Summary: How do I pray? How do I hear God? How do I know God hears me? Will God answer my prayer?
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The purpose of prayer is not primarily to GET THINGS FROM GOD. It is to connect with Him and in His presence be transformed & empowered.
To really get to know God (and to receive from him as well!), faith is one thing the Bible is very clear is necessary:
Faith in Prayer is necessary:
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
Matthew 17:20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
OK, so we need to have faith. But what does it mean to have faith?
The Three Indispensable Elements of Faith
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
1. Faith believes what God says. "he exists..."
2. Faith trusts in what God promises. "...and that He rewards..."
3. Faith commits to do what God requires. "...those who earnestly seek him."
Faith involves the whole person, the MIND, the EMOTIONS, and the WILL.
How to Boost Your Faith
1. Start with praise.
Matthew 6:9-10 "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..."
2. Know God better.
Psalm 9:10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
> Through His names.
God has various names in Scripture (particularly OT), given in compound form:
YHWH-Jireh (The Lord My Provider)
YHWH-Rapha (The Lord My Healer)
YHWH-Tsidekenu (The Lord My Righteousness)
and several more!
But "knowing God's name" doesn't mean just knowing his literal name.... the letters that make it up, what it sounds like.
> Through His Reputation.
In the Bible, a person's "name" was synonymous with their character. For instance "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." He didn't mean that his parents should have given him a different name.. He meant that it is better to have a good reputation than to be rich.
God's name is his whole reputation and character.
He's a God that
> Parts the sea
> Feeds his people
> gives water from a Rock
> Makes fireproof suits for the 3 Hebrew boys in the furnace
> Multiplies the loaves and fishes
> Can make the lame walk and the blind see and the dead rise.
> Can calm the wind and the waves when the boat is rocking
> shuts the mouths of lions for Daniel
He's the forgiver of sins...
He's the one who changes hearts...
He's the one who takes adulterers and makes them faithful...
He takes liars and makes them truthful
He takes sinners and makes them saints...
He takes the lazy and makes them diligent...
He takes broken homes and puts them back together
He breaks the chains of the addict
He sets free those who have been bound
He releases the captive & the slave
He heals the broken hearted...
You don't believe this?
Have you read:
1 Corinthians 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
That's his reputation.
4. Meditate on God's promises.
2 Peter 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.