Friday, August 14, 2015

Praying With Power

Chuckle: A little boy was overheard praying, "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am."
Quote: "For the Christian, praying should be like breathing. Just as breathing is the response of physical life to the presence of air, so prayer should be the response of spiritual life to the presence of God." Unknown source 
"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16b NIV)
According to Scriptures, there are certain principles which we must understand if we are to be righteous and pray with power.
(1) Pray with a clean heart. Our first step in praying with power is to confess our sins and allow God to forgive those sins and cleanse our hearts and minds. Remember from our last lesson, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify (cleanse) us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9 NIV).
(2) We must ask. "You do not have because you do not ask God" (James 4:2 NIV). Ask for specific things in your prayers . "Lord bless all the Christians, heal all the sick, and save all the lost, and bless all the missionaries" is too general. We should pray for specific people and specific needs. God wants us to care for individuals -- like Jesus did, and pray for them with love, concern, compassion, and persistence for their specific needs. Pray for the unsaved by name and with great burden. Jesus says to us, "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).
(3) Pray with the right motive. "You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, that you might spend what you get on your own (selfish) pleasures"  (James 4:3 NIV). After we have been cleansed and forgiven of our sins, and when we pray in accordance with God's will, self will be last on our prayer list and others will be first. We should not just pray for "me and mine," but pray God's heart with His kingdom in mind."
(4) Pray in faith. "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt" (James 1:6 NIV). Praying in faith is described in I John 5:15 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." Jesus said: "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you" (John 15:7 NIV). If we remain in Christ, we will never pray selfishly for anything contrary to his character or his will.
Jesus set the example for us by praying to His Father often and persistently. This truth was captured well by St. Cyprian who said, "If He prayed who was without sin, how much more it becomes a sinner to pray." It is God's desire that our prayers be powerful and effective.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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