Prayer is a way God provided for Christians to come into his presence. Prayer is the way Christians come to receive what they need from God.
Through prayer, Christians receive 3 things from God.
- Needed guidance
- Strength for their lives
Christians who want God to hear their prayers must worship him. Also, all Christians will benefit and be more effective when they set aside dedicated time each day to pray and read the Bible. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to be able to pray effectively. We must follow carefully the instructions of God’s word.
Jesus said: “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted” (John 15:7). The Message bible explains it like this; if you make yourselves at home with Jesus and His words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
Worship as part of prayer
Worship is one of the activities that really influences us as believers in a deep way simply because of the effect His presence has on us. Praising God in faith, gives us more of God. He is faithful. Psalm 100:4 says that worship and praise is the way we should enter into the presence of God.
If you start a meeting praising God, you’re more in tune with God, more easily led by the Holy Spirit. The need to be right, self-centeredness, hardness is changed… It does something with us when we open up to God and His Spirit through worship.
Worship in spirit and truth
Jesus said that “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
Worshipping or praying in spirit means being alive by the new birth and inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is fervent, not mechanically learnt by heart. There is a freedom to pray or worship both in tongues and our own language.
Worship and prayer should also be in truth. It means being honest and truthful, being real and genuine, and praying in humble openness. It is when we say what we mean and are what we say. In addition spiritual power are added to the worship and it opens the way to the kind of prayer and worship that our Father wants.
In Proverbs 15:8 we read that the Lord delights in the genuine prayers of the upright.
Pray and keep on praying, search and keep on searching, knock and keep on knocking - and it will be given to us...Matthew 7:7-8
God wants us to pray
It is His will for us to pray. When we pray, He will answer us. But He is waiting for us to open that door through praying and asking. Our God is a good Father who longs to give His children good gifts (Matthew 7:11). We pray in the name of Jesus, and it is as if He’s standing next to us and signing off on our prayer. This of course applies to us praying according to His word and His will.
Through the name of Jesus, we have direct access to the Father in prayer. We don’t need any other mediary than Jesus. In fact, Jesus tells us specifically to pray to the Father, not to angels, not to holy people, not to Mary.
How to pray
In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus tells us to pray and keep on praying, search and keep on searching, knock and keep on knocking – and it will be given to us. God wants us to pray to Him.
The verses in Matthew 7 shows us something about having a habit, praying regularly. It is also a good idea to have a special place to pray where you can be alone if possible. For some it might be best to walk and pray, for others to sit down in a corner of the house and pray.
In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus talks about how not to pray. He tells us not to show off or try to impress others. This is what the pharisees did, by using a lot of words. He also says not to mechanically recite, which is what a lot of false religions did at the time – and still today. Instead, engage your heart, and communicate with God your heavenly Father.
We are not saying you should never recite prayers. The prayers written in the Bible is a great way to start praying. You can for example use the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), or some of Paul’s prayers (Ephesians 1:17-19, Ephesians 3:14-21), but don’t do it mechanically – engage your heart. Mean what you say and say what you mean.
The important part when you pray is to concentrate on God the Father. Concentrate on heavenly things (Colossians 3:1-2, Philippians 4:8). Practice helps to keep your thoughts focused, and not to look at the dust or think about plans for later…
Praying in tongues
Paul talks about praying in the Spirit, and praying in tongues: Rom 8:26-27: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Basically, when praying in tongues, the Holy Spirit which dwells within us, prays what we are unable to grasp with our minds, and when praying in tongues you can be sure you are always praying according to the will of God.
The apostle Jude tells us that we build ourselves up on our faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, by praying in tongues (Jude 1:20). If you have the gift of tongues, use it as much as you can, and build yourself up.
So what kind of prayer produces great results? James 5:16 says: “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.” So confess your sins/faults/mistakes to fellow believers and pray for each other so that you may be healed and restored. The earnest, heartfelt, continued prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results – and remember that as a believer you have been made righteous in Jesus Christ!