What is the purpose of prayer? Generally speaking, we pray to communicate directly to God and to strengthen our relationship with Him. God’s Word teaches us why we should pray, when we should pray and to whom we should pray to. It also gives us models for prayer and affirms that believers’ prayers participate in the fulfillment of God’s plans.
Although there is not a checklist for prayer, God’s Word does give us elements, like in Jesus’ prayer, that we can use as guidelines to include in our communication with Him. One guide, or prayer model, can easily be remembered by the first letter of each word: ACTS.
We should praise God because He made all the heavens and all the earth with His outstretched hands. Nothing is too hard for Him! He loves us so much that He sent His Son as a sacrifice for us so that we may be in relationship with Him. He made YOU and began a good work in you, and He will carry it on to completion.
“O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” (Jeremiah 32:17 NLT).
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:10 NLT).
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6 NLT).
The bible urges us to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances! The best way to show your gratitude toward God and your faith and trust in Him in all circumstances is to affirm Him of His power and will to answer your prayers.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).
Sin separates us from God. But because of His unfailing love and great compassion, you are forgiven. By confessing your sins to God, you begin the heart work of forgiving yourself, letting go, and moving towards restoration. He is always faithful and always quick to forgive you. His mercies are new every morning!
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2 NIV).
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin (Psalm 32:5).
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2).
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 NIV).
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV).
Let us always give our praise and thanks to God. Everything good and perfect is from Him. Even through sufferings, when things seem far from good and perfect, we can find reason to give Him thanks. He is able to use every situation for good. He is able to produce perseverance, character, and hope through adversity. He wants to partner with you in just that! Trust Him with every part of your life, even the disappointments and heartaches.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15 NIV).
“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20 NIV).
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4 NIV).
(the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly)
There are two categories of supplication: Intercession and Petition. You can pray on the behalf of others or pray specifically for something you want. We first have to talk to God about our desires and as His children, we can expect Him to graciously give to us.
You would not ask a friend for something doubting he would not follow through. If you had this attitude, your hands would not be open to receive. The same goes when we ask something of our Father. You have to believe He will give it to you. You have to have faith and trust in His mighty will, as His will is ultimately what is good for you. Open your hands and receive God’s blessings!
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11 NIV).
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV).
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you (Psalm 84:11-12 NIV).
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV).
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7 NIV).
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (I John 5:14-15 NIV).
THE POWER OF PRAYER
Again and again we are told in the Bible to align our prayers to God’s will and then they will be answered. The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying, but rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. His answers are not always yes, but are always in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we start to pray passionately and purposefully for God's will, and God responds powerfully!