Prayers and Blessings in the Bible
Learn how to pray effectively no matter what you are praying for- whether you are praying prayers for healing, prayers for strength or prayers for anything else – based on the Our Father Prayer Model (aka the Lord’s Prayer). This article will be addressing the issue of prayers and blessings in the Bible.
Prayer is an often confusing topic. There’s a plethora of information available online, in books and through advice in general and they are sometimes so contradictory to each other. Even different religions tell you different things about how to pray, where to pray, when to pray, etc. But In this article you will learn the basics about prayers and blessings in the bible as based on the model Jesus gave us in the Our Father prayer – also known as the Lord’s Prayer.
We will also cover different types of prayers, like prayers for healing, and prayers for strength, private vs congregational prayer, and so on. We will briefly go over different prayers and blessings, as well as the foundation blocks like how to pray and the history of prayer, why do we pray, what prayer is, and a few more topics related to prayers and blessings.
Our Father Prayer, aka Lord’s Prayer, is a very good model to follow – at its core, it is very simple and straight forward but when you break it down and actually study it, you catch a glimpse of just how intricate it is. While we won’t go over the Our Father Prayer in quite as much detail in this article, all we know about and relish in prayer is in some way or form connected to that oft-quoted prayer.
The history of prayer
One of the first instances of prayer in the Bible is found in the third chapter of Genesis, in the Garden of Eden. God came to walk and talk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day but rather than the close fellowship that had previously been experienced between the Lord and his creation, discord, shame and fear – underscored by love – were the order of the day.
Of course God was available when the pair went through the serpent’s temptation, but they did not choose to seek him. How different history would be if they had! Then, while they acknowledged their mistake, they would not take responsibility for it or ask the Father’s forgiveness for their sin and the day ended with them being banished from the Garden for their own protection and good. Later on, Cain followed his parents’ example after killing his brother.
He refused to take responsibility and he would not ask for forgiveness and God was forced to banish him as well, again for his protection These early examples of prayer are not a very good example to say the least, but it has been a cornerstone pattern that man has followed through the millennia, long before Jesus established the Our Father prayer.
The patriarchs of our faith, on the other hand, were righteous, imperfect men and we see that God spoke to them frequently and they in turn obeyed the Lord whole-heartedly even if they usually did not understand what he was asking them to do. Abraham heard the voice of the one true God and turned away from his father’s idols. He followed God out of the land he knew to foreign lands out of faith and obedience. He trusted the Lord’s promises even though they seemed impossible and he saw his faith become reality with his own eyes.
In Genesis 24, we see that Isaac also followed his father and made a habit of communing with the Lord. In fact, he was out in the field talking to God on the very occasion in which he met his wife to be! Jacob did not start actively seeking the Lord until he had left Isaac’s home. On the way to see Laban, God met him in a dramatic and eye-opening encounter, when he showed Jacob the Ladder which bridged heaven and earth. From that day on, Jacob knew that the God of his father and grandfather was real and he followed the Lord God all the days of his life.
King David modeled one of the most prolific prayer-lives seen in the Old Testament. His prayers are so powerful and so meaningful, they are still relevant today! The prophets of old – like Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel – were men of powerful prayer. When they prayed, God listened and showed his power on their behalf in glorious, awe-inspiring ways.
Up to Jesus’ time, prayer was seen as a means of simple communication between the Almighty God and mortal men. People prayed hoping to find relief in their situations or to give praise to an amazing God or just a lastditch effort in hard circumstances. When Jesus came, he tore open that mysterious veil between God and man and showed us what prayer really was. He showed us prayer was real and it had power and that it was vital. It was not just a means of communication, it was a means of survival.
The heart which prayed was the heart which lived. The disciples witnessed the power of prayer first hand in their Master and begged him, “Lord, teach us to pray!” (Luke 11:1) They took what they learned at the feet of Jesus and turned the entire world on its ear in the early church. They showed the world that God actually listened when his people prayed. He was not like the deaf idols, he did not need long eloquent words, repetitions or drastic actions to be willing to listen to his children. His heart was always attuned to them and always willing to listen when they wanted to talk to them – most importantly, he was willing to speak to them in return.
Why do we pray
We pray simply because we want to talk to God, whether to worship him, praise him, or simply tell him about a need, we pray because we want to speak to him. God was the first to tell us that we could talk to him. In fact, he makes us the promise that if we will seek him humbly, he will meet with us and take care of our needs (2 Ch 7:14). It’s not something he told us only once, he repeated it again and again in his word. And when men made the effort to sincerely pursue God, he was delighted to show himself strong on their behalf (2 Ch 16:9).
Our God is not an impersonal God who could care less what happens to us. He’s not a God who sees the mess we’re in and says, “Well they got themselves into it, let’s see them get out of it”. No, God is our Father. He cares what happens to us and he loves it when we talk to him just like a human father loves it when his child wants to spend time with him just because the child loves him.
In fact, he loves us so much that Jesus is interceding for us night and day before the Father so that we can come to the Father freely, boldly and confidently and spend as much time with him as we want to (Heb 4:15-16) – something that was absolutely unthinkable in under the Old Covenant. Moreover, God actually lets his Spirit dwell in us to counsel us and guide us and comfort us and even pray through us (Jn 14:26, Ro 8:26-27)!
We also pray because it sustains us. Just as food and water sustain the body, so do prayer and the scripture sustain our spirit. That is why we are constantly admonished to pray at all times in all situations (Eph 6:18) and to meditate on scripture (Ps. 19:7, Heb 4:12). Through prayer and meditation on the Word, we develop our faith and we build ourselves on the foundation that is Jesus Christ so that we can stand against temptations and through trials. Prayer also helps us to see how weak we are and how strong God is. It keeps us humble and allows us to depend on him.
What prayer is
We have already established that prayer is just simply speaking to God. But what are the different ways we can speak to him? The bible establishes three main foundation blocks though Requests, Worship, praise and thanksgiving and Confessions. Everything in prayer branches off of these three themes.
Jesus repeatedly tells us that we can come to God with all our requests, big and small, and he will listen to us. It can be something like a quickly whispered prayer when we’re in the middle of something: “God give me patience with these kids” or “Help me to remember to do the laundry”. Or it could be, “Father help me with this project!” or “Bring her to salvation Lord, she doesn’t know you.” Whatever our requests, whatever is on our hearts, God loves it when we tell it to him.
God does not need long drawn out prayers and he does know our needs before we can even think of them (Mat 6:7-8), but he still loves to hear us ask when we come knowing that we can trust him to provide for us.
Worship, praise and thanksgiving go hand in hand with one another. We can praise God in song, worship him in dance or thank him with simply grateful hearts. The psalms are full of praise and commandments to praise. When we praise God, we are humbling ourselves, remembering that we are not all that great in and of ourselves after all. Worship is a great way to lift God up for all that he has done, is doing and will do. It is a way to remind ourselves of who God is – his nature, his character and his traits. Sometimes we want to worship God but have no idea how to do so until a song pops up which expresses all that we wanted to say but could not find the words to say. Truly, the Lord is great and greatly to be praised (Ps 145:3)!
Confession is another aspect of prayer and one that most of us do not look forward to. Through confession, we admit the wrongs we have done, the sins we have perpetrated and the offenses we have committed against a holy, just and righteous God. When we confess these things, we are faced with the truth of just how sinful and unworthy we are and just how gracious and loving God is even as he is holy.
But in confession there is freedom too. When we try to hide our wrongdoings, when we bottle up our failures, we give to the enemy a lit match to light the fire which would destroy us. When we confess though, when we bring the light of God into the darkness of our sins, we allow him to rescue us from the blaze that would have consumed us had the enemy gotten his way. Praise God, though, that as soon as we confess and truly repent, God is always willing to forgive us (1 Jn 1:9)!
Simply put, we pray, (whether through praise, confession or requests) because prayer is powerful. Why? Because the God we are praying to is powerful. It has absolutely nothing to do with us. James 5:16 says that the effective and fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful.
Why? Because they know and believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the God they are praying to is powerful and can and will grant whatever request they ask according to his will. They know that God, THE God, the creator of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God is listening.
What prayer is NOT
Now that we have talked a little about what prayer is, let’s briefly go over about what it is not.
It is not pithy, clichéd sayings – even biblically based ones. “Father put a “hedge of protection” around them” or “Lord, I know that when you close a door, you open a window” and “God, I know you won’t give me more than I can bear”.
The Hedge of Protection idea comes from Job 1:8 where Satan accuses God of cushioning Job from the calamities of life. There is nothing wrong with asking God for protection for ourselves or someone else. Please just make sure that you are not just throwing words and phrases into the atmosphere because you say it or hear it all the time. When we pray, we should be be fully aware of each and every word we are saying. This is GOD we are talking to after all. The second phrase is just that: a phrase.
Sometimes, when the door is closed, it’s closed and no window is opened. Realize this and submit to the will of God – if he wants to open that window for you, he will. If he wants to open another door, he will. If he does not want to, he does not have to. Don’t try to use “faith” to manipulate God. The third phrase is one that we hear often and it is completely wrong: it’s taken out of context.
The verse, (1 Co 10:13) promises that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure, but he certainly does give us more in life than we can often bear- that’s why he says my strength is sufficient for you (2 Co 12:9) and the Paul tells I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13).
Again, be aware of what you are saying when you pray and beware verses taken out of context and phrases that are wholly unbiblical. Also, prayer is not a venue for complaining or grumbling. That is not to say that we can’t complain about our circumstance to God or about someone – the book of Psalms is full of David doing just that. But even when he complained about something or someone, he reminded himself constantly in the same chapter about who God was and how faithful he was and how mighty he was.
He didn’t let prayer become a rant with no purpose. Even in the middle of the rants he made the effort to acknowledge the Lord. Do the same thing – even when you are venting, remember who you are venting to and remind yourself of all that he has done for you. Those reminders will calm your heart and give you perspective and you will come away from your prayer time with a heart filled with gratitude.
God is not Santa Claus or a vending machine. You shouldn’t bargain with him or expect that if you do this and that, God will give you this or that. He’s not making a list and checking it twice to bless you or punish you – it’s his prerogative to bless the ungodly and godly alike. You can’t put in two quarters of good deeds and expect to get an answered prayer.
God is holy and he is self-sufficient. He doesn’t need our prayers to do the work he wants to do. He tells us to pray and he says that when we pray he will listen and he will answer. But there are guidelines – he does not give us carte blanche to pray as we will. Simply put, we must pray according to his will, we must abide in him, he must live in us and we must believe that when we pray according to his will he will do for us what we ask – even if it takes a long time (Jn 14:13, 14, 16,; 15:7, 16; 16:23, 24, 26). We are not beggars, we are his children! God is not a miserly Scrooge.
Even if God does not work things out the way you thought he would or should, even if he asks you to do something you don’t want to do, you must have a heart of submission and a heart of obedience before the Lord. He is God, and you are not. If you want to control the reigns, why are you praying in the first place? If you trust him for your salvation and your eternity, you can trust him to do what is good for you – even if it is painful.
Isaiah 58:2-4 says:
Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as if a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching God. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and you take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
Remember that we are praying to God, we can’t pretend to live by his rules externally while our heart is miles from him. He sees our hearts, he could care less about the outward appearance of holiness or righteousness. Such appearances don’t mean much to him – he soundly condemned such things in the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. You can’t say all the right things in prayer and not live in submissiveness and obedience to the God you are praying to.
Who do we pray to
We pray to God, the one and only God, who exists as the triune being of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Simply put, we pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit.
As Jesus did in the Our Father prayer, we address our prayers to the Heavenly Father. Jesus said that if we ask for anything in his name, he will do it (Jn 14:14-15). He is the one and only mediator between God and man and only through him do we have access to the Father (1 Tim 1:5-6). He is also our high priest, making intercession for us before the Father (Heb 4:15-16).
There is no other name that is greater than the name of Jesus (Phil 2:9-10). Jesus also said that he will ask the Father to send the Spirit to us to help us and counsel us (Jn 14:16, 26) and it is this Holy Spirit which intercedes for us before the Father (Ro 8:26). Because the Holy Spirit of God testifies with our spirit that we are the Children of God, we can come to the Father without hindrance (Ro 8:16).
God is complex beyond our understanding. Just the concept of Trinity alone can be mind boggling! But he is very clear in his word: there is One God, one Savior and one Lord. We cannot be saved through anyone else. He alone is the way, the truth and the life. No man can get to the Father except through Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6).
God has revealed much about himself in his word – he is Holy, he is just, he is merciful, he is love, he is compassionate and so on. God is infinite and beyond our comprehension. His nature is like an intricate musical composition – you can listen to the same thing a hundred times and each time you will hear something new that you did not hear before. This God is not a play toy to be taken out of the closet when we’re bored and then tossed away when something else catches our attention.
When you pray, remind yourself of the nature of God. Truly think about it and meditate on the different aspects of his character. It will help you focus on him and not trivialize the act of prayer to just one more thing on your to-do list. If you do this, you will come away truly revitalized.
The blessings/promises of prayer
The promises and blessings of prayer go hand in hand in the bible. Wherever you see a command, there is a promise with a blessing attached. On the flip side, where there is a blessing to be found for obedience to the command, there is a curse to be found for disobedience. The list of verses I have included here are, of course, by no means a complete list but it sums up many of the promises of scripture regarding prayer.
2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Mat 7:7, 11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Mat 21:22 and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Mar 11:24 therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Joh 14:13 -14, 16 whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it…And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever
Joh 15:7, 16 if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
2 Ch 7:14 points out a crucial step that most miss when praying for forgiveness: repentance. Repentance is more than just saying sorry or even being sorry. Most of, if we genuinely seek the Lord, are remorseful over the sins we commit but are we truly repentant? Notice the wording God used, “if they seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then”. True repentance involves turning from a sin and walking away, resolved to never go back to it. Often times, we will confess a sin knowing in our hearts that at the next opportunity we will do it again. This is not repentance.
Such confessions will not result in forgiveness and blessings. If there is a sin that you are struggling with and you are in this cycle of confession and returning to the sin then the best thing to do is to be honest with God. Tell him that this is what’s going on and ask him for his help to lead you to true repentance in the matter so that you can walk away from it. Remember that you can do all things in his strength – not your own.
Mat 7:7 and 11 are such familiar verses, but how often do we take them to heart? Don’t just ask, seek and knock once and give up. The key here is persistence. Remember that the effective prayer of James 5 is fervent prayer. It does not give up until it gets an answer! Persevere in prayer; as the following verses in the list attest, if you are praying according to the will of God, he will answer.
The next four verses repeat the same promise again and again. You can ask and the Lord will do. The caveat? You have to ask according to the will of God. How do you know the will of God? The answer is in John 15: 7: if you abide in Jesus and he abides in you, then you will know the will of God and you will ask according to that and he will answer you. But if you don’t abide – that is constantly live in him (you can’t be half-hearted or wishy-washy here) – then you won’t know what his will is.
What Jesus said regarding prayer
Jesus had a lot to say about prayer. He considered prayer to be so vital, he not only practiced it himself, he tutored his disciples in the art and made the effort to teach the general public about it as well!
One of Jesus earliest commands about prayer revolved around love, specifically, “Love your enemies (Mat 5:44)”. He repeatedly links love and prayer together. Why? Because you can’t really pray for someone and not come to love them. Prayer is transformative, not just for the person we are praying for, but for ourselves as well. One of the last prayers Jesus prayed was upon the cross.
He prayed that the Father would forgive the very people who tore his flesh apart, hoisted him on a wooden beam, pierced his side, jeered and ridiculed him and divided his cloths amongst themselves while he watched. Why? Because he loved them. This same amazing love can be reality in our lives if we make the effort to truly pray for those who are our enemies.
Jesus also commanded us to pray in secret (mat 6:6-7) so that we could not put on a show for the applause of men and so that our hearts would truly only seek the praise of the Father who sees what is done in secret. Humbleness is a must for any child of God, especially in the act of prayer. Don’t try to steal the glory of God or try to share the pedestal with him. The glory is his alone, not yours. So when you pray, don’t make a big deal of it to garner praise from friends, family or strangers. If you do, then you are setting yourself up as god, not God.
Another command from Jesus about prayer centered on the matter of temptations. “Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation”. Notice that Jesus did not just say “pray you’re not tempted” he said watch and pray. You must guard your life. When Jesus was tempted, he spent forty days and nights in prayer but well before that he guarded his life by internalizing the word of God. He didn’t carry the scrolls with him into the desert of thumb through them at the moment of temptation. Long before the time came, he took the time and effort to meditate on and practice and memorize the scriptures and in the time of need he was able to stand firm in the midst of temptation.
Different aspects of prayer
There are three main aspects of prayer mentioned in the bible: fasting, intercession and worship. As with the foundation blocks of prayer, all other aspects of prayer branch of from these three.
Fasting is an often overlooked aspect of prayer but it is one practiced by Jesus, the early church and the faithful of the Old Testament. In Isaiah 58:6, God asks, “Is not this the fast that I choose: to lose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” This is what prayer and fasting accomplishes together.
This is what we see worked out in the New Testament. Through Jesus Christ, we ourselves have been set free from bondage and we are now liberated to walk in the light of the righteousness of God. This is what the essence of the Great Commission is: to preach the Good News to the oppressed set them free and make disciples of them so that they can go out and lead others to freedom in Jesus as they have been freed.
Fasting for such liberation goes together with intercession. If we are not willing to intercede, as Jesus is doing for us, for those in our world who are held captive by the enemy then we will not pray effectively or fervently. If anyone sees his brother sin (in a way not leading to death0, he shall ask and God will give the brother life (1 John 5:16). Through our fasting and intercession, the power of God is released to work in the lives of those around us.
But fasting and intercession is not complete without worship. Through worship, we remember who the Lord is and humble ourselves before him and lift him up, giving him the glory that he deserves. There is no room for pride in true worship, only humility and adoration. When we don’t try to squeeze ourselves in onto the pedestal with God, God will release his power in the way that will bring glory to his name.
In Daniel 10, while studying the prophecies, Daniel realized that the time of the Babylonian captivity was almost at an end. He decided that he would fast and intercede for the time to come soon so that the people could return to their land and Jerusalem, the city of God, could once again be restored and God would again be worshipped in his temple. While he was praying, an angel appeared to him and reveled to him far more revelations than he had anticipated.
When Jesus fasted in Matthew 4, he was faced with overwhelming temptation but the enemy could get nothing over on him because he, though weak in body, was strong in spirit in the Lord. Even now Jesus is interceding for the believers so that they can stand strong.
When faced with persecution on all sides, the first century church, in the book of Acts, took to their knees in fasting and prayer time and time again and witnessed firsthand the power of the hand of God working on their behalf even before the every eyes of their persecutors. As the church of the world living today, it is also our privilege to fast and intercede for the people of the world before the God of the universe so that his power and his might can be readily seen even to unbelieving eyes.
When we worship the Lord in conjunction with fasting and prayer, we are worshipping him with the seraphim and cherubim, with the archangels and the great cloud of witnesses. God is praised the world over, day and night. He is lifted up in worship by beings we cannot see who cry out his praise every minute of every hour of everyday through all the ages. What an amazing thing it is to be a child of God Almighty!
Different types of prayer and seasons of prayer
There are many different ways to pray and we may pray in various ways in various seasons of our lives.
One of the most obvious types of prayer is private prayer vs. congregational prayer. We see examples of both and commands to be a part of both all through scripture. Jesus told us that when we pray, we should pray in secret before the Father alone. On the flip side, Jesus often attended prayer at the synagogue with other Jews and participated in the ceremonial reading of scripture when called upon (Luke 4:17).
Throughout the Epistles we see examples of the apostles telling us that they prayed on their own and drawing on their experiences in prayer to counsel the people about how to pray and to pray consistently, fervently, at all times. They also commanded the people not to forsake corporate prayer and the gathering of the believers for fellowship (Heb 10:25). Even in the first chapter of Acts, before the Holy Spirit even came on them, we find the apostles and other believers gathered in a private room engaged in corporate prayer.
Private prayer is essential but so is corporate prayer. In private prayer we come by ourselves to the throne of grace to speak with the Father. In corporate prayer, we come with our brothers and sisters before our Father, lifting each other up, strengthening one another and serving each other all the while honoring the Father in our prayer. All the things we do is to the glory of the Father. Whether we worship alone, with one or two others, with ten or a hundred or thousands, we are worshipping one God as one body in one accord.
Then there are different types of prayers like the prayers for healing from diseases or illnesses, whether mental or physical or emotional and prayers for strength to face the day or to get through a life situation or even to just do a task. There are also prayers of warfare when we put on the armor of God and stand at the ready to engage in battle. As I said in the beginning, there are absolutely no prayer to little or too large for the Lord.
When we pray prayers for healing or prayers for strength, the Lord is by our side. He has promised to never leave us nor to forsake us, especially in our hour of need. Sometimes the hardest prayers are prayers for healing because they require active faith. Mark 11:24 tells us that if we ask for something and believe that we have received it, it will be ours.
How hard it is to do that when sickness ravages our body and there is no evidence of healing to be found even after countless prayers by ourselves, by others, by our pastors and elders and even strangers! But the word of God is true and it is active and sharper than a double-edged sword (Heb 4:12). We may not see the results of our prayers yet but if we take the Lord at his word and believe that what we have asked for will happen, then our faith will become reality.
Faith does not mean that we will never doubt. Abraham had a lot of faith but he also doubted promise of the Lord time and again (re-read Genesis 15-17 If you do not believe me) but when the doubts crept in, he went back to God for reassurance and reminded himself that God was able to bring into reality something that never existed (Ro 4:18-21). He never discounted reality and he didn’t live in fantasy. He took stock of reality and said but God is able. That is why his faith is credited as righteousness.
In the same way, when Paul needed strength and was beset by the thorn in his side, he turned to God in his weakness and he heard and believed what the Lord told him, “My strength is sufficient for you.” David prayed many prayers for strength over the years of his life and the Psalms stands as testimony to the fact that he reminded himself again and again, “God is my strength”. “God is my Shield”, “God is my rock” (Ps 28, Ps 18, Ps 91). Even in the valley of the shadow of death, God was his strength.
While praying for healing and strength (or anything else, really), it becomes necessary to engage in spiritual warfare to deflect the weapons of the enemy. Remember that there is no better place to be while fighting than in the shadow of the Almighty (Ps 91:1) because he will hide you under his wings. When you engage, don the armor of God: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:11-17). When we take up these in prayer, standing firm on the foundation that is Jesus Christ, the enemy cannot and will not prevail against us.
If you are praying prayers for healing or prayers for strength or prayers of warfare, know that the Lord is with you and you are not alone. Many have walked this road before you and testify to God’s faithfulness.
How/Ways to pray
The Our Father Prayer is the best model for prayer. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name”. The focus of the prayer is on our Father. He is our sole focus, whether we are engaged in private prayer or corporate prayer. Though he is in heaven, he’s not just sitting on his throne without a care as to how we are doing. He walks with us and talks with us and meets us where we are. Proverbs reminds us several times that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Therefore, remember that he is holy and we should come before him with the reverence due him. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. God is sovereign on heaven and earth and as much as we kid ourselves into believing that we are in charge, we are not. His plan, what he has purposed, will come to pass, and should be done. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Just as he cares for the sparrows, the God who numbers the very hair on our heads knows exactly what we need, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally, and he is more than able to provide for us. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Just as we hope the Lord will forgive us when we ask him to, we should extend forgiveness to those around us – whether we think they deserve it or not. With forgiveness, we should show love – just as God loved us and died for us when we were his enemies. “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.”
God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear but we should still watch and pray that we do not enter into temptation. Just as Satan watched Peter, he is looking for any opportunity to sift us like wheat, and just as Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would be strong, and just as he is interceding for us, so to should we pray that God will deliver us from the grasp of the enemy and give us strength so that our faith may be strong. “For you alone have the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
God is the end all be all of all things and he holds all of heaven and all of earth in his hands. Praise God, he is more than able to care for us!
When we pray using this model we focus on the Lord in all things, not on ourselves. We start off focusing on him; even when we pray for our own needs we are acknowledging his supremacy and our dependency on him. When we end, we finish with the knowledge that the supreme God is in control of everything, even our own lives.
What we use to help us pray -whether that’s a journal or through art or dance, through lyrics or song, or the scripture itself – is not as important as the one we pray to. The bible shows us many ways that creativity was used to honor the Lord. In giving the directions for building the tabernacle in Exodus, God chose men and women who had exquisite skills to weave cloths or build articles, to engrave images, etc. into the very fabric and masonry of the tabernacle. In the temple that was finally built for the Lord by Solomon, the same example was used.
After the construction itself was completed, Solomon had a veritable army of worshippers who took their turns praising God before the temple twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The Seraphim worship God in all his glory and majesty; so awe-inspiring is he that they do not even allow their feet to touch the ground of the temple or their eyes to gaze on his beauty. Psalms 149 and 150 command us to praise God through dance and song and in the same way God himself is rejoicing over us (Zeph 3:17)!
We worship God and pray to him with our mind and with our spirit (1 Co 14:15, Eph 6:18), we are to pray without ceasing, constantly in a state of awareness that God is with us, that he is our God and we are his children, lifting up holy hands in surrender to him (1 Tim 2:8), forgiving one another just as the Lord forgave us (Mat 5:23-24)
Finally, before we close today, I want to briefly discuss one more aspect of prayer with you:
unscriptural prayer. James 4:2-3 reads:
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
When we pray with a hidden agenda or wrong motives, God is not glorified and he will not answer our prayer. We have already said that we must pray according to the will of God. This is true, but even when we pray according to his will, with faith, we may not receive because the motives of our heart are not in line with the will of the Lord. Remember that he searches our hearts and there is nothing that can be hidden from him.
Similarly, take a look at Malachi 2:17
You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
Our tongue is very powerful, with it we bless God and curse man (Jas 3:10). Just as a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, we should be sure that our tongues do not speak against what we pray for. If we pray for healing for someone, and truly believe God will heal them, then we will not think in our hearts, “I hope she makes it”. Let your words, your actions and your thoughts align with your prayers.
We have covered much about the basics of prayer in the article based on the Our Father Prayer model which Jesus gave us. This guide is meant to help you begin your prayer walk and to help you grow in it and pray effectively. It doesn’t matter if you are praying prayers for healing, prayers for strength or prayers for blessing. It doesn’t matter if you’re are fasting, worshipping, dancing, interceding or confessing. It does not matter if your requests are large as mountains or as small as grains of sand. What does matter is who you are praying to. Focus on the Lord, keep your eye on him. Trust in him, grow your faith. Abide in him, seek after him and watch him draw near to you and begin speaking to you and leading you and guiding day by day.