I don’t know about you, but when I pray, I pray with an expectation that something will happen. That can vary depending on the situation, but usually I’m hoping for something; an answer, wisdom, healing, opportunity, grace, mercy, favor, forgiveness……Lately, the thing I’m wanting most from prayer is the peace, love, and serenity that comes from simply being in the presence of God. If we pray with the expectation that God, will in some way, bless us; isn’t it fair to assume that we all desire to pray with purpose?
Sometimes it can feel like we are doing it all wrong. Have you ever felt like your prayers were jumbled or confusing; or maybe you trail off and get distracted or sleepy when you are praying? If you have ever felt like your prayer life could be better, stick with me! I have a few things I’d like to share with you!
Have you ever asked yourself, if God can and will do what He wants, why should I pray?
The point of prayer is not to change God, it’s to change you. It’s about a relationship, and there is no shortcut for a relationship. It just takes time! God gave us free will, which means a relationship is up to us, and no one can do it for us. Prayer is not an activity, it’s a relationship! It is within our relationship with God that we will discover His will. When you are praying God’s will, that’s when you are really praying effective prayers.
Do you ever feel like you are mumbling or are at a loss for words when you pray?
There is no right or wrong way to pray, and even crying out the name “Jesus” is a prayer. Romans 8:26 says “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
If God knows what you need before you ask, then why pray?
Matthew 6:10 says “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God already has a great plan for your future, as promised in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
There are blessings predestined for you in the realm of heaven. Jennifer Kennedy Dean worded it well, “The intent of prayer is to release the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God.” God’s desire is to release the best possible solution in every situation, but he requires your participation. He will let you miss it sometimes. God puts blessings in our path all day, like little wrapped presents, but if we do not open them, we do not get the joy of experiencing what is inside.
Do you ever feel like you are begging God, or trying to change His mind?
The secret to purposeful prayers is not how to change God, but how to be changed by Him. We can sometimes get caught up praying for a certain desired outcome that we have decided would be best. The huge problem with that is if we do not get that outcome, we believe the lie that God did not answer our prayer. A better way to pray is to work backward and ask yourself “What is the desire of my heart?” Does it align with the will of God and His promises? Then scripture shows us, He would love nothing better than to answer our prayer.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Prayer has an instant impact on the spiritual realm of heaven no matter how ineloquent or unformed it may be. No need to worry or beg after you pray!
As my final thought, I want to take a look at the one person who prayed perfectly, Jesus. Jesus would often sneak away to a quiet place and pray. He knew to turn down the noise of the world around him in order to hear the still small voice of his Father who loved him. Jesus was in the world and felt all of the feelings you and I feel today. He dealt with sadness, betrayal, and the pain of being misunderstood, just like we do. He did not always get the “answer” to prayer that he was hoping for.
It says in Matthew 26:36 “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass over me, nevertheless, not as I will but as you will.” Jesus could see the cross coming and He did not want to suffer, but He wanted what God wanted more than what He wanted. That’s exactly what that prayer is saying. He’s being honest with God and telling him he does not want to suffer, but He wants God’s will to override His own. If he lived in 2019 he might say “Father download your will into my heart so that it overrides mine.”
God is looking for an intercessor. Someone who, through prayer, is willing to stand in that gap between heaven and earth. A person willing to be a conduit through which the power of heaven can be brought to earth.
Prayer is a process. God initiates it by His love for you. He will bring you into submission over the thing you want. You start by desiring something and end only desiring Him. That’s when you know your prayers are powerful. That’s when you are praying like Jesus!