What is prayer? Is it a stale tradition? A ritual? A good luck charm? Is it part of a religious checklist to appease some higher being so we can get what we want? Prayer has been re-defined, twisted, and confused, but at its essence, prayer is simply talking to God. The God who spoke the universe into creation, gave us life and breath, and who holds every single strand of DNA in its perfect place. This God wants us to talk to Him. In the vastness in all that exists he actually cares about us personally and individually.
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When you do get that alone time to pray to God have you ever felt frustrated with Him for not answering a prayer? Or maybe you were upset because he answered a prayer, but he did so in a way you may not have agreed with. Well there could be many different reasons for that, but let’s look at a couple;
Turning to the wrong source
I heard a gentleman once say that, “Americans tend to be content with hearing from Moses. Don’t they know they can go up on the mountain themselves and come into the presence of God?” This man was referencing Exodus 19 where Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to spend time in the presences of God and then comes down to speak to the Israelite people what God had told him.
This guy nailed it on the head. We tend to be content with hearing from God through a pastor, mentor, radio DJ, men’s/women’s group, or a television show but we don’t go straight to the source, God himself. Just to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with learning about God from those people/avenues. In fact, Jesus encourages us to learn about him corporately (Matthew 18:20). However, that should not be our primary source of learning/communicating with God. This is why there is a New Testament! God did away with the religious sacrifices of the Old Testament through his Son, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we have full access to the one true God, all we have to do is climb to the top of the mountain!
Believe and not doubt
If you pray for something but deep down you may not think it will be answered, the Lord will do just that. Take a look at James 1:6-7;
James 1:6-7 – 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (NIV)
Respecting your spouse
Did you know that how you treat your spouse affects your prayers? Well it’s true and is mentioned in 1 Peter 3:7;
1 Peter 3:7 – 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (NIV)
It’s because of sin that God sent Jesus Christ die on our behalf. We don’t deserve that but thankfully we have the covering of the blood of Jesus for all our sins and transgressions. However, we still need to confess our sin to God. If we don’t, it will stand in-between us and a relationship with God, which ultimately blocks our prayers to God;
2 Chronicles 7:14 – 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (NIV)
The trump card
Of course, the trump card in all of this is that God’s ways are higher than all our ways. Sometimes our prayers are never answered and only God knows why;
Isaiah 55:9 – 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (NIV)