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Working Toward Effective Prayer

May 9, 2008
When we pray to God we should not only request small things but with a holy boldness we should pray for great things.

If the thought of laboring over a topic in prayer causes you to break out in a cold sweat then simply pray short one sentence, sincere prayers instead. A sentence or two may be all that's needed to exhaust the topic for you for the time being. If this is so, just move on to the next item without feeling guilty for your brevity.

1. Effective prayer should be grounded in scripture. The Bible is our only guide. To put it in a nut shell trust in God through knowledge and conformity to orthodox Christianity. Faith though trust in God, understanding God, one God in three persons, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Sprit. The only path to God is through Jesus Christ.

Gospel of John 10:7 - Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
John 10:8 - All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
John 10:9 - I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
And faith:

Romans 10:17 - Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

2. Adoration is the expression of love and our yearning to be close to God. Through our faith we will naturally move toward worship and praise.

Ps. 95:6 - Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

Ps. 100:2 - Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

3. We must confess: and not be self-righteous [that is confident of one's own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.] We must develop a close relationship with God starting with prayerful confession - we must become intimate with him. To do this when we pray we should confess our wrongdoing, confess to our hurting of others, confess to our not behaving as we should [in short our sins]. Just to admit we seek God's forgiveness and seek his absolution in prayer is to begin to develop a closer relationship with him.

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

4. To thank God for everything is a function of prayer. Sometimes it is easier to thank God when things are going well; seldom do we give thanks - if we pray at all - when we feel stressed in life. We should be confident knowing always that God provides for us precisely what we need.

Paul gave us good advise when he told us - "be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Th 5:16-18).

Ps 100:4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

5. Asking in prayer: The Bible encourages us to bring our requests to God in prayer; to be confident when we pray and not to doubt. James 1:6 encourages us to be confident and not to doubt. James adds in 4:2-3 that we do not have because we do not pray. And that if we pray and do not receive it is because we ask with wrong motives. We should not try with our prayers to put pressure on God to do our will. We should put all concerns into his hands and to help us through prayer to conform to God's will.

1 John 14 - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 15 - And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.
About the Author
Kalisti Juma works with Tunawaza http://www.tunaweza.com working in East African communities.
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