Wednesday, 30 December 2015

How to Pray

Scripture: James 4 v 3 "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
1 John 5 v 14 -15: And this is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
Matthew 6 v 7: "But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking."

When we pray we see everything we ask for as urgent before God. We demand answers and sometimes we have a long wait, impatient wait. There is God's timing to be considered as He alone knows when its at the optimum.

James tells us that we don't get answers because we pray incorrectly, we pray selfishly. Its all about us and our family and our needs. Our God's family, and therefore ours too, is just everybody, so if you want to be heard take your eyes off yourself and pray for others.

Another block to getting answers is praying the same prayer over and over. The heathen do this. They have formal prayers that they pray in parrot fashion. If your child came to you every day and asked for help from a written down request he had to say ten times wouldn't you think it strange and stop listening?

What would it say about your relationship with your child?  You don't know each other. In Matthew 7 Jesus says 'I never knew you' just before sending people to Hell. So the most important thing between God and you is a proper personal relationship. You need to talk and listen to God and follow His leading.

Think of a relationship with a friend. You get to know each. Have time out together. Chat, probe, get into secrets and important knowledge of each other. If you remain guarded and closed the relationship stays on the level of acquaintance. So you may have met Jesus but never let Him into your life in an intimate way. That's why he says I never KNEW you.

The way into God's heart is through your unselfishness, sincerity, faithfulness, and commitment. When you meet the needs of those around you by doing as Jesus would do, God sees and does the same for you.

Whatever we do as a love offering to the Lord He multiplies it back most generously. If you make a commitment, don't break it, even if it hurts. God honours us as we honour Him in what we commit to others. He will find a way of making it up to you.

The most important thing is to ask according to the will of God. Do not assume anything. Always check with Him and get confirmation. not everything He does for others applies to you. If He gave Jack a car last week, it does not make you entitled to one this week.  He knows your needs and shuns your greeds.

When you are selfish and spend only on your own needs, you will see a loss in your earnings or an increase in your debts. Whenever you withhold a blessing the Lord cannot prevent the enemy from putting pressure on you. In Acts when the church began the Holy Spirit caused every Christian to bring everything they owned into the common pool.

They sold their houses and put the proceeds into the hands of the apostles. It was more important to spread the gospel message than for them to live in comfort.  They had the right priorities. These days most people look after No 1 first and are covered for every eventuality. They don't really need to trust God for much.

Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 died instantly because they lied to the Holy Spirit concerning their contribution of proceeds of their property sale to the Christian workers. Where is this kind of commitment and consequence today?  Fear came upon the believers and they faced death and persecution with no compromise after that. 

I am not trying to end the year on a note of gloom and doom but on a hope that we Christians can become more powerful in our prayer lives and commitments. Twelve men turned the world upside down by faith after the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Let this coming year be a time of renewed commitment and a serious revision of our true walk before God. Forget New Year resolutions and rather give yourselves into a reaching for and achieving the standards the Lord has set for us. Not frivolous objectives but to turn as much of the world around us upside down for the love of Jesus.

Prayer:  Father God, we must pray in such a way that You hear us because our prayers line up with Your perfect will and plan for humanity. Then we will know what Your answers are. We pray for the church to be unified as one Body and be going in the same direction. We pray for Your family to love one another fervently. We pray for the healing power of Jesus to heal those who are ill. We pray that throughout the Body of Christ there will be strength, fortitude, compassion and peace which will bless us all going forward. In Jesus' name. Amen.