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Prayer

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)
 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (VOICE)

 

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.

Humble Thanksgiving, Bold Petitions


God’s number one passion is people. Through prayer, we are encouraged to approach God about participating in His work, and by His will, our prayers will be answered. When our prayers match up with His ultimate will, we are preparing our hearts to participate in His work and He opens the gates for us to do so.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7 NIV).

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10 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).

“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV).

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).

Jesus' Prayer Model


Jesus taught us how to pray with the following prayer model:

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“This, then, is how you should 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 today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:6,9-14 NIV).

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation’” (Luke 11:1-4 NIV).

In Jesus’ Name


Jesus’ prayer model teaches us to pray to the Father. Jesus also teaches us to pray to Him and in His name. We have direct access to God because of Jesus. He is our mediator. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are affirming our faith to the Father. We approach God not in our names, merit, or worth, but because Christ loves us, died for us, and intercedes for us. That is the power of the phrase, “in Jesus’ name.”

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NLT).

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14 NIV).

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7 NIV).

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (John 15:16 NIV).

“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 16:23 NIV).

“For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 NLT).

In the Holy Spirit


Paul draws in the third member of the trinity in Ephesians 6:18, “Praying at all times in the Spirit.” We rely on the humbling, transforming, faith-giving work of the Holy Spirit when we pray. A way to think of the trinitarian structure is this: we pray to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. In other words, pray to God the Father in the power of God the Spirit, in the name or by the authority and the merit of God the Son. With this understanding, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each have specific roles in our prayers.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18 NLT).

A Prayer Model


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.

Adoration
Confession
Thanksgiving
Supplication

Adoration

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).

Confession

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).

Thanksgiving

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).

Supplication
(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!

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