” He continued, “Talk to Him of your temptations that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them….If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say.” Quoted from ODB, October 17, 2016.
Prayer is the dynamo that drives the church into victory and destruction of the work of the devil and darkness. Through prayer, we can make our needs and requests known to God. When we pray, we confess our sins, repent and ask forgiveness, mercy, and grace from God, through Jesus' name. Prayer enables us to experience God intimately and deeply. Prayer keeps us connected to God; we must keep our connection alive by spending time in His word and prayer.
Prayer does not require sophisticated or eloquent words; neither does it requires a well-reasoned defense. God just wants a desperate and earnest cry coming from a contrite, sincere, believing, and humble heart; then like a loving Father, He will respond quickly for He longs to have us live under His protection, love, grace, mercy, and guidance.
Prayer does not give us spiritual power. Rather prayer aligns our lives with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through us. The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances, but to prepare us to be involved in His activities. Prayer is designed to adjust you to God’s will, not adjust God to your will. Our absolute trust in God’s faithfulness will help us dispel our fearlessness and give us certitude in all His promises. Therefore, if you prayed on some issues and God didn’t respond to what you prayed for, you may need to adjust to your prayer and agree with God’s agenda, rather than focusing on what you would like to see happening. Also bearing in mind that God may be more concerned with what He wants to see happen in your life.
Prayer requires that you completely render your heart to God and not otherwise. When we approach God’s throne in prayer, we must confess our sins and then express our true repentance and deep mourning over our sins and disobedience and turn away from the Lord our God, who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abound in love, and He will relent from His anger (Joel 2:12-17).
Prayer must be based on faith, trust, humility, truth, and earnest prayer worship to be effective and achieve the purpose or request. It need not be with eloquent words, long sentences, or long hours; rather it must come from a sincere and pure heart expressing the desperate, specific, and immediate need and request. We often read in the Scriptures about numerous people who worshiped, prayed and acted in faith acknowledging the power and authority of Jesus Christ, and promptly they received answers to their prayers, even those who regarded as unclean and ostracized from their society. The story of the leper in (Matthew 8: 1-4), is profound evidence that the true prayer offered in faith according to God’s will and plan, has profound effect James 5:13).
To get into the deep level of prayer life and to the highest level of our spiritual growth and maturity, we must learn and gain understanding on how to pray. We become spiritually mature in our prayer life by daily continuing fervent and persevering intercessions and thanksgiving. I like what Henry and Richard Blackaby said in their book “Experiencing God Day-By- Day” page 146 when they wrote saying:
“When do not feel like praying is precisely the time we ought to pray. There are no shortcuts to prayer. There are no books to read, seminars to attend, or inspirational mottos to memorize that will transform us into intercessors. This comes only by committing ourselves to prayer and then doing so...do not allow yourself to become satisfied with shallow, self-centered praying.
This statement is authentically, assuredly, unequivocally, and absolutely true because prayer comes from a willing and longing heart seeking God’s face and guidance, to know His will, plan, and direction as we travel through our pilgrimage toward our heavenly destination. Therefore with this single-mind, we should accept God’s invitation to partner with Him by becoming intercessors on behalf of those who are yet to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Therefore, let us all take our prayer obligation seriously without being anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presenting our requests to God (Philippians 4:6), with confidence, believing that we shall receive from our loving, gracious, merciful, and kind Father (John 16:23).
It is bewildering that many times we pray and say words in our minds, but doubt in our hearts, whether we are going to receive what we prayed for (Acts 12: 14-15). As a child of God, you should trust and expect Him to answer your prayers based on His promises: “Ask and you will receive, knock and it will open to you, seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7-11).
The Impact of Prayer
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Prayer is the lifeblood of an intimate relationship with the Father. But believers often have questions about its power and effectiveness. Don’t hesitate to take your queries to the Lord, dig into Scripture for answers, and seek the counsel of a trusted spiritual mentor. Prayer is too important to neglect.
Will God’s plans fail if I don’t pray? God is not subservient to believers or dependent upon their prayers. The time we invest in speaking with Him involves us in the work that He is doing in our lives and the world, but He will carry on without us. Laboring alongside the Lord is our privilege.
Does my prayer (or lack thereof) impact God’s work? I believe that Scripture indicates the answer to this question is both yes and no, depending on the situation. There are times when God’s purpose is set. He is in control and has determined the best course. In the Old Testament, the Lord often prophesied what He would do and then brought those events to pass.
In other cases, “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). There are some good things that He holds back until we put out prayerful hands to receive them. But because God is a loving Father, He also pours our blessings that we wouldn’t even think to request.
Believer’s prayers have a tremendous impact, particularly on their faith and life. Do you understand what an awesome privilege it is to kneel before the all-powerful Father and know that He listens and will respond? God loves to be good to His children and answer their prayers. Quoted from “In Touch Ministries” by Dr. Charles Stanley, May 25, 2016.
-Pastor Israel Adeldong (Ph.D.)