Expressing praise, love and thanksgiving
Confession of sin and an appeal for forgiveness
The apostle Paul gives clear instruction about prayer:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the
peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18).
The first things we notice are the instruction in Philippians “in everything” and that in Thessalonians “pray without ceasing”; that is, prayer is a way of life – not just something for a crisis.
The consequence of developing this approach in life is: “and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The clear indication is that there is a result! The result is a peace which comes from the wonderful assurance that God is in control and that He knows what is best for us.
Praying for others
In praying for others we are bringing to mind their needs and as a consequence this ought to generate the question in the mind of the one offering the prayer – what can I do to help that person?
For example – it’s rather hypocritical to ask God to relieve someone of their loneliness if we could visit them but don’t make the effort to do so. So we see that prayer can have a profound effect on the mind and the motivation of the one who is praying.
Does God hear everyone’s prayer?
“One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
So in conclusion, we have seen that God does hear and respond to prayer; that prayer is to be a regular feature in the lives of those who are endeavouring to live by God’s standards and with the conviction that He knows best. Sometimes the answer to our prayer requests is yes; sometimes no, and sometimes not yet. We just have to trust!
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(Quotations are from the New King James version of the Bible)