1Timothy 2:1 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
Prayer Defined: Prayer is a conversation with God. We can pray about anything, joy, fear, anger, any situation or thought we have, whether it is angry or joyful we can take it to God. God is ultimately the only person we can vent to that already knows the situation and can take the best action, if any is needed. God understands that life is unfair.
We can also pray for anything, but we shouldn’t expect to always get the answer in exactly the way we are wanting it. God answers, but sometimes the answer is maybe, sometimes it is no. Most of the time it will be yes, but the person praying has to be looking for the answer also. Many times the answer will be wait….wait…wait. We must always remember that God has a different time standard than we do. We may have to wait for years, even our whole lives, and we may never see the answer come to fruition. That doesn’t mean that God has not answered.
For example: You may pray for someone to come to know God, and die before they ever do, but in heaven you will know that they came to know God. I have met many people who were anti-God their whole lives, and people prayed for them for years. Many of these people didn’t come to know God until something happened in their lives to get their attention, and with others it is a gradual building of relationship, until they discover their belief. Either way, God does answer prayer, always.
The great thing about God, is that no matter how often you mess up, or turn away from him, he will always forgive you when you ask (with a sincere repentant heart) and greet you with open arms as though you never left. That is grace!
Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now back to the idea of Prayer being a conversation with God. The thing about conversation is that it requires interaction between two people. Conversation is back and forth, it is not all one sided. Many times people treat prayer as if it is a magic wishing well…toss a prayer out and watch the magic happen.
Prayer is not a wishing well, it is not a toss a coin at God and he will spring forth with whatever you want in return. If what you are praying for is something that goes against the character of God, then don’t bother because the answer to those will always be a resounding “NO!” (Not because God doesn’t love you, but because he does love you.)
In case I am being a bit vague here, I will give an example of something that it is probably a good bet that God won’t be saying yes to if someone were to pray for it….Let’s say that someone is cheating with someone else’s spouse and they start praying that the person will leave their spouse and marry them instead! Well I think most of us would agree that this would not get a positive answer from God, right?!! Why? First of all because the person is not in a right relationship with God if they are in that position in the first place. Secondly, God considers adultery to be a sin, and God does not reward sin. God’s objective is to get us all away from sinfulness, and back into a right relationship with him. Does this mean that God didn’t hear them? No, God heard them, but he said, “No!”
Sometimes, we forget that God has things to say to us too. In order for prayers to be the most effective we have to be in a close relationship with God. James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth (avails) much. (KJV)
That way we can hear what God has to say to us, and what he wants us to be doing in our lives to serve him. We can also hear and understand the answers to our prayers. God is not stingy with information, as he wants us to understand how much he loves us, and is willing in many cases to show us the reason for an answer of “No” or “wait” or “yes, but not the way you thought it would happen…” Sometimes, there are occasions (especially when the answer is not what we want) that we refuse to see the answer, or refuse to see the value of the answer we received. This is especially true when we pray for someone’s physical healing and it does not take place the way we want it to.
There is a Bible verse to explain this also Isaiah 57:1 Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. (NLT)
We don’t always like the answers God gives to our prayers, but he does always answer us. If we are in a close relationship with God and are in regular conversation with him through prayer we often understand what we should be praying about, and how to pray. This increases the number of “yes” answers we are receiving to our prayers. As Jesus instructed us in the Lord’s Prayer it is “for your (God’s) will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV) “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day 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 evil.'”
Basic Types of Prayer: Intercessory, Healing Prayer, Lamentations, Praise/Worship, Blessing, and the most common would be supplication. There are many different variations of each of these, and some people call them differently because they put them in subcategories, but these are the basics. I will go into explaining these different types of prayer in future blogs.