Most of us have heard the story of Daniel and how he was thrown into the lion’s den because he refused to honor King Darius’ decree. This law said that no one could bow down to any other god except for him for thirty days. Daniel, of course, was devoted to God because he knew Him, and he was not afraid of what the king would do if he disobeyed this ruling. Continue reading
The people of America are being stirred and riled into complete chaos because of the presidential election. Never before has the competition created such hostility and division amongst the people. Candidate followers have always debated their points of interest, but never have they become blind followers of hatred and animosity as they are today. Never before has there been such a need to find God’s peace. Continue reading
Many Christians don’t know how to pray. They lack the incentive that turns their prayers into a powerful statement of faith, and sadly many of their prayers go unanswered. But for those Christians who know how to pray, we can say with total certainty, “PRAYER WORKS!”
So, what makes prayer work for some Christians and not for others? Simply, it’s our lack of faith in God. Many of us come to God in prayer with a hope that He’ll hear us and with a hope that He’ll answer. We really don’t know for certain that He will hear us, that He will answer us or that He even can help us.
We tend to analyze circumstances according to our own standards and our own abilities. The amount of money we need is too great and impossible for us to attain, and we’ve thought of every possible answer and there is none, so how can God really help us? The doctor’s report is filled with facts and they say there is no hope for recovery, so how can God change that?
Earthly facts are for earthy problems and earthly answers, and are confined to the realms of the laws of this world. But we are not under the laws of this world because in Galatians 4:4-6 it says, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”
And Galatians 5:18 says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
We need to come to God with our whole heart and with the innocence of a little child and cry out to Him with our problems and expect Him to answer with something that is not limited to this world. We can do this when we have faith in God and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He not only hears us, but that He will answer us and do the thing that we desire.
How do we get faith in God? We need to read our Bibles and learn who God is, who Jesus is and who we are in Christ. Every time we read our Bible, we need to pray and ask that the Holy Spirit will reveal His truth to us because there is absolutely no way that we can read with Spiritual understanding unless God reveals it to us.
We learn in 1 Corinthians 2:10 that God teaches us His Word through the Holy Spirit: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:13 says, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
We also know that Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:17 that only the Spirit of God had revealed the truth of Jesus to him, and we know that only His Spirit can and will reveal God’s truth to us today.
How do we know what to pray for? What will God react to? We know that if we pray for things that are wrong that God won’t answer, such as praying to win a million dollars so that we’ll never have to work but instead live out our lives on the beach. How do we know what are the right things to pray for?
We learn everything that we need to know from reading the Bible. God covers everything in there and He is clear about what He wants for us. We know that He wants us to work so we can provide for our families and so we know that He wants us to have the things we need to do this such as clothing, a vehicle and food.
God has promised in Philippians 4:19 that He will, “…supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” So the more we know God, the more we praise Him and the closer we get to Him and the more faith we have in His Word and the more confident we become that He will supply all of our needs.
How do we know that God will answer our prayers? As we get to know God better, we begin to understand His Word and the love that He has for us. Our faith in Him grows and we develop a confidence and a trust in Him. We begin to realize that He WILL hear our prayers and that He WILL answer them and that He WILL be with us and guide us through our trials.
Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
We get to the point where praying is no longer a ritual that we do on our knees with our hands together, but rather, it’s a heartfelt conversation with our Heavenly Father who is listening and preparing a solution for us even as we speak. We feel the very presence of God when we pray and we know that He is concerned about us and is already on the scene.
And so we can come to the Lord in prayer with a hope and a confidence that He will answer us. When we believe God and His Word, then we become mature Christians who know how to pray and what to expect.
Mark 11:23 says, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
When we pray, we not only draw close to the Lord, but we begin to see things through His eyes and we begin to react with His understanding and we love others with His passion.
“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.” … James 5:16
Prayer request: Please join me in prayer for Carman Licciardello, a man who has dedicated his life to preaching the gospel of Jesus to our youth, but who has been afflicted with a deadly cancer and is currently undergoing horrific episodes of chemotherapy. Let’s pray and believe together that God will continue to keep His hand upon Carman and heal him completely. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” And we know that where God is, sin and sickness must go. Praise the Lord!
When we’re hurting inside and we can’t deal with the things that have come upon us, sometimes out of frustration we’ll shout out or speak words that are hurting and harmful. The sorrow within us takes over our own censors and we say things we wouldn’t normally say.
The tension and animosity that could stem from these trying times can be prevented when we can separate ourselves from the situation and turn to Jesus.
When We’re Hurting…
“I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.” … Psalm 38:8.
We’re told in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our care upon Him because He cares for us. When we’re hurting we need to find ourselves a quiet, private place like a closet or a bathroom if we have to, so that we can honestly get alone with Jesus and talk to Him. We need to tell Him what we’re feeling and we need to seek after HIS peace.
Why? He’s omnipotent, so doesn’t He know what we’re going through? Yes, Jesus knows what we’re going through; in fact, He knew what we’d go through before it happened. But He wants us to WANT to talk to Him about it.
“Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.” … Psalm 27:9
He won’t just invade our privacy and snap His fingers and say, “I’m here, let’s talk.” He will wait for us to invite Him to talk – “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” … Psalm 34:18.
And then He’ll stay with us and never leave us. – “…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” … Hebrews 13:5.
When We’re Trying to Comfort Someone Who is Hurting…
We need to always focus on the love of Jesus, and when hurtful words are spoken by someone who is beside themselves with grief or pain, we need to just let it pass and NOT take it seriously. If we do, then we just add more unhappiness to a situation that’s already filled with grief and sorrow, and that can be quickly turned into one that’s led by hostility and anger.
Jesus tells us to pray for each other and help each other get through the hard times. Whether we’re praying for healing physically or emotionally, we need to lift each other up to Jesus and pray for HIS intervention, for HIS peace, for HIS healing.
We aren’t told to be judges and get angry or condemn another person because they say something hurtful or cruel when they are hurting with a grief that is literally tearing their heart out. We need to be compassionate and help them through their sorrows by showing them the love of Jesus.
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” … Ephesians 5:2
If God judged us for every word that came out of OUR mouth when we were hurting, we would be in a very bad situation and our future might not be as bright as we think. But God judges our heart and He knows what we’re going through, so if HE can let the cruel words pass, then we should let them pass, as well.
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” … 1 Timothy 6:11
The only way to get through these horrendous times of grief and sorrow is to turn to Jesus and let Him take the burden from us and give us His peace in return …. and then we can get past the hurting words.
Many Christians don’t know what prayer really is. To many believers it’s the prescribed speech we convey at church or when the pastor prays for the congregation. To others it’s the formal act of speaking to God while on our knees, and to some it’s a quick request to God to do something to help us when we need something we can’t do ourselves. So, it is a legitimate question to ask; does prayer really work?
We need to learn what prayer is before we can know if it works or not, and we need to know what kinds of prayers God actually listens to – which ones He considers important.
Let’s start at the beginning. Prayer is the means of communication that we have between us and God, and there is no “official” or “preferred” time to pray to please God. He will hear us whenever we pray. It’s like a private internet link for each individual Christian to be able to talk to God whenever we want. Every Christian can pray to God regardless of culture, background or financial status, Acts 10:34. We talk to the Lord through prayer, but He doesn’t usually respond by speaking directly to us. He talks to us through His Word.
Before we can pray with any merit, we must believe that God is our Heavenly Father and the Author of our Salvation. We must come to Him in reverence and with respect knowing that He is the Creator of the universe and the Judge of the nations, and that through His Son, Jesus, we have been redeemed back to Him – making our relationship with Him a personal one. And we must realize that because it’s personal, God always listens to what we have to say.
So why don’t all of our prayers get answered if He always listens? God is Omnipotent, the same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change a thing to be with us; we have to change our ways to be like Him. It’s us who sinned and broke the original bond between God and us, and so it’s us who have to repent, accept Jesus as our Saviour, and then make the changes to meet God’s standards. We do this through the Holy Spirit who Jesus gave to us, and through His Spirit we are able to communicate with God in prayer.
What Prayer Is Not
Prayer is NOT a public display to impress people, and there are times we’ve all heard and seen this in church. Matthew 6:5 says, “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
Prayer is NOT an obligation we fulfill such as a public prayer at church or a request in a prayer group, yet we have no heart or confidence in it. Mark 7:6 says, “He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me’”.
Prayer is NOT a ritual performed as an act of obedience. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”…Matthew 23:27
Prayer is NOT an organized set of words that draws people into a church through their own lusts or desires. Matthew 23:14 says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.”
Prayer is NOT a prefabricated set of words; it’s not a formal repetition that we pray to God about specific issues, as some religions contend. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” … Matthew 6:7
How to Pray
God is a living being, our Heavenly Father. We can only talk to Him when we pray from our heart – as in a child to a father. The words we speak are our own and they come from the heart – our heart to His. We might use incorrect grammar or the wrong words, but God hears our heart and our intent, and He doesn’t sit with a pencil ready to correct us.
We need to pray according to His Word and we can only do that if we read and study the Bible. We know we can pray for healing and we know that it’s God’s Will to heal us, as stated in Matthew 10:8. We know that God hears the prayers of His children, James 5:16, and that God wants us to prosper and be in health, 3 John, 1:2. So we can pray for these things and know that we’re praying according to His Will as stated in 1 John 5:14 because we know His Will, and we know that He hears us when we pray according to His Will.
When we pray and ask God have to have revenge on someone who hurt us He does hear us, but He won’t respond because we’re asking for something contrary to His Will. We don’t have the right to tell God who to judge or who to punish, but we do have the responsibility to pray for them. “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” … Matthew 5:44”.
So, we need to understand God’s Will so that we can pray according to His will. As we grow in the Lord, He will always be there listening to our prayers and encouraging us through His Spirit to read certain passages of the Bible to inspire us. And as we continue we’ll learn why some of our earlier prayers didn’t get answered and what prayers are being answered now.
When to Pray
There is NO designated time that we need to put aside to pray. Some of us prefer to spend the morning with the Lord as we praise Him and thank Him for things, and lift others up to Him for healing and salvation. Others prefer afternoon or night. Since it’s from the heart, God is always ready for us. But all the hours before and after are also open to prayer. It’s wonderful to keep the prayer line open constantly so that we can talk to God throughout the day non-stop. We might see someone in a store or on the street who needs healing and we can quietly lift this person up to God. We might see something beautiful and praise God for His creations. We may see a puppy run into the street and we can pray that God spare it.
Does prayer really work? Yes, it does. When we pray from our heart to the Lord, and when we pray according to His will, and when we believe that what we are praying for will come to pass, as stated in Matthew 21:22, we will see our prayers answered, Matthew 21:22. Sometimes it’s not right away, and sometimes it’s only after coming to the Lord faithfully and fervently, and even then the results may not be what we were expecting. But God sees the big picture and all the circumstances that are involved in our prayer, and He sets things in motion so that we have the perfect answer and not just the one asked for through our limited knowledge.
God loves us and it brings Him great joy when we talk to Him in prayer.
“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.”… James 5:16
Some days it seems as if we have a bag of problems just dropped at our feet and we have to solve them now or else – but with little time, money or resources, and without the insight of where to begin or how far to go.
And then the more we concentrate on them, the more we focus on the negatives and the heavier the burdens become. Pretty soon we’re evaluating our whole life and seeing only the bad things that have come against us and our joy for living gets lost in the cloud of depression. We forget that we are blessed people and that these too shall pass.
Last week I heard of yet another devestating earth quake that claimed thousands of lives and caused many more people to suffer over their lost family members and the destruction of their homes. I watched the news on TV and my heart sank.
We are living in a time when we need to pray for each other, and our spirits need to be free to pray for others. If we really believe that God loves us, cares for us and supplies our needs, then we should cast our cares upon Him and then rest. Why? Because there is so much sorrow in the world – people hurting, and children suffering and dying as a result of climatic stress, and these people REALLY NEED YOUR PRAYERS.
“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” …Psalm 147:3
Our lives are filled with challenges that take our thoughts each day
and what we often forget to do is take the time to pray.
When dawn greets us in the morning we should give thanks to God above
and pray for friends and family that they might know His love,
That He will comfort their broken hearts and give health and life today,
and that we might learn to trust Him more when we take the time to pray.