Prayer

 
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What exactly is prayer?

Praying is a communication from us to God. Just as reading the Bible is one of the ways that God communicates to us, praying is our means of responding back to Him. Prayer will be richer when it is coupled with reading of the Bible and its promises. Prayers are essentially responses to what has been understood from the Bible.

 

Does God actually hear prayers?

The first thing to remember and believe is God’s mercy for us. We can therefore come to Him as we are, not as holy people, but as flawed and sinful people. 

There are many Bible verses that point to us of God’s amazing mercy:

  • “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23). 
  • “I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears” (Psalm 18:6). 
  • “As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:16, 17).

 

Will God forgive our sins?

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We have a faithful God. Believe that He loves you unconditionally (Romans 5:8), His love never stops (Jeremiah 31:3) and His mercy is renewed every single morning (Lamentations 3:22). 

Not only that, but God has promised, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11–13).

 

Is there a right technique for prayer?

Prayer is literally only a breath away. You can walk and pray, or spend some quiet time in prayer. You can pray to God at any time. Some people think prayer is a magic formula that requires eloquent words and right positions, but God will answer our prayer based simply on our sincere attitude to seek Him and also if the request is in line with His will and principles. 

1 John 5:14, 15, says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” So if our request is in line with God’s will, we can be confident He will answer our prayer.

 

Is the Lord’s Prayer the only way we can pray?

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13) is a model for how we can structure our prayer. It is an example of what to include in our prayer: worship, trust in God, requests, confession, submission and thankfulness to Him. We are not expected to memorise and recite it every day.

 

Do I need to say anything specific?

Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13, 14). 

So when we pray, we ought to end our prayer by asking it in Jesus’ name, giving Him the acknowledgement that He is our Mediator between us and the Father, and also bringing glory to who Jesus is. 

Philippians 4:6, 7 tells us we ought to pray without being anxious, but in thankfulness and peace. We can pour out our hearts to our heavenly Father, being honest and open with Him.

 

Does God hear flawed prayers?

Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” This means the Holy Spirit helps us to pray and intercedes for us as well. 

So while you may feel that your prayer life is flawed, ask God to teach you how to pray. Ask Him to guide you. God wants you to know that He is near. The more we read into His words, the more God will guide and inspire on what to ask. Also, if God inspires and convicts, we need to listen and obey. If we continue to disregard what He says to us, our prayers may not be answered. This is not because God doesn’t want to help us, but many times, in order for our prayers to be answered, the very thing that we need to obey is the crucial step for our prayers to be answered.