Summary: True prayer is not just a one-way monologue. It also involves being still and silent before God and allowing time to listen to Him. Many do all the talking (if not the complaining), when listening to God’s still small voice is a great joy!
Intro: Today we ponder on prayer. Real prayer is our means of releasing faith and submitting our hearts to the Lord’s will. Simply put, prayer involves among other things: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS) in the Spirit. True prayer is not just a one-way monologue. It also involves being still and silent before God and allowing time to listen to Him. Many do all the talking (if not the complaining), when listening to God’s still small voice is a great joy! Some say. “I can’t feel anything so I quit.” Real and effective prayer is a good time to exercise and release our faith. When you can’t “feel” that your prayers are heard, it could be a time of testing – to see if you truly believe or are just talking!
Our time in prayer should ever be a close fellowship with God and not just mere recitation of familiar pious words and phrases. Good prayer needs to arise out of a sensitive heart, not just a talkative mouth. Also, the word of God does the work of God; so we can also look up to the Bible and ponder some prayer aids found in it. More good things are wrought by prayer than by dreaming. The sparrow can pray all day, but that does not automatically get him a worm!
Today, we shall look at the seven biblical laws of prayer.
1. THE LAW OF A PURE HEART (Psa. 66:18). God is always looking for pure hearts. Anyone from the countryside knows that if a cow eats onions all the time, not only will the cow’s breath stink, but the cow’s product will both smell and taste bad. Whatever is taken in will eventually come out! God looks more on our inside than on our outside. Our ears must be opened to God’s words and our hearts obedient to His will, if we are to be heard (Prov. 28:9; cf. I Sam. 14:37; 28:6). Our hearts must be washed clean by the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb (Isa. 59:2; Mic. 3:4).
2. THE LAW OF A FORGIVING SPIRIT (I Pet. 3:7). Bitterness, anger and hatred are rampant in the community, the school, the workplace, and sadly even in Christian churches and homes! Such fault-finding and wrath hinder and neutralize the effectiveness of our prayer. Fighting and division at home and in the local church can kill both our prayers and prayer life! Therefore, a forgiving spirit is necessary to break through God’s throne of grace (Mark 11:25-26). Brethren, if the expected answers to your prayers seemed very delayed or hindered for quite a long time, honestly examine who you are bitter, angry or unforgiving!
3. THE LAW OF FAITH (Mark 11:24; Jas. 1:6). How sad that we pray many words and then worry afterwards! Worry is a type of doubt. Doubt is a type of fear. The prayer warriors of old used to “pray through” which meant that they stayed on their knees until they knew for sure that they have been touched by God. What a shame that we pray in church, go home and immediately worry over what we have prayed for! Without faith it is impossible to please God and have answers to our prayers. (Heb. 11:1; I Tim. 2:8; Mark 11:23). Unbelievers live by the saying, “To see is to believe” while for Christians their saying is, “To believe is to see!”
4. THE LAW OF RIGHT MOTIVE (Jas. 4:3). One day a pastor dreamed. In his dream he saw Jesus weeping. The pastor asked Him, “Lord, why are you crying?” Jesus replied, “Because I have more prayer requests for MONEY than for lost souls!” God is not a Genie or Santa Claus! Prayer, for it to be real, is for the good of the whole and not the self alone. God give me this and God give me that! Some only pray for their comfort and convenience. Personal pleasure becomes many a Christian motive. God’s pleasure is often overlooked but it should be our primary motive (I John 3:22).
5. THE LAW OF GOD’S WILL (I John 5:14). Jesus gave us a shining example of seeking and submitting to God’s will even if it meant the cross (Luke 22:41-42; John 6:38). We presume we know God’s will, and this is not always true. Never forget the Sovereignty of God. Seek HIS WILL and you will never pray amiss.
6. THE LAW OF PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT (Jude 20). The Holy Spirit knows the heart of the Father and the wishes of the Son (Rom. 8:26). Our prayer must ascend into Heaven with the wings of God’s Spirit. When we persevere in prayer as we yield to the Spirit’s leading, we receive answers more effectively (Eph. 6:18).
7. THE LAW OF JESUS’ NAME (John 14:14). I once received in the mail a gift check for $50, but my joy was short-lived when I found out that the sender forgot to sign it! Legally that check is worthless without a valid signature. We don’t pray by the authority of just any name under Heaven. Rather, we pray to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is the only way to the Father and there is no other mediator (John 14:6; I Tim 2:5)