Prayer, Truth for Today

232 – A Pattern for Your Prayers

Comments Off on 232 – A Pattern for Your Prayers 10 January 2013

People often ask me how do I pray. I think they are asking more about logistics than about spiritual preparation. Have you noticed how undisciplined and sloppy your prayers sometimes are? We begin with great intent to be completely focused on God and away from the world and its distractions. But, we leave the path and wander off in our minds to other things that demand our attention. How can you improve your prayers? Here are a few hints you might like to consider.

Your prayers should be short.“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need” (Matt. 7:7 The Message). Jesus often answered the prayers of those who spoke directly and petitioned briefly for His blessing. When you start a petition and then wander off and digress from the real need it indicates that you don’t know what your real need is. If not, how can you know when the need is met. Be direct! Keep it short and simple! Peter, when drowning, said, “Save me, Lord!” (Matt. 14:30 CEV). He used only three words in that extreme circumstance. “Save me, Lord!” You can’t be any more brief than that. It was short but successful.

Your prayers should be specific. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God” (Matt. 6:7 The Message). God is not impressed with all of that. He wants us to be specific. Sometimes a lot of words say very little. Or, a few words say a lot. Don’t ask, “God bless our home.” What about your home do you want to be blessed? Don’t pray, “God bless the sick.” Who is sick and what are they sick from that you want Him to bless? You pray specifically so you will know what to thank Him for when the answers come.

Your prayers should be steady. “‘yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming’” (Lk. 18:5 HCSB). This widow was persistent. Persistence pays off. It shows you that you are serious about your requests. Sometimes God is drawing us closer to Himself when we pray repeatedly before He answers. God may answer: “no, yes, or wait.” In either case, we have to stick with it to show we are serious about it.

Your prayers should come from spirits that are forgiving. “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12 HCSB). What if God took that request seriously? He does! That is why we have a feeling of unforgiveness at times because we have not forgiven others as we should. This is one that is a no brainer. God expects us to forgive in order to be forgiven. Peter was told to offer unlimited forgiveness. Paul said, “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32 The Message).

Your prayers should be sensitive to what your response is to be. God often answers prayers with marching orders. He gives us things to do in order to receive the answer He wants to give us. To the blind man Jesus answered, “and said, ‘Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam’ (Siloam means ‘Sent’). The man went and washed—and saw.” (Jn. 9:7 The Message). He asked the man to do his part for his answer to become real. A man once asked me how much does it take to build a building like that. I replied, faith and 4 million dollars. Our faith must be followed by our actions.

Your prayers should be sure of being answered. “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6 The Message). If we are not sure of the answer, there will be no answer. God expects us to believe it to see it. It is useless to pray a prayer that you do not expect to be answered. We believe so we can receive.

Use a pattern like this and watch the effectiveness of your prayer life increase.

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