This week will close our three part series on The Lord’s pattern for prayer given to us, His disciples. In part one we covered what prayer is not and how not to do it. In part two, we looked at how we should pray by dissecting the Lord’s prayer. This week we will look at a couple of examples of prayer in the Pauline Epistles, as well as examining practical examples of how to receive answers to our prayers. Let’s get into God’s Word.
In Ephesians chapters one and three, the Apostle Paul prays for the saints at Ephesus. Since these prayers are inspired by God, or “God breathed”, then we should pay attention to what Paul said. Note that in Eph 1:16-19 and 3:16-21, Paul is not telling these Christians to cry out, beg, and bombard the doors of Heaven. No, he prays that they would understand, comprehend, & know who they are in Christ; and what they have in Christ. That they would be rooted and grounded in love and strong in their inner man. That they would have wisdom and revelation knowledge of God. That the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened. That they would know the resurrection power that works in them.
You see, many Christians pray with the attitude that God is holding out on them. They often see God needing to be “moved”. God already moved in the person of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. We don’t need to move God. We need to understand the finished work of Christ. We need to get knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of what He has already done. We need to know that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. All the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ. He freely gives us all things. We need to reach out by faith and receive what God has already done by grace.
So how do we receive answers to our prayers? Well, we cannot earn anything from God; but we do have to operate according to His principles. There are principles laid out in The Word of God that must be followed in order to be able to receive from God. Let’s look at some of these: 1. You must believe He hears you (1Pt 3:12, 1Jn 5:14-15). Our God is the living God, and He does hear His children. 2. You must believe He rewards you. Did you know that expecting a reward from God is not only acceptable; it is actually commanded (Heb 11:6)? God promises rewards for seeking Him with all of your heart (Mt 7:7-8, Jer 29:12-13, 33:3). Expect a reward!
We must pray according to His will (1Jn 5:14). How do we know His will? By knowing His Word (Jn 15:7). When we know God’s Word, we know God. When we come to know God, we come to know His will. When we know His will, we do what He says - and then we receive answers to our prayers (1Jn 3:22-23).
We must also ask in faith. God will not rebuke us for asking; but we must ask believing and receiving by faith the answer. If not, we should not expect to receive anything from God (Jam 1:5-8, Mk 11:22-24). Our God is not a need God, He is a faith God. Need does not unlock the treasures of Heaven - faith does. Many people are using the wrong key. God has already given; but have you humbled yourself and obeyed His principles in order to receive? Whether you like gravity or not, it is still a law; and you have to function accordingly.
Finally, you must ask in Jesus Name (Jn 14:13, 16:23). It is only in His name that we are able to receive from God. Why? Because it is only by Him and through Him that we even have access to God (Jn 14:6, Act 4:12). Our acceptance by God is totally dependant on Jesus. “In Jesus name” is not just a tag to end a prayer. It is our credentials to be heard, so to speak. He is our intercessor. He is in the Father and is one in being with the Father. You can’t skip Jesus and have the Father; it is not possible. That is why we must come to the Father in Jesus name.
I pray this series on prayer has blessed and encouraged you, and helped transform your prayer life. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!