Is Prayer too difficult?
The Bible says the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
If this is so, why don't we pray all the time?
Have we made prayer too difficult or have we become complacent, haphazard or pray only when driven by the 'tyranny of the urgent'?
Please hear these thoughts about prayer, from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest,
"A child of God never prays to be made aware of the fact that God answers prayer, because he is so restfully certain that God always answers prayer." August 21, 2018,
"We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself." August 14, 2014
"To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” August 14, 2014
I have heard it taught, by most Bible teachers in the reformed evangelical church, almost as a doctrine, that God answers prayers 3 ways:
I wondered. So, I studied and searched - for months. I found this:
God answers prayers.
For those who would say that God says 'wait', actually, there is no direct Biblical reference or evidence of God making you wait. Some may point to Sarah and Abraham and say that God made Sarah wait. But the time that elapsed from God's Promise to the time it was fulfilled, shows only that God delivers on His Promises. (Time is relevant to our frames of reference. For God, time is eternal. God Answers Prayer.)
The same goes for "no".
I like to study the Bible, so I can know what the Bible says and so I can obey and apply the Truths and principles of the Bible to my life. However, I consider myself a simple minded person, so too many conflicting ideas about anything tends to confuse me to inaction. So, I have to keep this simple.
Here are 7 things the Bible says about praying. And these verses will answer all the 'objections' to
GOD ANSWERS PRAYER.
God says we are to "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
God says, " You do not have because you do not ask. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (and the word "pleasures" means lusts or selfish pleasures. It is the Greek word is 'hedone' from which we get our English word 'hedonism' which is unaccountable pleasure and usually not virtuous).
God says, "If I regard wickedness in my heart, God will not hear (my prayers)." Psalms 66:18
God says, "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."
God says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
God says, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples." John 15:7
"And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matthew 21:21-22
Could this be any clearer?
I could take these 7 Truths about prayer and turn the into seven chapters for a book. I don't think I will try to write a book about this because when I read books with many caveats and multilayered methods to pray it's almost like learning to hit a golf ball the first time. (Head down, eye on the ball, left arm straight, wrist locked, elbow in tight, shift your weight, strike the ball first then the turf, turn your belt buckle toward the target, rotate shoulders, extend your arms for follow through - then pick your self up off the ground because you missed the ball completely and fell over. In fact, you have missed the point completely, lost in the details, so, you quit.)
For the person reading this who would like to see their prayer life manifest God Sized results, let's re-read these Truths and begin to apply them, together.
God says we are to
Be anxious for nothing,
but in every situation, by prayer and supplication
let your requests be made known to God."Philippians 4:6
What would it look like to pray without anxiety, in every situation? (Think on this!)
How do you pray and ask with THANKSGIVING? (Think on this!)
Now, do it that way!
2. God says we are to
Ask without motives that lead to sensually, self-indulgent pleasure.
3. God says we are to
cleanse ourselves of wickedness
Take the time and self discipline to cleanse ourselves. Remembering that we are approaching a Holy God through Christ Jesus.
Galatians 5:19-21 gives a good place to start: "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 John 1:9ff tells us to confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
4. God says we are to
Have confidence in Him, so that, anything we ask according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask,
we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."
This is a powerful Truth that only comes from a constant, disciplined, prayer relationship with God, but, imagine the powerful results.
5. God says we are to
Ask, and it will be given to you;
Seek, and you will find;
Knock, and it will be opened to you.
Read this plain language from the Bible and let it seep into your mind, heart, soul and spirit:
Everyone who asks receives, and
He who seeks finds, and
To him who knocks it will be opened.
Your Father who is in heaven gives what is good to those who ask Him!"
6. God says we are to
Abide in Him, and
His words are to abide in you,
Then, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Consider carefully the word ABIDE. This is the only way.
Then, and only then, we may ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for you.
We must remember that these 7 Truths of prayers are not 'individual Truths'. These 7 Truths are connected to one another; they are interrelated. Each must be observed as each is dependent upon the others.
And the motives or our prayers must be that
Our Father is glorified by this,
that you bear much fruit, and
prove to be My disciples.
And this is the power of the Gospel:
The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
One last story: We were attending a new members class at a Church we were considering joining. The pastor of this church was teaching this class.
This particular module of the class was about prayer and spiritual gifts. At the conclusion of this class the pastor emphatically (and sarcastically) said, "So, if you have the gift of prayer that raises people from the dead or heals people, you don't need to join our church. You should just go to the local hospital and empty it out!"
We moved on.
Friends, I am not a Christian because of what I can get or what I can do.
I am a Christian because I am a sinner and I needed forgiveness and because I love and need Jesus. Then I discovered there is much more to this Christian life and walk with God than I could have ever imagined.
Let's do it all!!
Your Brother and Friend,