The Effectiveness of Prayer by New Apologia | December 30, 2010 |
How should we pray:
Prayer, when effective, can be the most uplifting and inspiring activity in our Christian lives. Prayer offers us communion with God and relieves our anxieties. However, when prayer is ineffective, the result can be devastating. The primary reason for ineffective prayer is many assume there is no wrong way to pray. However, the Bible repeatedly tells us how to pray.
Prayer is not complicated. Yet, rules regarding prayer do exist and are clearly explained within scripture:
Rules of prayer:
- One must always pray in accordance with the will of God: – Prayer is allowing God to intervene in our lives. It is allowing the Will-of-God to replace our own freewill. If what we pray for is not in accordance with the will of God, but instead is asking God to commit our will, our prayers will be ineffective. Prayer is giving God permission to intervene, not making God our subordinate.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15
- One must be convinced God will answer your prayer: – We pray because we trust God will fulfill his promise to answer our prayers. If we believe God exists, and we believe Christ offers us communion with God, then there should be no doubt God will answer our prayers. This is what Christians call faith. If one does not have faith, God will not listen to their prayers.
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. 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.
- One must pray in the name of Christ: – As sinners, we are separated from God. However, through Christ we are found sinless before God. Through Christ we can have a relationship with God. This relationship includes the ability to pray. If one does not know Christ, then one does not know God. If one does not know God, then to whom are they praying?
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true-even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20
In [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Is prayer effective:
Prayer is absolutely effective. If one prays in the name of Christ and in accordance with the will of God their prayer will be answered every time. We may not know exactly how God will answer our prayer. However, we should be confident God will answer our prayer.
Is Prayer Effective:
Nearly all Christians, and even non-Christians, pray on a regular basis. Yet, few understand the nature of prayer and many even doubt its effectiveness. The problem with prayer is most misunderstand the reason for prayer. Very often, the reason for prayer is confused with the benefits of prayer. This confusion can result in misguided prayers and ineffective prayers.
While it may seem legalistic to assume there is a “right way” and a “wrong way” to pray, we have to understand that prayer serves a purpose. If one does not understand the purpose of prayer, it is reasonable to assume one may contradict its purpose when praying. Praying in a manner which conflicts with its purpose is destine to be ineffective.
To clarify the reason for prayer, we must first separate the reason from it benefits:
What are the benefits of prayer:
- Communication with God.
- Worshiping God.
- Receiving help from God.
Each of these benefits are the potential results of prayer. Generally, the last benefit is what people expect from prayer. While understanding prayer can offer help from God, it does not explain why we need to pray to receive help from God. If God is all knowing, why do we need to pray?
What is the reason for prayer:
To understand the reason for prayer, we need to understand our relationship to God. To understand our relationship to God, we need to understand the nature of freewill and how freewill relates to prayer.
How does prayer relate to freewill:
God has chosen to give Man freewill. As free individuals we have the right to follow our own will. Meaning, God will not impose his will upon us. When we are presented with challenges, we have the freedom to confront these challenges on our own, without an intervention by God. If God intervened in our lives without our permission he would be violating our freewill.
When we pray we are, in essence, giving God permission to intervene in our lives. Prayer allows the intervention of God while preserving our freewill.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
What is the reason for prayer:
While God knows what we need and desires to help us, he will not force his will (or his solution) upon us without our permission. If we need something, we need to ask for it. We need to make a freewill decision to receive help from God.
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