6th March 2017

What is prayer

 “What is prayer?”

The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is a direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God.Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal. All prayer must be offered in faith James 1:6But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.(Emphasis added)In the name of the Lord Jesus John 16:2323 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.and in the power of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:2626 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.As the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia puts it, “Christian prayer in its full New Testament meaning is a prayer addressed to God as Father, in the name of Christ as Mediator, and through the enabling grace of the indwelling Spirit” (“Prayer” by J. C. Lambert). The wicked have no desire to pray Psalm 10:4The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.But the children of God have a natural desire to pray Luke 11:1Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”Prayer is described in the Bible as seeking God’s favour Exodus 32:1111 But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand?pouring out one’s soul to the Lord1 Samuel 1:1515 “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord.Crying out to heaven 2 Chronicles 32:2020 Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven.Drawing near to God Psalm 73:2828 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.Kneeling before the Father Ephesians 3:1414 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the FatherPaul wrote in, Philippians 4:6–7 Worry about nothing; pray about everything.Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Everything? Yes everything,God wants us to talk to you about everything.

How often should we pray?

The biblical answer is1 Thessalonians 5:1717 Never stop praying.We should keep a running conversation going with God all day long. Some find the ACTS formula of prayer helpful:The ACTS formula for prayer has been taught to children and new believers for many years. ACTS is an acronym that gives a basic model on how to pray: with Adoration, with Confession, with Thanksgiving, and with Supplication. While prayer formulas can help us learn to pray, they do not necessarily make our prayers more effective or ensure that our prayers will be answered. This model for prayer is loosely based on the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13), except for thanksgiving.The ACTS model for prayer includes these elements:Adoration – The A in the ACTS model stands for adoration, It means to worship—glorying and exalting God. Through adoration, we show our loyalty and admiration of our Father. As we pray, we are called to worship God in adoration. This could be a song of praise to Him, praying a psalm of worship, declaring His attributes, or a myriad of other forms of worship.Confession – The C in the ACTS model stands for confession. The word confess means “to agree with.When we confess our sins, we agree with God that we are wrong and that we have sinned against Him by what we have said, thought, or done. God forgives us and restores our fellowship with Him1 John 1:9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.Thanksgiving – The T represents thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6 says, 6……..Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.How is thanksgiving different from adoration? The difference is that worship focuses on who God is; thanksgiving focuses on what God has done. We can thank God for many things including His love, salvation, protection, and provision.Supplication – The S stands for supplication,This refers to prayer for our needs and the needs of others. Supplication is a request or petition. We may pray formercy Psalm 4:1Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent.Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.leadingPsalm 5:8Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent.Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.wisdomJames 1:5If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.and much more. Paul encouraged us to make “supplication for all the saints” which means to pray diligently for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Ephesians 6:1818 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.(Greek all of God’s holy people.)Is the ACTS formula for prayer biblical? The acronym itself isn’t found in the Bible, but it can serve as a guide, especially when we are learning how to pray. Remember, prayer isn’t a formula, and each prayer doesn’t have to cover every type of prayer. God wants us to talk from our hearts and express ourselves to Him. As we grow in our love for Jesus Christ, we will naturally desire to talk to Him more regularly.But there is really no special formula for how to pray in the Bible. We should just do it. We can pray under any and all circumstances. Prayer develops our relationship with God and demonstrates our trust and utter dependence upon Him.Prayer is the Christian’s way of communicating with God. We pray to praise God and thank Him and tell Him how much we love Him. We pray to enjoy His presence and tell Him what is going on in our lives. We pray to make requests and seek guidance and ask for wisdom. God loves this exchange with His children, just as we love the exchange we have with our children. Fellowship with God is the heart of prayer. Too often we lose sight of how easy and simple prayer actually should be .When we make petitions to God, we let God know exactly where we stand and what we would like to see happen. In our prayers, we must admit that God is greater than we are and ultimately knows what is best in any given situation Romans 11:33–3634 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?35 And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Ame

God is good and asks us to trust Him. In prayer, we say, essentially, “Not my will, but your will be done.” The key to answered prayer is praying according to the will of God and in accordance with His Word. Prayer is not seeking our own will but seeking to align ourselves with the will of God more fully 1 John 5:14–1514 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.James 4:314 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.The Bible contains many examples of prayer and plenty of exhortations to prayLuke 18:1One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.Romans 12:1212 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on prayingEphesians 6:1818 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.God’s house is to be a house of prayer:Mark 11:1717 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”God’s people are to be people of prayer:Jude 1:20–2120 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[a] 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

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