COMMUNICATING WITH GOD
Now that you have entered into a relationship with God, it is the most natural thing to talk with Him. Prayer is conversation with God. You may never have prayed before, but the way is now open for you to talk with your heavenly Father. He is not some far off, distant and disinterested God. He is your Father who is in heaven, but also right there with you by His Holy Spirit. Prayer is first of all enjoying God and sharing your thoughts with Him. Prayer is thanking Him for all His goodness to you, day by day. Prayer is about loving God, but it is also sharing your heart’s desires and the things that concern you with Him. You are likely to find that there are many things you want to ask Him to do in your life or the lives of those you care about, as well as things you want to ask Him for. Since He really is the source of all things, ask!
God loves when we are dependent upon Him and in fact, that is the way He would have it be. We were created to be dependent upon God and to involve Him in every part of our lives. This is not weakness but reality! But like with any relationship, if all you do is ask someone to do things for you, it’s a pretty lopsided relationship, isn’t it? So also with God. Prayer is also largely about listening to God as well as talking to Him. We talked earlier about God speaking with you through His Word, to your heart or your thoughts. As you develop a prayer-life with God, develop a listening-life with Him as well. Spend some time listening for what He would say to you daily. Hearing God’s voice will keep you close to Him and out of trouble. Yeshua said the greatest of all the commandments begins this way: “Hear (listen) O Israel….” In Hebrew, the words to hear indicate a follow through on what was said. So to hear what God is saying is equal to obeying what He has said. If you think you hear something from Him that seems questionable to you, be sure that the Word confirms to you that you are hearing from Him. If it goes against Scripture in any way, forget it. You can always run it by someone who is older and wiser in the Lord to be sure you’re hearing from God.
If it appears to go against the Word of God, disregard it. Let His peace be your monitor to judge what you’re hearing. Remember, no peace, no go. But for the most part, you will just enjoy God giving you input, knowing He’s there with you. Develop the habit of chatting with Him throughout your day, asking Him questions, thinking out loud to Him, sharing your thoughts with Him. He really does care and actually loves when you do that. In other words, don’t just make your talks with God about your list of needs but make Him your Companion. It’s just living your life with God as your Best Friend, as Your Comforter, Helper and Confidant. Prayer does not have to be a formal scheduled purposeful time. But there is also that time when we are more structured and a regular scheduled time to be alone with God for prayer is something that you may want to make a priority. Mornings are best before the day gets started and you get distracted. It sets the tone for the day and when we ask God’s help with the things that are before us, we find that He actually does help.
Things go more smoothly and we sense His presence with us as we go through our day. Whether it’s casual or more formal, we can enjoy being with God. At the same time, be aware that you are talking with our Holy God and remain most respectful of Him. We are not to take Him for granted or treat Him casually. A loving and humble attitude will enable you to come to know Him intimately. He invites you to share your innermost secrets and desires with Him as your Best Friend and Confidant, though intimacy does not mean irreverent familiarity. He is King! He is Lord Almighty! He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Yet, wonder of wonders, He desires to be closer to us than anyone else in our lives. What a profound honor to be called a child of God! “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). We pray with power also when we pray His Word back to Him.
The Bible has hundreds of promises. God loves to keep His promises to His people. And He loves when we respectfully and lovingly hold Him to them. Find verses in the Bible that speak to just what your need or desire is, or someone else’s, and bring what God said back to Him. You can pray, “Lord, You said….. Bring it to pass in my life, in so-and-so’s life.
PRAYING TO HELP OTHERS
Praying for others is something that comes naturally to a believer. It is a wonderful thing that we have a God we can rely upon to help where help is needed. We may see a need we ask God to help someone with. Or perhaps we have been angry with someone or worried or frustrated with them for justifiable reasons but were helpless to change anything. When we ask God to help us with our emotions and to be loving and forgiving, we can ask Him to help that person and bless them as well. That way we can rest, “convinced that He is able to guard what (we) have entrusted to Him” (2 Timothy 1:12). No situation is hopeless when we can pray and ask God to intervene. After all, He can even raise the dead!
One thing we do not want to do is pray against someone else’s will. We don’t want to impose our will upon someone else so that we’re praying our will as if it’s God’s will. If we are praying any kind of controlling prayers that is what we call witchcraft or sorcery and is not God’s ways. For instance, we don’t pray along the lines of “Lord, make that person do what I want them to do.” God won’t hear that kind of prayer. It would be the evil one who would violate someone’s will and we don’t ever want to participate in that. One good thing we can always pray is for God to reveal Himself to others, or to reveal His truth to others. We can pray for His will to be done in their lives and that He would rescue them from sin or temptation if need be.
We can pray that God enable someone to forgive where bitterness seems to exist, or for God to break the power of evil in their lives if we see them bound in something like addictions or unforgiveness. But always we pray in love and forgiveness. To do otherwise is to act outside of God’s character and nature, even if correction is needed. One who loves as God loves, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, (because) love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:7,8). One way to see God change situations is to pray His blessings upon others. You can bless their relationships, their home life, their health and their finances, etc. Releasing blessings into people’s lives will change the spiritual atmosphere around them. If they don’t know the LORD (yet), blessing them will help them be able to see the truth and the goodness of God around them.
A good thing to keep in mind is to pray as you would have others pray for you. Remember the Golden Rule? – “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31). Those are Yeshua’s words. He saw this principle as summing up the Torah and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31). Prayer is a privilege and a blessing. We can participate with God to see lives change, including our own, as we pray. The amazing thing is that we partner with God when we pray to bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. What greater calling could there be?
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. Read Jude 1:20, 21. What is the effect of prayer? Do you see prayer as a way to build yourself up in faith? What else does this verse say prayer will enable you to keep or strengthen in yourself? In what ways do you think these things are important in your relationship with God? Perhaps you may want to pray for these qualities in your own life and for others.
2. Read Ephesians 6:18. How often should we pray? For whom? Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17. How much should we be praying? (Note: This means you can keep a running dialog with God all the time when things come up, for yourself or for others. You will find this a natural flow that is not the least burdensome. It’s just sharing your life with God, including concerns for others.) 3. Read Philippians 1:3-4. Can prayer be joyful? Read Romans 8:26. Can prayer sometimes be too deep for words? Read Psalm 39:12. What is King David experiencing here? Read Acts 4:31. Can prayer sometimes release the power of God into your midst? Read 1 Corinthians 14:15. What different ways are there to pray? (Note: “by the spirit” means in Tongues here.)
4. Read Colossians 1:9-10. What is the Apostle Paul praying for here? Do you expect his prayer was answered? What is the goal of this prayer? What would walking in life in ways that please God look like?
5. Read Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38. What are we to do when faced with Temptation? Read Philippians 4:6. What are we to do with anxiety?
6. Read Colossians 4:2. What place should prayer have in our lives? (Remember, that means staying in touch with God all the time including structured times of focused prayer.) What do you think this means keeping alert to? What attitude are we to have at all times? Read 1 Timothy 2:1. For whom are we to pray? With what attitude? Does that indicate you expect God heard your prayer?
7. Matthew 7:7-8. What could keep something you want from God from happening? How many who ask, receive? (Note: In the Greek, this is in the continuous sense, such as keep on asking or knocking until the answer comes.) Read Matthew 18:19. What does this say about the power of agreement?