“To be humble is to have a low estimate of one’s self. It is to be modest, lowly, with a disposition to seek obscurity. Humility retires itself from the public gaze. It does not seek publicity nor hunt for high places, neither does it care for prominence. Humility is retiring in its nature. Self-abasement belongs to humility. It is given to self-depreciation. It never exalts itself in the eyes of others nor even in the eyes of itself. Modesty is one of its most prominent characteristics.” (E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer)
“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).
You want to have the joy of answered prayer?
No one wants to invest the time to talk to God who may not be listening to begin with. We want our prayers to be heard and answered. With that in mind, there are certain types of prayers to avoid. In other words, these prayers will NOT be heard by God.
- f you want your prayers answered, offer them in Jesus’ name (John 16:23-24). To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray for the things He would pray for and on His authority. Because we’ve been given access to the Father because of the cross, we come boldly before His throne (Hebrews 4:14-16). To pray in Jesus’ name is not about words but about motives.
- If you want your prayers answered, make sure God will be glorified by what you are asking (James 4:2-3). Praying that God would give you that new car isn’t as certain may not be what God wants for you; it may not please Him. But praying that God would give you an attitude of contentment is always a desire that God has for us (Philippians 4:11).
- If you want your prayers answered, do not cherish sin in your heart (Psalm 66:18). God will not hear the prayer of one living in sin; it will be as if our prayers are meaningless. This is one of the reasons Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount that we are not to approach His altar if we have a sin between us and our brother (Matthew 5:23-24).
- If you want your prayers answered, be forgiving (Mark 11:25). Don’t be in the habit of harboring grudges or allowing bitterness towards another to reside in your heart. If Christ has forgiven you and will hear your prayers, don’t assume you can hold back forgiveness on another and be heard.
- If you want your prayers answered, have faith that God can do whatever you ask of Him (Matthew 21:22). Shame on us if we think, “I wonder if God is able to do what I am about to ask.” This is the omnipotent, Creator of the universe who tells lightning bolts where to go and whales how to sing and birds how to fly.
- If you want your prayers answered, do not refuse to help the helpless (Proverbs 21:13). Solomon tells us if we refuse to help those in need when they cry out to us, God will refuse to help us in our needs when we cry out to him.
Pray that God’s kingdom will be extended beyond what it currently is (Matt 6:10).
Pray that God would meet our daily needs (Matt 6:11).
Pray for God’s forgiveness of sins (Matt 6:12).
Pray that you would resist temptation (Matt 6:13; 26:41).
Pray that God would send people to evangelize others (Matt 9:38; Rom 15:30-31).
Pray that God would increase your faith (Mark 9:24; Luke 22:32).
Pray that God would deliver those who are being tormented by demons (Mark 9:29).
Pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you (Luke 11:13).
Pray that God will vindicate those who have been persecuted (Luke 18:7).
Pray for unity among the church (John 18:20-21).
Pray for boldness to proclaim the Gospel (Acts 4:29; Eph 6:18-19).
Pray that God would raise up leaders in the church (Acts 14:23).
Pray that the Gospel will reach people (Rom 10:1; II Thess 3:1).
Pray for hope (Eph 1:16-18).
Pray that you might know the love of our Lord in a deeper way (Eph 3:14-15).
Pray that the Word will penetrate the hearts of men (Eph 6:17-18).
Pray for discernment (Phil 1:9-10).
Pray to know God’s will (Col 1:10).
Pray that God will help you produce fruit (Col 1:10).
Pray that God will help you be more enduring (Col 1:11).
Pray that those who lack something spiritually would be encouraged (I Thess 3:10).
Pray that God will help you validate your faith (II Thess 1:11).
Pray for wisdom (Jas 1:5).
Pray that God would heal those who are sick (Jas 5:14-15).
God is sovereign. God knows everything. God has planned and ordained all things to occur. And He does whatever He wants (Ps 139:4; Isa 46:9-11; Matt 6:8; I John 3:20). He is infinite in His knowledge. He knows all things perfectly that have occurred or will occur. He knows every possible outcome. He knows the future. He never learns or forgets. He is perfectly omniscient. There is nothing that will ever happen that He doesn’t already know about or planned in history.
Here are some reasons why we pray to a sovereign God.
#1 – God commands us to pray (Mat 6:9-13; Luke 5; Col 4:2; I Thess 4:6; 5:17). If prayer were so meaningless or pointless, why would God command us to do it? God doesn’t give us frivolous or worthless commands with no point. He commands us to do things because they are vital to our Christian growth and glorify Himself. God doesn’t command us to do things that don’t benefit us and glorify Himself.
#2 – Jesus, the Son of God, prayed (Mark 1:34-35; Luke 5:16). Consider this. This is Jesus who is equal to the Father. Jesus has divine power to create the world, heal diseases, walk on water, multiply bread and fish, turn water into wine, and read the hearts and minds of people around Him, and yet He knew He had to pray. He knew that prayer was not just an escape for Him but a special time of communion with the Father and a necessity for His life and following the Father’s will. He needed prayer to rejuvenate. He knew He was powerless without it (Luke 3:21; 6:12; 9:28; 11:1; 22:41).
#3 – God will respond to prayer (Exod 32:9-14; Ps 62:2; Dan 10:12; Luke 11:9-10; Jas 4:2; 5:16). God attends to prayer and He answers every prayer. You want a reason to pray? He is sovereign and able to respond.
#4 – Prayer helps accomplish God’s will (John 16:23; I John 5:14). God is all-powerful and can do whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases to whomever He pleases. And yet, He allows men and women to co-operate in the execution of His will. He uses us to accomplish His will in the preaching of the Gospel and in prayer.
#5 – God expects us to pray (Matt 6:5-8). God assumes a genuine child of God will pray. He says “when” you pray … do it in this manner. Despite the fact that He know what we are going to pray even before we do, He still expect it from us.
#6 – Prayer will change the one who is praying (II Kings 20; II Cor 12:7-9). Prayer does change God; it changes us. If you have never seen yourself change in this way, than it is quite possible you don’t pray nearly enough.
#7 – Knowing the eventual outcome didn’t stop some from praying in the Bible (Dan 9:1-19; John 17:11). There is never a good reason to not bring something before the Lord, even if the outcome is certain.
#8 – Prayer glorifies God (John 14:13). Prayer is an act of worship, because we are acknowledging our dependence upon God. We confirm His providence and sovereignty and this brings Him glory. If there is one thing God longs for with His children, it is intimate communion. Do you know how that communion begins? Through prayer.
God’s sovereignty and our responsibility to pray are not enemies or points of tension. There is no point to trying to reconcile these friends. They work together and are not uneasy neighbors.
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“To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect–to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but not to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly; to feel that if he does not come, we will acquiesce, and yet to refuse to let the mind acquiesce in the feeling that he will not come.”
Andrew B. Davidson, Waiting on God