Tag Archives: Prayer

Growing in faith

As you made a decision to trust Jesus as your Savior, you were born into God’s family. You have been given a new life. The old ways of thinking and behaving are gone and you have become a new creation in Christ Jesus.

When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! (2Cor.5:17 TLB)

Christians are called to live this new life in this world. This world is not permanent and everything except death is uncertain here. We are on a journey from and through this world into another, which is undying. There are mountains and valleys, storms and whirlwinds but we have a trustworthy guide who promised to stay with us through thick and thin and lead us through. We trust the promises in His Word.

Study God’s Word

The Bible is to Christians like the compass to the traveler. We need to study it closely and refer to it frequently to be able to make the right choices. It is the light that keeps us from stumbling in the dark trails of life.

“Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” (Psa.119:105 NLT)

We need to read, study, meditate up on and live by the Word of God. It requires deliberate effort and determination. There will be numerous other things that may cause you to give up on your commitment to follow God’s ways and His will. Remember, this is a priority in Christian life. Psalm 119 describes in detail the significance of God’s Word in the life of a Christian.

“How can a young man stay pure? By reading your Word and following its rules…. I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.” (Psa.119: 9, 11 NLT)

The Word of God is the food for our soul and without regular intake of it we will be susceptible to all sorts of spiritual ills. God’s Word is the spiritual sword that can help us in our defense against the attacks of the enemy. “So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up….And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God.” (Eph.6:10-17 NLT) Remember Jesus used it against the devil when He was tempted.

Follow a plan from among the various Bible study plans available. The most important thing is to do it. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and He will be the best teacher. “But the Holy Spirit will come and help you, because the Father will send the Spirit to take my place. The Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of what I said while I was with you.” (Jn.14:26 CEV)

As you study His Word make sure to obey whatever God tells you. Bible study without obedience is of no value.

Talk to God in Prayer

As you listen to God through His Word, talk to Him in prayer. Worship Him and praise Him for who He is and what He has done. Thank Him for all the benefits you have received. Confess to Him any sin in your life and thank Him for the forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Ask Him for your needs and intercede for the needs of others. Claim the promises in His Word and trust Him to lead you and guide you.

Remember, this is not a religious ritual. This is the communication between you and your Heavenly Father. As His child you have the freedom to directly talk to God and as the Father He loves to hear you.

Worship God with other Christians

You cannot keep a fire burning for long with just one log of wood. But when you have several logs put together the fire keeps burning bright. Similarly, the gathering of Christians for worship, study and prayer is inevitable because it brings glory to God and encouragement to one another. Join other Christians and worship God in a local church where God’s Word is preached and taught.

Talk to others about Christ

Tell your friends and family what God has done for you and how trusting Jesus has changed your life. This will make you strong in faith and also bring glory to God.

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Persisting in Prayer

In Luke 11:5-11 Jesus illustrated the need for persistant, shameless prayer in order to receive answers from God. He gives the example of a friend who goes for help at the odd time. The friend was hesitant to get up and give what he a asked, but because he shamelessly persisted his friend gave him what he wanted.

Jesus tells that we should keep on asking, seeking and knocking until we get the answer. God works in answer to prayer in the life of a Christian. Prayer, simply, is talking to God. God loves to hear His children. Bible tells us that His ears are always attentive to our prayers.

Have you talked to your heavenly Father today? Make it a point to do it every day, every time you need His assuring presence.

In another illustration Jesus reminded us to trust our heavenly father because he is far more better than the human fathers. No  father will give a snake to his hungry child when he\she asks for fish. Our heavenly Father is good all the time and worthy of our trust.

Prayer of faith

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Mt. 15:21-28)

Jesus was approached by a Canaanite woman with a request to heal her daughter. She was weeping and pleading. She addressed Jesus as “Lord” and “Son of David” signifying that she believed that He was the Messiah who came in the line of king David. She also recognized His power over the demonic world.

Persisting through the Lord’s silence
However, Jesus did not respond to her, probably not even with a look. As she kept on weeping and requesting the disciples insisted that the Lord should do something. Jesus makes it clear that He was sent to the lost sheep in the house of Israel. He was the promised Messiah and King of the Jewish people.

Persisting through humiliation
She would have heard Jesus’ response, so she came and knelt in worship before Jesus, pleading for help. Then Jesus makes a statement that would have hurt her ego. He was looking down up on her in comparison to the people of Israel. It was humiliating.

Of course, the Canaanites were wicked in the sight of God. They had inherited a curse from their forefather Noah (Gen. 9:25). God told the children of Israel to drive them out of the land as they occupied it. We read in the Bible that they did not drive out the Canaanites from many places.

The Canaanite woman could have been conscious of her dignity in front of the people and quietly left. In stead, she was willing to accept the humiliation and even the status of a dog. She knew that God had promised salvation and blessings to His beloved people the children of Israel and others can have only what may fall off their table. She knew what Jesus was trying to remind her in regard to the promise of God and she responded appropriately in confidence that even dogs feed on what falls from the children’s table.
God honors such confidence in His character. The woman had such strong faith that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a merciful God and the blessings of Abraham would spill over to the gentiles too. Her faith was rewarded.

Effective Prayer

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Lk.22:42-44)

Jesus set an example for the Christian to follow, even in his prayer. Through prayer Jesus remained constantly connected to the Father in heaven.

Praying His heart out

Jesus knew the purpose of His coming into the world and He was very much focused in His life and mission. Yet, He prayed this agonizing prayer before those crucial moments. Not because He was scared of pain and suffering (as some interpret), but because of the experience of the actual judgment of sin – separation from God. It was that separation from the Father, though for a short while, that agonized Him.

Experiencing Heaven’s Backing

Even at the height of anguish Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father. He was stuck to His commitment to save the sinful mankind. At this point, as at a few other occasions, He received the heavenly support. He always had the angels at His command, but for the while He willingly set aside His glory. Here, the service of the angel demonstrated the backing of Heaven in His mission.

God the Father takes notice of the agonizing, earnest prayer of a child of God, and assures him/her of the backing of heaven in the pressing concerns he/she carries.

Is Prayer Losing its Power?

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk.18:7-8)

Prayer has become too casual and common these days that it is nothing more than a ritual that gives some kind of a psychological satisfaction. Jesus told two parables pointing at two vital parameters of effective prayer. 

Persistent Prayer 

The wicked judge decided to give justice to the one who was knocking at his door unashamedly. She was persistent and wouldn’t give up. Her was confident that the judge will take action, if not today definitely tomorrow. Her persistence was rewarded.

God being righteous and holy will be more eager to act on behalf of His children who persistently seek His His mercy. We should not give up, even if it is inconvenient and discouraging. Faith should be enduring. Jesus is warning us that as time advances there are chances of many people losing their faith itself.

Do we see this happening around us?

Repentant Prayer

In the second parable there is a self righteous pharisee and a tax collector. Pharisee was praying to the people in the Temple (he was boasting about his religiosity) while the tax collector was talking to God admitting his unworthiness. God is ready to listen to a repentant sinner than to the religious hypocrite.

Prayer is effective when the parameters are correct. God cannot answer a hypocrite and his prayer doesn’t meet God’s standard. Humility before God is reflected in repentance.

Prayer-An Empowering Experience

Prayer is a very vast subject in itself and it is more experiential than academic. Prayer may mean different things to different people but the Biblical point of view is very revealing and challenging.

The Bible records specific prayers of specific people to show us the empowering nature of prayer.

Abraham prayed for the deliverance of his nephew Lot and God send His angel.

God’s people cried for deliverance from bondage and God send them Moses. Moses prayed at the Red Sea and the waters parted. Solomon asked for wisdom and God blessed him with more than wisdom. Elijah prayed for a response from the God of heaven and fire came down. He asked God to hold back the rain and bring it down at his word and God did it. Zacharias asked God for a son and God gave him John the baptizer. A man with leprosy requested Jesus for healing and Jesus healed him. Stephen, while being stoned to death, prayed and saw the heavenly glory of God. Peter and John could pray healing upon a lame man in the temple. Peter prayed and a dead Tabitha got up. Disciples of Jesus prayed and the place they gathered was shaken. The Church prayed and prison doors opened before Peter.

These are all demonstrations of the empowering nature of prayer. Perhaps the greatest example we can find in the Bible is the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Through that agonizing prayer He was empowered to carry the burden of the whole world’s sin.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray always and gave them a model prayer. We find this in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 verses from 9 to 13. It says,

” 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.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

We may make these words as our own prayer. However, there are some principles that could be learned from this model.

Prayer is as simple as the communication between two people

From this prayer we understand that it is nothing but our talking to God. Communication is a quality that God has given us as a part of being created in His image. God communicates and He wants us to talk to Him as well. Talking to each other is the way to express our feelings, our concerns and our needs. In this prayer, Jesus suggests that we address our communications directly to God. There is no magic in the words of the prayer or in the way that we pray.

Prayer assumes a relationship between God and man as a pre-requisite

We are asked to talk to our Father in Heaven. God is addressed here as the Father. This means a relationship between God and us. When we study the Bible we understand that man lost his ability to communicate with God when he sinned. That is why it says in Romans 3:23 that “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. We lost our relationship with God as a result of sin and became enemies of God. The result was eternal separation from God. But God loved us even then and wanted to restore us to that relationship. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death”. We read in Romans 5:8 and 10 that “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” Thus, through faith in Jesus we can become God’s children and address him ‘Father in Heaven’. It is interesting that even people who are not related to God in this manner also address Him as ‘Father’.

Once, little Johnny was playing with a child in the neighborhood. The child liked Johnny’s toy and asked him whether he can have it. Johnny refused and said, “My daddy gave it to me”. The friend asked him, “Can I ask your daddy to get me also one?” Johnny clarified, “He is my daddy”.

Only those who have God’s life in them are God’s children. Unless we are God’s children we can not call him “Our Father in Heaven”. Those who are not His children can not expect God to give them what they ask.

Prayer is a two-way traffic

When two people talk to each other, we know that both will speak and both will listen. When you talk to somebody on the telephone, if you don’t hear a response, you will doubt whether the other person is listening or not. It is always talking and listening. Talking without listening is rude and just listening without talking is indifference. God wants us to talk to Him and He wants us to listen to what He has to say.

Often we hear God speak to us through His Word, the Bible. God will remind us passages from the scripture in response to our talking to Him. We will be able to experience peace and joy in our hearts as we talk to Him. Prayer always leads us to obedience. As we begin our prayer, it is important that we praise God for who He is. We have to accept His total authority over our lives before we make any requests. When we ask God for whatever we need we must be willing to forgive others.

Prayers are always answered

Prayers of God’s children are always answered, but not always the way they expect. He may say “yes”, He may say “no”, or He may say “hold on”. God’s ways are higher than our imagination. His answers are the best for us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We need to believe what God is saying and trust in His faithfulness.

Prayer is the means through which we can know God closely. Those who know God closely will be able to trust Him boldly. Those who trust Him will be able to experience His power to deliver in times of trouble. The book of Psalms in the Bible reveals David’s confidence in His God. David knew God intimately through his times of conversations alone with God. All the Bible characters mentioned earlier knew their God enough to trust in Him. Prayer for them was not a ritual but a lively communion with their Heavenly Father. What is prayer to us today? Is it something we do only when we are afraid? Do we pray at all times as the scripture commands us to? Is prayer an empowering experience to us? May the Lord help us to experience His power through our prayer.