Prayer to me is like a car engine. I don’t know everything about it, but I know it works. Sure I can point out some parts under the hood and tell you what they do, but I don’t understand fully how they work. I’ve replaced a couple of parts that were easy to do, but for the harder stuff, I go to someone who understands it more fully. They are able to replace anything under the hood and make it run as intended. I take it to them because they know and understand every part of an engine. They also know how to tweak it to get the most out of it.
Every one of us can pray. Every one of us can make it work. We may not understand how it works or what to do to get the most out of it, but we can push the gas and make it go. I know people have broken down “The Lord’s Prayer” and taught me how to pray that way. I’ve been given methods like “ACTS” (Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness, Supplication) to give structure to my prayers. I’ve been shown how to pray intensely so that my prayers have more power. There are so many things we can learn about prayer, but most of us leave the hood closed.
If you’re going to pray more effectively, you’re going to have to spend some time under the hood tinkering. Powerful, effective prayers come out of spending time with the one we’re talking to. They come from intimately knowing the One to whom we pray. They come from understanding what His will is and what His Word says. The more we know what His Word says, the more we pray in accordance with it. The more we pray in accordance with it, the more He answers. The more He answers, the more faith and confident we get. The more faith and confident we get, the more effective our prayers become. James 5:16 says, “For tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!” (TPT)
Don’t be afraid to look under the hood of prayer. Learn what you can. Take time tweaking this and that to make it comfortable for you. Understand there are different types and ways to pray. Your prayers get an audience with the One who created everything you see. It’s worth investing time and energy to make them as effective as possible. Hang around others who get their prayers answered. Learn from them how to pray. Each one of us have room for growth in our prayers. To get better, we just have to open the hood
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I was in need of prayer recently, and a friend came to visit me. We talked about everything going on and caught up on a few things. Before he left, he asked, “Do you mind if I pray for you before I leave?” I nodded. He then said, “My prayers aren’t that eloquent though.” I replied, “God listens more to our heart than our words.” After we prayed and he left, I began to think about that. How many of us hold back on prayers because we think it’s the eloquence of our prayers that cause God to reply?
God is not like us. He is not impressed by our mastery of language. He isn’t moved by flowery speech. He looks into our heart and sees our intent. We’ve grown so accustomed to having please and impress others that we think we have to do it with God. Religiosity is the art of impressing others while making a show of our faith. God doesn’t respond to that because He doesn’t like it.
In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus said, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (NLT) God knew I was in need of prayer. He didn’t need an eloquent prayer that explained what was going on and what I needed. What He needed was our faith to trust Him with the problem.
Prayer is not about saying the right words the right way. It’s about trusting God with the things we can’t handle. My son often wants things and hints at it, but I always say, “Use your words.” I think our Father in Heaven does the same. He knows we need it, but He’s teaching us to communicate with Him through prayer. Your communication skills don’t have to be excellent either. Your heart is what matters. Initiate the conversation with Him and open up your heart. Those are the most eloquent prayers He ever heard.
I believe that there are several habits we as Christians can adopt in our lives to become the type of believer we truly aspire to be. While Hebrews 11 has compiled a list of heroes of the faith for us, there have been many people who have lived since that time whom we can learn from as well. If I were to ask you to think of a person, past or present, who exemplified a life of faith as a believer, you could probably think of a name quickly. Whether they were written about in the Bible, history, or have just touched your life in some way, they have habits in their life that you and I can adopt into our own lives to become that type of Christian.
Anyone you can think of that has a great relationship with God, has the habit of prayer in their life. Just like any other relationship, it is only successful when you communicate. Communication involves sending and receiving messages. Many Christians are great at sending them to God, but have a hard time receiving them. Either they don’t spend time listening during prayer or they don’t take time to read His Word. God is speaking to each one of us, we just have to choose to listen.
Listening to God speak is as much an act of faith as anything. If we hear it enough times, we will learn to recognize when it is God speaking and when it is our mind. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep recognize my voice” (MSG). The only way to recognize someone’s voice is to hear it several times. God expects us to daily hear what He’s trying to say to us as individuals and then to apply it to our lives. He’s giving the answers to what we are asking in prayer. If we don’t hear those answers, we aren’t listening.
One way you can know if it’s God speaking to you is that what He says will never go against what the Bible says. He is true to His Word. He doesn’t make exceptions. It’s very important to know the Bible if you’re learning to listen to God’s voice. That is the measuring stick to know if you are hearing Him. I peter 1:25 tells us that the word of the Lord will last forever. It will not be replaced. It will not be changed.
If you truly want to grow in your relationship with God, you’re going to have to spend quality time in prayer each day. Colossians 4:2 says, “Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving” (AMP). Great Christians know that the health of their relationship with God lies in their prayer life. If you want to be a better Christian, start spending more time on your knees.
I recognize that you are the King of Kings and The Lord of Lords. You are the creator of a universe so vast that we can barely comprehend it. You speak and galaxies come into existence. Your word is powerful and true. It always accomplishes what you want it to. You can see beyond the farthest star and choose to look into our hearts and lives. Jesus said that not even a sparrow falls without you knowing about it. You are deeply concerned with us and our world.
I know you see the turmoil that this world is engulfed in. There’s fighting between countries, terrorist who are killing innocents, Christians who are being persecuted and so many other evil things going on. It’s easy to look at all of that and be fearful. I pray that you would give me peace. Send your Holy Spirit to comfort me and to remind me of what you have said. You will not leave me or forsake me. You will not leave me abandoned even though the world appears to be falling apart.
I pray that you would help me to see others who are concerned about everything so I can remind them that you are in control. Help me to be an encourager to them. Give me words to speak so that they will have your peace as well. Use me today in someone’s life. Let me speak life into them. Give me words of hope. I don’t want to say anything that isn’t from you, so guide and direct my speech. I yield myself to you and your plan. I know that it is far better than the plan I have.
Thank you for all you’ve done for me. Thank you that you have always provided in my moment of need. I can’t think of a time when you didn’t come through just in time. You have been faithful to me even when I’ve been unfaithful to you. You’ve loved me when I haven’t shown you love. What you give me isn’t conditional on what I do. You freely give all you have because I’m your child. You are an amazing father who cares for me. I don’t say thank you enough for the consistency of your blessings. With all I have in me, I say, “Thank you!”
Watch over me today and protect me. Put people in my path that you want me to be a blessing to. Open my ears to hear your voice and give me the courage to do all that you ask of me. I want to walk by faith and not sight and that takes courage. I’ll step out in faith today if you ask me to. I’ll speak your words to someone in need if you prompt me to. I’ll be your hands and feet to whoever you ask me to because of all you’ve done for me. I love you and praise you.
In Jesus name,
I want to say, “Thank you,” because you’ve given me another day to walk this earth. It’s not something I take lightly or for granted. Because of what you set in motion so long ago, the sun came up this morning. Sometimes it reminds me that I have so much to do. Sometimes it reminds me of the problems I have to face. Sometimes it’s an unwelcome light because the night was too short. Each time it rises though, it reminds me that you are in control of everything that goes on in my life and in this world.
I know that because you live in me, there is nothing I will face today or any day that is stronger than me. There is nothing that is able to defeat me because you are greater than anything that will ever come against me. Sometimes I lose sight of that and start to feel defeated. Sometimes I think that the whole world is crashing down and it will take me down with it. In those times, I ask that you would remind me of your promise to never leave me nor forsake me. Remind me of who I am in you. Remind me that I am more than a conqueror through you.
When I think of the story of my life, I think of all the ups and downs, the good times and the bad times. Through it all, you have constantly been by my side. At times I couldn’t see your hand at work. All I could see were the problems that had me closed in on every side. Looking back, I can see your hand on me even in the darkest of nights. I can see that you were developing me and pushing me to grow closer to you. Like a seed under ground struggling to break through the dark, dirty soil trying to get to the light, you were using the dark times to strengthen me and to push me toward your light.
I have always grown the most when I couldn’t see the light. It was hope that helped me push through the hard places. At times it seemed like I would never come out of the darkness, but you were there with me, encouraging me, pushing me and calling me into your marvelous light. You weren’t content to leave me as a seed sown in soil laying dormant. Your plan for my life is to use the dark places to grow my roots in you. To make me stronger once I reach the light. To have me firmly planted so that when the winds of life blow and the rain beats down on me, I’ll look back, remember what you’ve done in my past and my roots will hold strong.
I don’t know what the future of my story looks like, but with each sunrise, you give me one more day to live it out. You give me one more chance to trust you, to open up and share your beauty. Keep writing my story as you always have. Keep giving me opportunities to grow and to trust in you more. Let the water of your word feed me and strengthen my roots. Let your face shine on me and draw me closer to you. Let the story of my life show that you are a faithful God who never abandons His children and calls them out of darkness into light. I love you with everything in me.
Thank you for all you have done and are going to do in this story.
In Jesus’ name,