Illustration: Bill Moyers, who had previously studied for the ministry, worked in Lyndon Johnson’s White House. At one meal, he was asked to say grace. He said it so softly that the boisterous President Johnson said, “Speak up Bill, I can’t hear you.” Moyers replied, “Mr. President, I wasn’t speaking to you.”
If you wanted someone to instruct you in golf or tennis, wouldn’t you choose someone who is good at golf and tennis? The same goes for prayer. If you want a better prayer life, why not go to someone who excelled in the ministry of prayer? Why not go to Jesus? One of the topics Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount was prayer.
In Proverbs 3:5 it says not to lean on your own understanding but to trust God with all your heart.
You should always Trust God with your life, even if it doesn't make any sense to you.
How can we ask God for the needs in our life when we don't completely trust God to answer us when we pray? With God it is not a guessing game, for example we may say something like this, “I wonder if God will grant my prayer or not”. We must trust in our hearts and believe that God will answer our prayers. That is what we call faith.
When we live our lives with prayer on the fringe we are really telling God that we don’t trust Him. Often with our lips we declare trust but with our lives we show that we really don’t believe God will always see us through.
Prayer should be addressed to God not man:
Matthew 6:5-6 (NKJV)
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
A. This is not a condemnation of public prayer, it is when you pray; you shall not be like the hypocrites in verse five. Jesus prayed publicly. The Lord’s Prayer was a public prayer.
B. It does mean that we must always remember who we are addressing. Prayer time is not a time to try to impress people, but to communicate with God.
C. If we talk to be heard by men, they will hear, but God will not.
Prayer is measured by sincerity not multiplication of words:
Matthew 6:7-8 (NKJV)
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
A. It is condemning empty repetition.
B. It is condemning the notion that the best prayers are the longest prayers.
C. This is not a condemnation of persistence.
The reason some prayers fail may be because of lack of persistence. Persistence in prayer is that quality which does not stop praying until it receives an answer.
Difficulties, discouragements, obstacles or doubts that come along the way do not stop this kind of prayer. A persistent prayer is never satisfied until you get an answer.
Most of us quit praying after a few days. Persistence is one thing that God looks for in our prayer life. It is persistence in prayer that makes known to God that we are not stopping asking until we get an answer. It is this quality that makes sure that we keep our eyes focused on receiving the answer to our prayers in spite of all distractions.
Persistence wins the heart of God. It is the lack persistence that may keep many of our prayers unanswered. Persistence in prayer can easily be said to be a kind of law of prayer that has been revealed in the Bible. Persistence in prayer is the touchstone of the intensity of our prayers.
If we are persistent in prayer it is a clear indication before God that we are praying to God in real earnest with regard to our need. Such a kind of prayer, God always loves to honor and answer.
Prayer should follow Jesus’ pattern, not our preferences:
Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
A. Praise should always come first.
1. Respect for God’s names.
2. Commitment to God’s kingdom.
3. Submission to God’s will.
B. Petition is important but should always come second.
1. Petition for the provision of daily needs.
2. Petition for the pardon of past sins.
3. Petition for the promise of future guidance.
Prayer should affect our behavior, not just our mood:
Matthew 6:15 (NKJV)
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
A. Prayer may make us feel better. While that is welcome, it is not all there is
to our prayer life.
B. Prayer will affect the way we relate to other people. (Prayer wanting your attitude towards others)
C. If we have received forgiveness from God, it will be difficult not to extend it to others. Something is seriously wrong if we cannot do this.
While prayer is a natural desire of the human heart, it often seems so unnatural. We should not be afraid to accept instruction. Like the disciples of old we cry out, “Lord, teach us to pray.” He will do that for you. And you will be able to enjoy a lifetime of close communication and fellowship with God.
All of us long to connect with someone who can identify with our circumstances and share in our day-to-day life. Prayer is just that, a personal experience and intimate connection with our Heavenly Father