Many in our world are focused on matters of privilege and power, yet every one of us possesses the greatest privilege of all: access to the very throne of God in prayer!
Do you find prayer to be difficult or an unwelcome chore?
When you learn how to pray, it becomes a great privilege that brings life-changing blessings and benefits!
We sometimes hear about the “one percent”—the affluent and powerful elite who have access to privileges and opportunities not available to most people. They may own mansions, yachts, and even personal jets. Do we envy them? Do we imagine that their wealth gives them happiness?
The encouraging truth is that those who know the Holy Bible, and the God of the Bible, enjoy a privilege that cannot be bought with all the wealth of the world. Very few people can talk freely with the ruler of their nation, but you can unburden your heart in conversation with One far more powerful—the Ruler of the universe!
Do you feel that God is answering your prayers? Your Bible reveals vital keys to answered prayer—keys unknown to carnal seekers of power, possession, and pleasure. The God of heaven offers you a privilege that can bring awesome benefits and blessings. You need to know how you can have those blessings through the powerful privilege of prayer.
We all have needs. Billions around the world suffer from extreme poverty, lack of water, poor sanitary conditions, wars, diseases, and starvation. In the Western world, we are accustomed to a far higher standard of living than those in the so-called Least Developed Countries—nations in which, according to the United Nations, the per capita gross income is less than $1,025 per year. Very few of us in the industrialized West experience that kind of poverty. But we do experience the stress of terrorism, school shootings, and other forms of violence. Many have serious medical conditions and financial troubles. Where can we find help? What is the greatest resource available?
What are your needs? Are you lacking food, clothing, housing, or a job? Perhaps your needs are more social. You may need comfort. You may need friends. You may need better relationships with your own family members. How can you ensure those needs are met? Of course, you should do all you humanly can do, and take advantage of every resource available to you. But you should never neglect the powerful privilege of prayer! With prayer, what might seem impossible can become possible through God’s merciful intervention. Consider this powerful promise, which the Apostle Paul wrote while commending the Philippians for their attitude of generosity: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Perhaps you feel neglected, or left out, or unimportant, when you see how our world’s politicians and businessmen cultivate professional contacts and seek favor from those in more powerful offices or positions. People in the business world, the government, the legal profession, high finance, and other positions of power often exercise influence on behalf of those who petition them for help. Oxford Living Dictionaries defines a “power broker” as “a person who deliberately affects the distribution of political or economic power by exerting influence or by intrigue.”
Do you need a “power broker” to help you advance in life? Who will be able to help you the most? Who will be able to guide you toward true success and true happiness? Dear readers, there is no higher position than God’s throne in heaven. God promises you His personal love, grace, and mercy. Humble yourself, get down on your knees and pray to your Father in heaven, and you will gain benefits far beyond what you can imagine. Am I exaggerating? Not at all! It is a promise I have claimed many times, with wonderful results. God can and will accomplish extraordinary blessings for us, if we come to His throne in faith. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).
Yes, God gives us the privilege of coming before His throne in heaven—through prayer. And your Bible shows you how to pray so that you can truly trust God to provide “all your needs” and bless you “abundantly.”
You have probably heard of selfish prayers or “Gimme” prayers. They focus only on asking God to “give me whatever I want.” People whose prayers go no further than that are often disappointed.
Please don’t misunderstand—God truly does want the best for each of us. We can ask for our needs to be fulfilled, and we should ask. But what is your attitude in asking? Is it focused merely on selfishly getting ahead? Is it to have your own way, as if God is your personal butler or vending machine? Would you really expect God to make your wishes come true, if those wishes would hurt you or even get in the way of your eternal life? Of course not! When we grow as Christians, our will comes closer to God’s will. Now, notice the wonderful promise God gives to those who seek His will above their own: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14–15).
Even Jesus the Christ (Greek for “Messiah”) surrendered His will to His Father’s will. On the night before He was crucified, “He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done’” (Luke 22:41–42). Had there been another way, Christ would have chosen something other than the excruciatingly painful death He suffered. Yet His first priority was the will of His Father.
Christ taught us this principle when He gave His disciples the “model prayer” (Matthew 6; Luke 11). When we follow His model in our own prayers, we begin by addressing our Father in heaven and honoring His name. We then pray for the prophesied Kingdom of God to come to planet Earth. But notice the next aspect of our prayer: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Yes, Christ taught us to pray that God’s will be done here on earth. His will involves the mightiest of nations and the humblest of individuals. It may seem hard, at first, to surrender to God’s will in our lives. Yet, God assures us that when we do so, we will experience contentment, comfort, confidence, and peace of mind. Ancient King David wrote of this joyous, humble attitude: “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
Be honest with yourself. Would you rather have “things” that become a burden and a source of envy? Or, would you rather have the “delight” that comes from knowing you are doing God’s will, and are receiving the specific blessings that He knows you need? The closer you come to God’s will, the more you can have that delight. God reveals His will in the Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Read your Bible daily. The more you know God’s will, the more your prayers will be answered in harmony with His care and concern for you!
Do you really need a big, expensive mansion? Do you really need a fast, new automobile? Do you need millions and millions of dollars? Our loving God will not give you things that will only distract you from your loving, obedient relationship with Him. Rather, He will give you whatever you need, and He will fulfill your desires when they are in harmony with His will. Never doubt that God is your loving Father. How great is His love? Let’s look at one example from Scripture: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7–11). If we believe that normal human fathers sincerely love their children, we should have even greater confidence in God’s love for us!
As we strive to draw close to God, we need to share our intimate thoughts and feelings with Him in prayer. We know that He does not always grant our requests on our own timetable, and we may be hesitant to admit to ourselves our longing, our frustration, and our deep desire to know His will for us. How should we respond to Him? We should strive to be as open in our prayers as ancient King David was in his. Some of David’s prayers may at first sound like complaints, as when he cried out, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?... Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death” (Psalm 13:1, 3).
Are you frustrated? Share your frustration with God. Your human friends and family may grow tired of hearing your innermost struggles, but God is patient and will always be there for you. However, be sure that you don’t just complain. Have the courage to take responsibility for your actions. Admit your failures, your offenses, your mistakes, and your wrongful habits, actions, and thoughts. Perhaps you have a problem with uncontrolled anger, drug abuse, gluttony, or sexual lust. Whatever you may have done, confess your sins to Him. God gives us this promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God is willing to forgive our sins, if we acknowledge them, if we confess them to Him—and if we are willing to change our ways of living. If God does not seem to be answering your prayers, He may be telling you, “You need to repent first, and make amends such as you are able.”
John also wrote that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Even King David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), confessed his sin to God—adultery with Bathsheba and sending her husband Uriah the Hittite to death in battle. Despite the gravity of his sin, David prayed humbly in repentance, and he trusted in God’s forgiveness. His words should resonate with all of us: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1–2).
How can we be cleansed from our sin? The Savior of the world, as He is called in John 4:42 and 1 John 4:14, shed His blood to pay for our sin. John the Baptist testified of Him, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
We must be willing to repent of carnal behaviors and attitudes, choosing instead to live in harmony with God’s law of love—the Ten Commandments, and Christ’s magnification of those commandments. We need to walk in the light of truth. God’s word—the Bible—is truth (John 17:17). Consider this promise: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). What an amazing privilege God has given us!
Come humbly before God in prayer, just like King David, who said, “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge” (Psalm 51:3–4).
You may be familiar with the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee was proud of his religious rituals. But what was the attitude of the tax collector? “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13). What did Christ say about the tax collector’s attitude? “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).
Do not fear. God will bless you as you confess your sins to Him in prayer. When you share your sins, worries, and frustrations with God, He will give you peace of mind. You can then grow and learn the way of abundant and successful living! Cry out to Him as King David did: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
People often misunderstand the “model prayer”—often called the “Lord’s Prayer”—in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Our Savior did not give us this prayer to repeat verbatim; in fact, He gave us this warning: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7). Christian prayer is not the repetition of some phrase or verse. The prophet Hosea lamented the lax approach he saw around him, of people for whom prayer was rote and routine: “They never put their heart into their prayers” (Hosea 7:14, Moffatt). Christ wants us to do better—to pray from the heart, addressing the topics He described in His model prayer.
As mentioned earlier, the model prayer teaches us to pray to our Father and honor His name. Yes, we are to pray for our own needs, and for forgiveness for ourselves and for others (Matthew 6:11–12). We are to pray for protection against Satan and his temptations. But we are also to pray for God’s will to be done, and for His Kingdom to be established on the earth. Why do you want God’s Kingdom to come? Today’s world is filled with wars, violence, poverty, and catastrophic natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, floods, drought, and volcanic eruptions. Tomorrow’s world—the Kingdom of God—will rejoice with sustainable agriculture, rain in due season, prosperity, and peace among nations. Pray for God’s Kingdom to come soon, and look forward to a glorious world under the loving rule of the King of kings and Lord of lords—the Prince of Peace, the Messiah—Christ Jesus.
As we pray about each topic in the model prayer, in whatever ways apply to us and our present situation, we are praying according to God’s will. In doing so, we should remember God’s promise: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
While God tells us to come boldly before His throne of Grace, we need to understand that we have a Great High Priest at His right hand. By whose authority do you pray to God in heaven? Notice what our Lord and Savior told His disciples. “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23–24).
Jesus the Christ is our great High Priest who makes intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). He gives us the authority to pray to God in heaven. We pray in Jesus’ name and by His authority. Since He has given us that authority, we can pray boldly, as we saw in Hebrews 4:16.
We can pray with confidence because Christ is our High Priest and Savior. He sympathizes with our weaknesses. He knows what it’s like to suffer. He was tempted in all points, as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
God wants you to be His begotten son or daughter. He has shown His love by giving His son to pay for your sins. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Dear readers, time is growing short as the world moves headlong toward the Great Tribulation and Armageddon. You need God’s protection, guidance, and assurance. Now is the time to seek God with all your heart. Remember this powerful admonition: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6–7).
God in heaven invites you to come to Him through the powerful privilege of prayer. Apply these keys to answered prayer, and you will experience blessings you have never experienced before in your life.