Jan 02, 2020 He then says, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (verse 36). “Watch and pray.” The word translated “watch” means “to have the alertness of a guard at night.”. Pray What God Says, Lakewood, California. A resource for inspirational & motivational media to enhance your relationship with God. Inspirational books, music, video, audio & photographs.
Once we understand that talking with God is like talking to a person who is with us always, and that Scripture (especially the Psalms) can be a helpful guide in learning what to pray and how to pray, all of mystery disappears from praying according the will of God.
Scriptures on Prayer
Several passages in Scripture have caused lots of problems over the years regarding prayer. Here are some of the more prominent:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)
Some have developed entire ministries around this idea that if you want something, all you have to do is ask God for it, and ask with enough faith, He will give it to you whatever you ask.
What is often neglected in these ministries is that the emphasis in the context of these Scriptures is not on the kind of faith or the amount of faith, but on abiding with Christ and asking according to the will of God.
Abide with Christ
What does it mean to abide with Christ? It means to remain, to dwell, to stay with. Abiding with Christ, or remaining with Him, is a prominent theme in John 14-17, and the first letter of John, and in both contexts it seems that to abide with Christ simply means to always be aware of His presence. To be in constant communication with Him. To understand that He is always with you, and you are always with Him.
To abide with Christ means to talk with Him and go through life with Him as you would someone who is always by your side.
As we develop this constant awareness and the constant communication that Goes with it, and as we learn to pray the Scriptures, we will soon find that our prayer life changes, what we pray for changes, and how we pray changes.
We will soon be praying for things that are only found in Scripture, which of course are all according to the will of God, and those things which we pray for which are not found in Scripture, our prayers for them will simply be part of a long-running conversation with God where He challenges some of our motives and requests and helps us focus on what we really need from His perspective, and what would be best for His purposes and mission in the world.
Praying According to the Will of God
As we pray Scripture, and as we pray conversationally with God, we can know that He is informing and guiding and refining our prayer requests so that we are praying according to His will.
We pray according to the will of God as we gain awareness of the presence of God.
This is important because according to the passages above, when we pray according to His will, we know that He hears us, and we know that we have what we asked of Him. When we pray according to His will, we are guaranteed that our prayers get answered.
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We pray because it is a privilege. God is far above us, completely holy and only comprehensible inasmuch as He reveals Himself to us. Prayer is His invitation to get to know Him. God allows us to approach Him. In fact, He desires it. Prayer is our way of communing with God. Just as friends and family members spend time talking with one another to deepen their relationships, so prayer deepens our relationship with God.
God Says Pray For Your Enemies
We can exercise the privilege of prayer because Jesus has made a sacrifice for us – He bridges the gap between us and God. Hebrews 4:15-16 refers to Jesus as our High Priest: 'For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.' Because of Jesus, we are free to pray, and to pray boldly.
We also pray because we are commanded to. Psalm 100:4 says, 'Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!' Thanking God, praising Him, and blessing Him are all aspects of prayer. Matthew 7:7-11 records Jesus' instructions to ask, seek, and knock. When we pray, this is what we are doing. Matthew 6:5-13 describes Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray. He begins the discourse by saying, 'And when you pray.' Prayer is assumed; it's something we will do. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul writes, 'pray without ceasing.' Philippians 4:6 says, 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.' Prayer is to be part of our lives.
Prayer God Says You Are My ChildJesus set a great example of prayer for us. The Gospels mention several times that Jesus prayed. John 17 is perhaps one of the best examples. If Jesus – who is God – prayed to the Father, how much more should we?
Prayer draws us closer to God and is a means by which we praise Him, but it also has an effect in our lives. James 1:5 says, 'If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.' Prayer can lead us to wisdom. First Peter 5:6-7 says, 'Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.' Prayer can relieve our anxiety. Matthew 7:7-8 says, 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.' When we approach God with the desires of our hearts, He answers us (see also Psalm 37:4; John 14:13-14; and 1 John 5:14-15).
Prayer is both an intimate interaction with God and a corporate event. It brings God glory, gives us insight into who He is, and has a tangible effect on our lives. Prayer is a privilege and a spiritual discipline well worth developing.