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Sunday, December 11, 2011

On Praying and Prayers

What is Prayer?

Prayer has been defined as communion with God, however, I choose to believe that prayer is actually the act of having a conversation with God. When most people think about having a conversation with God (i.e. praying) they envision themselves talking to him when, in fact, they should do a little more listening than talking. People who pray regularly understand that it helps them to draw closer to God and to know his will and to obey him. 

Many people seem to think that prayer is something that you do in a few moments at certain times of the day, such as before meals or at bedtime, and then you are finished. However, the bible states that one should pray without ceasing on all occasion and with all kinds of prayers and requests (Ephesians 6:18). Maintaining constant contact with God in this manner is thought to ward off temptation and evil (Matthew 26:41)

Types of Prayer

People pray for a number of reasons, however most prayers can be categorized into three types.

  • Prayers in which the individual is giving thanks for his blessings.
  • Prayers in which the individual is petitioning God for something (protection, guidance, money, a new car, love,  health, etc...)either for themselves or for others.
  • Prayers in which a person is seeking forgiveness for sin.

How to Pray

Many people don't pray, simply because they haven't been taught how to pray. They may struggle for the right words, or they may not know exactly what to pray for. The bible tells us that when we do not know how to pray that the Holy Spirit will pray for us in a manner in which we cannot understand because the Lord knows what is in our hearts and in our minds before we even ask. (Romans 8:26:27)

Our prayers can be either spontaneous from the heart, or they can be a prescribed one such as The Lord's Prayer, the Apostle's Creed, or Hail Mary. Most prayers have four parts. They usually begin with an adoration of the Lord (...hallowed be thy name), followed by the confession of sin (...forgive us of our trespasses...), then our specific petition is made (...give us this day our daily bread), and ending with a statement of gratitude (for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory....)

Elements of Successful Prayer

Remember, it is not so much the words but our attitude and our beliefs about prayer. Successful prayer depends on several factors, they include

  1. Humility (2 Chronicles 7:14)
  2. Whole-Heartedness (Jeremiah 29:13)
  3. Faith ( Mark 11:24)
  4. Righteousness (James 5:16)
  5. Obedience ( 1 John 3:22 )

Hindrances to Prayer

The bible makes it clear that those who pray in faith will have their prayers answered, one might not always get what they prayed for, but they will get an answer. The bible also tells us that there are hindrances that prevent God from hearing our prayers or answering them. Some of these hindrances include, but are not limited to Sin, Disobedience, and Lack of Faith.

Ultimately, however, one's prayers must be in accordance with the will of God.

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