What if you could have a conversation with the living God? You can! It's called prayer.
Last week we learned that Jesus was a man of prayer who prayed all the time. This should impress upon us how important prayer is! We should follow His example and pray without ceasing.
1. Prayer is God’s created method of two-way communication between our spirit and a God who is a Spirit. Jeremiah 33:3
As you spend time in prayer with the Lord, you need to spend time listening, not just talking. God’s voice sounds like your conscience or a whisper in your heart.
God says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
When you pray, you communicate to God and He communicates to you. His communication is profound, great and mighty. As you spend time in prayer with the Lord, you need to spend time listening, not just talking. God’s voice sounds like your conscience or a whisper in your heart.
2. Prayer is done with God, not to God. Jeremiah 33:3
Many times, people pray to God, just talking at Him without ceasing. God is asking, “Can I talk now?”
Sometimes in prayer, we may ask for things that are not in God’s will for us. Maybe those things will bring us pain, lead us down a wrong path, or will bring sorrow or damage to our lives or the lives of others. (Can you think of a relationship that wasn’t right for you, yet you pursued it anyway? How could things have been different if the relationship was avoided all together?) Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and to reveal God’s will for your life, that your heart can be in alignment with God’s.
3. Prayer is finding out what God wants to do and asking Him to do it. John 5:19-20
When you pray, you can be God’s instrument for His will to be done on earth. Remember, if you pray for someone to be healed, it’s God that does the healing, not you, and yet He allows you to participate in the process of His will being done.
Pray without ceasing, that your decisions and even your desires will be directed by God. Ask Him, “Lord, should I say that? Go there? Do that?”
4. Prayer is assisted by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:2
Be aware that when you pray, you pray along with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit prays on your behalf according to the will of God, as He knows God’s mind and will for your life.
5. We are commanded and encouraged to pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
6. Prayer doesn’t change God’s purposes, but His actions. James 4:3
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.James 4:3
Prayer that is aligned with God’s will is always best. Sometimes God’s answer to us is “no” because He knows things we don’t know and He has a plan for us.
We experience disappointment and bitterness when we don’t get our way, but isn’t it silly to argue with an all-knowing, loving God about what we should have? The fewer requirements we put on God, the more pleased we will be with the actual outcome.
We must remember that we are not on the same level with God. Sometimes we will not know all the details, but God asks us to trust Him and be obedient. The more we trust Him and decide to have acceptance for His will, the more joy we can experience.
7. Prayer responses make prayer real. John 10:37, John 11:40-42
The thing that makes prayer real and powerful is God’s response to prayer. When God responds, He does amazing things.
Jesus said in John 10:37, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me.”
He tells us that God’s hands are at work and His actions give Him credit. Therefore, we should pray with the expectation that God is there and is going to answer us in some way.
8. We must pray with expectation of answers that are consistent with what we are told to pray for. John 14:12-14
You have opportunity to have an amazing prayer life by agreeing with the Holy Spirit and Jesus, giving glory to the Father, praying in accordance to God’s will, listening for the great and mighty things God wants to show you. This is so much more powerful than simply praying that God would bless your meal or saying a quick prayer before you fall asleep at night.
Your challenge today is to pray with all your heart that you would be in the center of God’s will. Spend 15 minutes listening for His voice. Practice walking with Him and commit to getting better at prayer and seeing what God is doing all around you.
If you need a guide for your prayer this week, you can use Pastor Miles’ acronym AWCIPA. These are five categories of prayer. It’s not a formula or a magic way that one must pray, but rather a guide to focused and powerful prayer. Imagine if you prayed each letter for 5 minutes – that would be 30 minutes of prayer! Regardless of how long you spend on each letter, take your time and listen to God’s voice.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Matthew 6:9
A: Admiration and Praise; or Appreciate with praise.
Give honor to the King of the Kingdom. Psalm 9:1
Lord, I praise You for _____.
I thank you for _____.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it in heaven. Matthew 6:10
W: Ask for Thy Will to be done.
Pray to know the Kingdom agenda. Matthew 26
Lord may thy Will be done in _____ (my relationships, career, health...)
Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11
C: Pray for Communion with God.
Pray for Kingdom food. Psalm 51:10-11 Psalm 16:11
Dear God, please bless me with your presence and the spiritual _____ (strength, wisdom, vision, faith) to faithfully obey you today.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, Matthew 6:12
I: Intercede for other people.
Pray to have Kingdom of God relationships. Matthew 5:44
God, please cleanse my heart of _____. Lord, please cleanse my heart of bitterness, anger, jealousy toward _____.
Lord please draw _____ (friends and enemies) close to you.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. Matthew6:13a
P: Petition for power.
Pray to exercise Kingdom of God power. Ephesians 6:10-13, 1 Corinthians 10:13
Lord please grant me the power and authority to _____ (overcome sin or temptation, heal someone, exercise courage and faith).
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:13b
A: Admiration and Praise; or Appreciate with praise.
Pray for the eternal glory of the King. Psalm 119:164
Lord, I praise and give You glory for _____.