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WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is the human act of speaking to God. We might say that followers of all sorts of religions “pray.” But if prayer is to be a true prayer it must be addressed to the true God and by a believer in the true God. The true God is the one God in three eternal, almighty persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, who reveals himself in the Bible. A person believes in the true God by believing that God the Son was born the sinless human being Jesus Christ, the one Savior from sin.
WHY DOES GOD HEAR ONLY THE PRAYER OF A BELIEVER IN JESUS?
It is not because the believer in Jesus is less sinful or holier than the unbeliever. Not one of us sinners deserves to be heard by a holy God. (He is perfect; we are corrupt.) By faith in Jesus the believer receives the forgiveness of sins through the cross of Jesus, where he offered up his life as payment for the sins of the world. Through faith, the believer becomes a forgiven child of God. Therefore, when the believer in Jesus prays, God the Father will answer. Jesus says, “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:23, 24).
WHAT SHOULD I PRAY FOR?
The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus taught his disciples, highlights the types of things which believers should pray for: “Our Father, who art in heaven,”
- Hallowed be thy name (I Peter 1:15,16)
- Thy kingdom come (Mark 1:14)
- Thy will be done (Luke 22:42)
- Give us our daily bread (Matt 6:25-34)
- Forgive us our trespasses (Matthew 9:1,2)
- Lead us not into temptation (James 1:12-15)
- Deliver us from evil (Ephesians 6:10-18)
DO I ALWAYS GET WHAT I PRAY FOR?
Believers in Jesus pray for God’s will to be done to benefit their lives and their neighbor’s. Yet no one knows exactly what is beneficial in every circumstance. For instance, have you ever prayed for someone who was ill, that God would grant them full recovery, but he, in his wisdom, did not heal? God will always lead us down the more difficult road if it is the best road for our spiritual and eternal good. In his word he directs us to trust this. “All things work for the good of those who love God and have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Sometimes God answers our prayers by giving us something better than we ask for. The Bible says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine according to his power which is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
WHY SHOULD I PRAY IF GOD ALREADY KNOWS ALL THINGS?
Certainly God does not need our prayers. But we need them! This is why God commands us to pray to him by faith. Prayer is worship. When we pray we are humbly confessing our total dependence on God for everything. Prayer also focuses us on how and when God meets our needs. Therefore, the Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).