SAVED PEOPLE NEED TO PRAY
The believer's privilege--
The believer has the great honour and privilege to come before God in prayer. Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ as our high priest, we read in Hebrews 4:15, 16; "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
When and Where to pray--
We can have fellowship with the Lord continuously, and should desire to do so. According to I Thessalonians 5: 17, we are to "Pray without ceasing." David wrote, "Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually" (I Chronicles 16:10, 11). The Lord Jesus taught, "that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1). The disciples gave themselves "continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4).
We are to pray "everywhere" (I Timothy 2:8). We are not to wait until we are in a specific place, but we are to pray every where and in all situations. You don't have to be on your hands and knees to pray, although that is a good position to take. You may pray when you are asked a question, as Nehemiah did while standing before the king (Nehemiah 2:4). You are to pray in secret (Matthew 6:6). If you are the husband, you are to pray as the head of your family (Ephesians 5:23). You are to pray in church in public, as King Solomon did in I Kings 8:22-53; "And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven." our will, as Christ always did. We also are coming to God on the merits of his only begotten Son. We could not come to God in our own name, for "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Finally, when we pray in the name of Jesus Christ we are praying for that which will bring him glory. We are praying because we are living for him and know that we cannot do anything without him (John 15:5).
Subjects of prayer--
There are many things for which to pray: the Second Coming, God's will to be done in our lives, daily food, forgiveness for our sins, guidance in all matters, victory over the world and the flesh and the devil (Matthew 6:9-13); the sick (James 5:13-16); all men, kings, those in authority, the salvation of sinners (I Timothy 2:1-4); the safety of self and others (Daniel 6:18-23); wisdom and understanding (I Kings 3:5-9; James 1:5-8); food, shelter, and clothing (Matthew 6:25-34); a prosperous journey (Romans 1: 10); that all Christians be made perfect in Christ (Colossians 1:28); your enemies (Matthew 5:38-48), and for church leaders (I Timothy 5:17).
Conditions of prayer--
If the believer wants to have an active and productive prayer life, he must meet the conditions God has set forth in his word. We will list them here briefly and suggest that you look up the verses and read them for yourself. The essence of the following conditions is that God will not listen to a hypocrite, so be cautious to meet the following conditions:
1. Ask according to God's will (Romans 8:27; Matthew 26:39; I John 5:14, 15).
2. Make sure that you have forgiven others their trespasses against you (Mark 11:25, 26).
3. Ask in faith [that is ask according to the principles found in God's word] (Mark 11:24; Hebrews 11:6).
4. Make certain that you are walking in obedience to God (I John 3:22) and in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:7; I John 1:7).
5. Pray in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20).
6. Pray in Jesus' name (John 16:24).
Hindrances to prayer--
The hindrances to prayer and the conditions of prayer overlap, because if you are meeting all the conditions you have done away with most of the hindrances. We will list the following as hindrances to prayer:
1. Unbelief [lack of faith] (James 1:6,7).
2.Unforgiving spirit (Mark 11:25).
3. Sin (Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9).
4.Asking with the wrong motive (James 4:3).
Although you may have met all of the conditions and know of nothing that could be hindering your prayers, God may not answer your prayer according to YOUR WILL. Our attitude in prayer should always be like the Lord Jesus Christ when he prayed in the garden, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39). Remember I John 5:14, 15; "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." Just make sure that your request is "according to his will." God's answer may come immediately; it may be delayed for years; or the answer may be, "No!" Don't forget' that God is not your servant, but that you are his servant, and that he has said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). Just take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there, and let God be God!