Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him.
When Christ was here on earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. This prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13. “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Christ asks us to present our daily needs before God, and to cast all our care upon Him. And He gave us the assurance that our petitions will be heard.
There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers:
First- We should feel our need of help from Him. He has promised, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground” (Isaiah 44:3). The Lord says, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” And “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32).
Second- If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18). The prayer of the repentant soul is always accepted (Luke 18:13, 14). When all known wrongs are confessed to God and righted as much as possible with others, we may believe that God will answer our petitions (Matthew 5:23, 24). Our own merit will never commend us to the favor of God; it is the worthiness of Jesus that will save us, His blood that will cleanse us. Yet we have a work to do in complying with the conditions of acceptance.
Third- Have faith. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said to His disciples, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
Fourth- Perseverance. When your prayers seem not to be answered, you are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and you shall receive the blessing you need most. God is too wise to make mistakes, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Trust God though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” (Matthew 7:7).
Fifth- Have a spirit of love and forgiveness to others. How can we pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” and yet indulge an unforgiving spirit?” (Matthew 6:12).
Sixth- Pray in Jesus’ Name. The Lord said, “Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you” (John 16:26, 27).
Seventh- Praise. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
Keep your wants, your fears and your joys before God. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not careless to the needs of His faithful.
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In His service,
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