Prayer is something that many people have different opinions about. Some gravitate towards it and others don’t. Some value it as an essential part of their daily life and others, only when they feel the need to. One opinion is the notion, that one has to know How to pray in order To pray. And another, is that one has to be righteous in order for God to hear them and answer.
One thing for sure is that Prayer is purposeful. In fact, it is a Purposeful Talk with God. There is no right place or wrong place to talk to God. There isn’t a right mood or a wrong mood to be in, in order to communicate with God. There isn’t a right position or a wrong position to get into, in order to speak to God. We can speak to him in our minds, out loud, by ourselves, or in a group. We can speak to him on our knees, lying down, driving, cooking, eating, in the bath/shower, running, walking, standing or sitting. We can talk to him with our eyes closed or open, while we’re upset, annoyed, frustrated, sad, or happy; while we’re bursting with excitement, or hopeful with expectation or just at peace and waiting.
Philippians 4:6 NKJV says ” …in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In everything. While prayer can shift between the act of making a request, and the expression of thanksgiving or worship; Supplication guides us into prayer requests by indicating how we should come to God to present, state, ask, or petition for our request; Which is by humbling ourselves and displaying thankfulness because of our confidence in God, knowing that he is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.
Last but not least (in fact, this really should be first). One of the most important aspects of prayer is cleansing and forgiveness. Proverbs 28:13 ESV says “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
One of the reasons why many people say that their prayers go unanswered, unheard, or is ineffective, is because of blockages. Isaiah 59:1-3 ESV says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” When we come to God and humble ourselves, it requires the action of consistently (each time we come to him with a request) asking for cleansing and forgiveness for anything we have said, done, or thought, both consciously and unconsciously, that was wrong and that goes against the will of God for our lives. And it is important that we make this personal. Why? because many times there are things that we have done wrong that may not necessarily be considered wrong for others based on God’s will for their lives. James 4:17 ESV says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” I’m also not singling out times when we behave with outright disrespect, foul-mouth, and inexcusable behaviors and attitudes. But I’m also talking about our lack of obedience when God has given us direction and we decided to do things our way; Times when he gave us a way out or a way in, and we talked ourselves into a hundred reasons why we shouldn’t or why it’s not the right time for us; And times when we’ve allowed distraction, blindness, and immaturity to cloud our judgement.
Lets be real, some things are unavoidable based on our lack of wisdom, experience, and judgement (the definition of naive); as well as our lack of understanding. This is why, the bible has already acknowledged that none are not without sin. Ecclesiastes 7:20 ESV says “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Moses, David, Paul, etc., they were not without sin. When we’re pushed to the max, overexposed to negativity, overglazed with desire, or overly laid back and slack, we can easily fall out of the will of God, consciously, unconsciously, and willfully. But we have a responsibility to bring ourselves before the Lord and confess earnestly and to make amends. Jesus is our advocate, but he will not confess nor make amends for us. Some people may think that when one makes amends, we smooth and cover over and make up for what we did wrong. But if we only put our sin on the bench for when our our positively good key players get hurt, then the sin gets right back in the game again. The definition of making amends is to change, modify for the better, or alter to correct the error. Without the change of mind and heart to destroy, discard, and move forward on a better note, then our confession is useless.
Now what if we choose to remain in sin due to our rebellious nature, or we’re not ready, or we can’t immediately change our situation (for whatever the reason), does that prevent us from praying? Absolutely not. Philippians 2:13 AMP says “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.”. Romans 8:26-28 AMP says “In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” Romans 12:3 AMP says that “…God has apportioned to each a degree of faith [and a purpose designed for service].” And Romans 10:17 AMP says “…faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ.”
So as long as we believe in the Lord and make ourselves available to the word of God, the conviction of the Holy Spirit will work accordingly and timely in each of us. 2 Peter 3:9 AMP assures us that even though we don’t see certain things happening in our lives because of our sin and disobedience, the Lord is patient. The scripture says that “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.“
Nevertheless, let us not forget this very important fact. 2 Peter 3:10 tells us that the Lord will come when we least expect it. Verse 14-15 AMP says “since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him [at His return] spotless and blameless, in peace [that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him]. And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved];“