Does prayer really work? Most people pray even if they are not sure there will be any results from it. Often a crises or difficult struggle in life causes people to turn to God in prayer. Even self proclaimed atheist will say a prayer from time to time...just in case someone is listening.
There is plenty of evidence all around us that prayer works. The issue is do you see it working? I have hundreds of personal stories of answered prayer that I can share. I see it working daily because I practice daily prayer. In our church there are several recent testimonials of answered prayer: People who were sick or had a bad report from their doctor that we prayed for and they got well or received a good report on their next doctors visit. People who needed a job and we prayed for them and they got the job. People who needed encouragement, financial help, guidance on a big life decision all received what they needed in answer to prayer.
The single greatest motivation for prayer is the observance of answered prayer! We pray because God answers. It may not always be the answer we want to hear but God does answer prayer. Consistent prayer prepares our hearts for today and tomorrow. Because active prayer is both listening for God's voice and communicating our request. Often our request are re-shaped as we spend time in God's presence. We move from a self centered position on the issues to a God centered position.
It is important that we listen to God when we pray. That calming voice that gives us assurance and instructions as needed. We can hear God through His Word, speaking to our hearts, watching his work around us. But we must tune in and that is what prayer is all about.
Are you tuning in? The practice of prayer is too often neglected until the crisis hits. Probably more difficulties than we realize could be avoided if we had an active prayer life. Praying daily invites God into your daily decision making, into your circumstances, into your prioritizing.
How to pray
The disciples asked Jesus one day about prayer. His answer is what we commonly refer to as "the Lord's prayer". It was never intended to be a ritual prayer but a beautiful outline that would guide us in effectively praying.
OUR FATHER: The opening calls us to focus our attention on a very personal God. The one we call our Heavenly Father
WHICH ART IN HEAVEN: This line reminds us that God is timeless, over everything, all powerful and positioned to see us and to know our needs.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME: A call to reverence and to honor and worship. How awesome is our God!
THY KINGDOM COME THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN: This line is the priority line. It invites God to re-shape our requests so that He is honored in all that we ask and do. It serves as advance notice that if things don't go as we wish we are resolved to worship Him and be content that things are going the way He wants them to go.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD: Reminds us HE alone is our source for everything we need to survive.
AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBT-ERS: This is our obligation based on our relationship with God through Jesus. We have been forgiven and God expects us to forgive others.
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE: in this line we are reminded not only that we face spiritual warfare daily but that God alone is our Deliverer! He will help us overcome every temptation we need only invite Him.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AMEN: i love this closing line that puts everything into prospective. HIS KINGDOM, HIS POWER, HIS GLORY! It's all about Him!!
You can use this outline in your daily time of prayer. Set aside time everyday to spend moments with God in prayer. Let this outline guide you to effectively praying over the issues that arise in life. Pray for others as much or more than you pray for yourself. Look around you and watch God at work answering prayer.
To learn more about the Grace Place Church go to www.gp.church