Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Happens When We Pray?

What does prayer represent for you? Tranquility? Peace? Or perhaps an obligation? Usually, many of us use prayer when we want God to give us something or to meet a need. At times we convert our prayer time into a “give me, give me,” instead of using it for adoration. Prayer is a special time that we must dedicate to be in the presence of God.

Jesus Christ saw the need to take time to be in the presence of God the Father in prayer (Luke 5:16; Matthew 14:23). He serves as a role model for us, and we must imitate His example.

Prayer is a time to worship God; it is a time to dwell in His presence and to humble ourselves before Him with worship and petitions. Prayer is a time to communicate with Him, to have communion with Him, to confess our sins, to remain calm and listen to God as we meditate on His Word. Prayer is a time where we stop being selfish and we concentrate on supplication and intercession for others. Prayer is a privilege that we, the believers, have to talk with our heavenly Father based on the sacrifice done on the cross by His Son Jesus Christ.

There are requirements to be able to pray! We must come before God with clean hearts and free of sin (John 9:31; Matthew 5:23,24), crying to God in the name of Jesus (John 16:23,24), and knowing Jesus Christ as our personal Savior (1 John 5:11,12).

Prayer is strength that we as Christians have to cry out to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit lets us know when we are tempted and when we sin (John 16:7,8) and gives us strength to remain free of sin. Prayer strengthens us, brings us closer to God, and helps us depend more on Him. Prayer helps us experience the presence of God.

When we pray, we must put everything else aside and be dedicated to prayer. We must dedicate and focus in such a way that our daily tasks do not interfere with our thoughts and our dedication to God in what little time we spend daily in prayer. Prayer should be for us like the water that saturates everything that it touches. When we throw a sponge in the water, it fills itself completely and absorbs all of the water. This is how we should be in prayer: Completely saturated with God’s presence.

What happens when you pray, as a believer in Christ? God, our heavenly Father . . .
Receives our prayers. God never stops receiving our prayers, as long as we do not abide in sin. Sin disrupts our communion with God. If you have sin in your life, do not waste any time praying (except to ask God for forgiveness), because God will not listen. Jesus Christ established the lines of communication in giving us the freedom to ask in His name (John 16:24; 14:14; 15:7; Hebrews 4:16). I tell my son and daughter that God’s communication line is never busy for them. Neither is it busy for you!

  1. Answers our prayers when we pray with faith and according to His will (Luke 22:42; 1 John 5:14,15). God always responds to our prayers and supplications. There are three possibilities: (1) He says yes and gives what we ask. (2) He says no and does not give what we ask. (3) He also says wait. To wait is the most difficult of His answers because it takes time, and we do not like to wait. He loves us, and as our Father, He always wants the best for us. Give Him praise and thanksgiving for how He answers your prayers even if you do not like it!

  2. Reveals His will to us through His Word (the Bible), and through the Holy Spirit, who gives us conviction of sin and confirms God’s desires in our heart. God reveals Himself through Christian counseling, through the closing of one door and the opening of another, through personal conviction that He alone gives us, and through His provisions as we follow the steps that He outlines.

  3. Restores the heart by giving us peace when we did not have any (Psalm 23:3; John 14:27). He encourages us when we find ourselves in need of hope; He restores our strength when we are weak in spirit (Matthew 5:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9). He restores us when we feel insecure, by giving us the desire to trust in Him as He reveals His presence in our lives.

  4. Reconciles broken relationships as we pray for the needs of others, and as we pray for those who offend us. When a person who loves God prays for someone who has offended him/her, the one who prays can never hate or be resentful because you can’t hate someone you’re wholeheartedly praying for! God also reconciles us to Himself when we sin and we come to Him in prayer, confessing our sin. We are reconciled when we come to Him and ask for forgiveness, and He gives us the honor of His presence.

  5. Rescues His sheep—us! When by faith we pray and ask Christ to come into our hearts and to cleanse us from all sin, accepting Him as Lord and Savior, God rescues us from an existence in hell. God gives us eternal life through the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross. He rescues us by giving us His grace. Even though we are all sinners, Christ, who never sinned, offered His life and died for all of us (1 Peter 3:18). God rescues those who cry for help in prayer by means of our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 10:9,10).

  6. Gives rest. The soul finds rest in Him. Prayer gives us joy, but only God gives real joy. God gives us happiness through our families, our possessions, our friends and more, but He alone gives genuine joy. He gives us rest as we put everything in His hands in prayer. He gives us rest when we come to Him and pour out everything and leave it at His feet (Matthew 11:28-30). He gives us rest when we find assurance of salvation, knowing that nothing or no one can snatch away our salvation or separate us from God (Romans 8:38-39). We find rest when we realize that God’s prayer line is and always will be open between Him and us. It is something that has no comparison! Christ Jesus opened the communication line permanently (John 10:9; Hebrews 7:25). This rest makes us more transparent to confess our sins and to desire to remain in His presence in prayer.
Prayer is a need so that Christians can survive daily. Prayer is not an option because it helps us depend on God and to come closer to Him. Do not let a day go by without getting in touch with God and asking Him for wisdom to know His will for your life.

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