Thursday, September 2, 2010
Mix Up a Batch of Powerful Prayer
This essay appeared in Guideposts magazine.
Ever try to make a fruit salad without fruit? Or chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips? That would be silly, right? Even the most basic recipes have ingredients crucial to their success.
Prayer, too, has certain “ingredients” that help ensure its effectiveness and success.
Love is a crucial ingredient of powerful prayer. Love is the defining characteristic of God—and those who follow him. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus emphasized the importance of a loving, forgiving spirit (Matthew 6:14-15).
Belief and positive expectation are essential. Research has shown that patients with faith and hope heal more quickly and completely. Through prayer, God wants us to be “sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Always pray hopefully, confident that the Lord will bring about the best possible results.
The language of prayer must be simple and sincere. Jesus warns against empty and wordy prayers. “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7). Bring your requests to your loving Father whenever they come to mind, but do not feel “many words” will make him hear you better. Just speak to God sincerely and confidently.
It is vital to pray, “Your will be done.” 1 John 5:14 assures us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” You will pray with more and more confidence and power as you live close to the Lord, seek his will, and follow his guidance.
Pray with others. If you have the opportunity, take part in a prayer circle or join your church’s “prayer chain.” Agree with a few close friends to pray for each other’s children, health, relationships. And don’t forget that you can pray with other Christians anytime at ourprayer.org! Jesus promises “where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).