I. What is prayer?
Prayer is the communication link between us and our loving heavenly Father. To develop a strong prayer life takes effort and commitment, but the rewards are great.
II. Guidance in Prayer
I John 5: 14-17 We must start by personalizing our prayers according to His Word such as the Psalms or elsewhere. God’s Word (will) is always best for us (His children). It is God who promised His Will in His Word, so if we remind Him of that, He is faithful to perform it.
III. Avoiding Obstacles to our prayers
If your prayers have not been answered, consider which, if any, of the following issues may need correction. Then start by personalizing the prayers you read in God’s Word. Some of King David’s prayers are recorded in the Psalms. There we read how he praised the Lord, confessed his sin, and cried out about his troubles. He also asked God to hear his prayers and not to be silent (Psalm 28: 1).
In order to pray effectively, we must avoid certain hindances such as:
A. Doubts about God’s character dependability diminish our trust in Him. Therefore, we must not allow feelings to dictate what we believe.
B. Wrong motives: James 4:3 Petition motivated by selfish desires won’t receive an affirmative answer. God wants us to pray for His will to be done — not ours.
C. Conflict in relationship. Being resentful or argumentative with others, especially your spouse will affect communications with the Father.
D. Lack of generosity : Proverbs 21:13 God is displeased if we ignore people’s needs or give be grudgingly to the church or ministries. He hears us asking for a blessing yet sees us refusing to obey Him in our giving (I Tim. 6: 17-19)
E. Indifference : Proverbs 28: 9 Apathy to the Word of God is another stumbling block. God has given us the Bible so that we might know Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. Failure to read and apply His Word consistently will diminish our ability to maintain a godly lifestyle.
IV. Waiting for God to Answer
A. Consider one more: unconfessed sin. The Lord has promised to forgive transgression once we admit our action is wrong and turn away from it (I John 1:9). If we only give lip services to our confession or refuse to change ungodly ways, petitions will not be granted. An unrepentant heart always hinders our prayer life. Let us do it so we can hear God.
B. What about those times when our heart is right and what we ask is in line with God’s will, but he remains silent? Sometimes He waits because our longing for Him is danger or being replaced by our desire for something else. Certain petitions, such as a request for a spouse, a baby, or a loved one’s healing, generate strong emotions in us. Unless we are careful, these desires could divert our attention from God. He will not share first place with anyone else or anything. Instead He patiently waits for our focus to return to Him before He answers.
C. At other times, the Lord uses delays to prepare us for future service or greater blessing. Or He may want to strengthen our trust. Strong faith means believing Him even in trials, persevering while we wait for an answer, and being confident that He always keeps His promises.