This week, Pastor Miles continues his message series about prayer, entitled "Bubbles." Last week we learned about how prayer works and what it does. This week we will learn how to pray.
Prayer is way for us to communicate with God. He wants to answer our prayers, but that doesn't mean we are going to get what we request. Like a father who gives his child a piece of fruit when she asked for candy, our Father knows what is best for us. Sometimes our behavior gets in the way of God's blessing as well. Financial blessing may not be given to someone who is still cheating on his taxes. God wants to answer us, but many times we need to answer Him first.
A W C I P A
These six letters are how a model of we should pray to God. Pastor Miles suggested coming to our prayer time ready with a pen and paper so that we can write down what God tells us.
A - Admire and thank God.
I will praise You, o Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. Psalm 9:1
Admiration of God is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. How many times does God make it perfectly clear that we should put nothing before Him? How many times have people died and kingdoms fallen due to the worship of other gods? First we must be thankful for all the gifts that God has given us. Though times can be miserable, there are still reasons to be thankful. For example, you are reading this, which means you have access to the internet and your eyes work. A lot of the population of the world can't claim that.
W - Wait on the Lord.
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14
Waiting is often difficult for us, but God demands it. We have to remember who are Father is and that His timing is perfect. Right now I have a 14-year old daughter who wants to drive, but I know she isn't ready for it. God knows us and He knows when we need wait, learn to be patient, and build our trust in Him.
C - Confess your sin.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. Psalm 103:11
If we are to fear and honor the Lord, we have to confess our sins. If you as a parent saw your child steal a candy bar while shopping, you would have your child confess to the crime in order to learn from the experience. If the child never admits to the wrongdoing, nothing is learned. Punishment may ensue, but later this becomes a building block to establishing trust between the father and the child. We are the same way. God knows our sin, but He desires for us to confess it in order to experience change and trust in Him.
I - Intercede for other people.
You think confessing your sin is hard? Try praying for your enemies. It is not difficult to pray for God to protect our family, help our friends, and the like. But Miles pointed out that we should pray for everyone.
Say you have an ex-boss who lied on your taxes, leaving you with a substantial bill to the IRS. Praying for that person is extremely hard to do, as the situation would usually leave you with feelings of hatred rather than kindness. Yet that is exactly what God asks of us - to pray for our enemies. Just because you pray for someone, that doesn't mean you need to associate with him or trust him. But let's face it, our enemies need prayer, just as our friends and loved ones do!
P - Petition God for yourself.
Finally we arrive at the place where we pray for ourselves. But did you notice all that we had to go through to get here? There is a reason for it. Waiting, confessing and interceding has brought out what is truly important in our lives; now we can be more focused. Pastor Miles encouraged us to pray big! God wants us to do magnificent things so that we can again admire Him, give Him all the credit, and declare to the world how great our God is.
A - Admire and thank God.
Yes, we need to do it again. Doesn't He deserve it? He has created everything beautiful in our lives. He loves us and wants us to love Him in return. Let's thank Him for creating prayer, too, that we can communicate with our wonderful, powerful, holy God.