Prayer is a vital part in the Christian life. Prayer literally means communication. You simply can’t have a one way communication, it has to be two way or more. We understand this more when we read in scripture (especially KJV), that Jesus spoke to them and said, I pray thee – indicating a two way communication. I pray thee, meaning that He asked His disciples something and He expected an answer. As many Christians today, we tend to ‘pray’ to God and when we finish our part, we get going with our own things again. We just keep on blabering till we had enough – no communication, all just one sided. When we pray, we should also listen for the answers. Now praying to God is not simply just asking God for things, it is also worshiping Him, praising Him, talking to Him and hearing from Him. Remember, God is a Father to us; and as you would have a conversation with your earthly father, so to our Heavenly Father desires to have conversations with us. In this article I want to focus on 4 different forms of prayer; Praying to effect change, Praying to recreate, The heartfelt prayer, and The General Conversation.
1) Praying to effect change:
Whether you are praying for someone and you can’t see your prayer being answered in that person’s life – then you should ask yourself whether you are praying the right way… The Bible does tells us that if we ask and believe then it will be given unto us (Matt.7:7). However, God also teaches us to pray according to His Will and not our own will, because our own will is corrupted and somehow twisted.
This is were many people go wrong. Say you praying for someone who is on drugs or a close loved one who hasn’t found the Lord yet, but you can’t see a change; that’s not because it’s not God’s Will at that time. After all, it is God Who led you to pray for that person, how can He lead you to do something and then not have your back on it.
The reason why such things happen, is because we don’t know how to pray according to God’s Will. One simple reason why we will pray and not receive answers is because we want to see people change and not cause problems for us and our loved ones, instead of when praying, seeing those people with the eyes of God. Even when we do start thinking differently, we still have it in our subconscious, because somehow through them changing, we will also benefit from it. When God looks at you and tell you to do something, it is not because He sees potential in you, but because He sees His potential in you. When God wants people to change, He wants them to change for others, because by them changing, they will be able to effect many lives which might also change because of one person who has changed. This is according to God’s Will. He looks at us and see what we are to become, not what it seems we going to become. God looks at us through His Word.
So to pray according to God’s Will for a drug addict for example; we must first see how God wants to use that person. Secondly, we must see that person walk in God’s Will, free from drugs. If you can’t see God’s Will in the person’s life you are praying for, and also that person walking in God’s Will; then you might as well not pray for that person. We must pray according to God’s Will and expect answers – for this is a promise of God – and God keeps His promises.
So how do we see someone’s future according to God’s Will? Simply by looking into the Word of God and see what God’s Word says about people. The Holy Spirit will of course lead you to the right verse for a particular person, but it have to start by us looking at people through the eyes of God, which is through His Word.
2) Praying to recreate:
Elijah prayed that there was no rain for three years (James 5:17). He prayed this prayer to recreate a destiny. He was a prophet who heard from God and understood that something needed to change. While consulting with God, He prayed that the rain must go away. Notice, he consulted with God, but when he prayed, he spoke to the clouds and the clouds obeyed his voice. This is what Jesus done in Mark 4:35-41, He spoke to the boisterous waves and winds and told it to be calm, and the waves and winds obeyed His voice. The disciples asked, what manner of man is this…
Taking a look at the church in the book of Acts 12, Herod was going to kill James and Peter. But it was only after James was killed that the church realized that they can recreate this situation by praying. When they prayed, something extraordinary happened. An angel appeared to Paul and released him from prison by breaking the chains and breaking open the prison gates. It took the church to come to the realization that within them resides the power to effect change.
The Holy Spirit knows what needs to be done, but it is through God’s gift of free will that He awaits us to wake up and do something about the things He shows us. Sometimes people die because we are ignorant to this fact. Sometimes we don’t minister salvation unto some people and they end up going to hell. That isn’t God’s fault, it is ours, because we did not use what we have within us to effect change.
God doesn’t show us things just for the sake of showing, He shows us things because He wants us to do something about it. Remember, Jesus came and done His part and just before He died, He said ‘it is finish’. His work was done here on earth! When Jesus rose from the dead, just before He ascended back into Heaven, He commanded His disciples to go into all the world and continue the work. To complete the work is up to us obeying the voice of God through the help of the Holy Spirit. We have a part to play in bringing the church onto perfection, even to the return of Jesus Christ.
3) The heartfelt prayer:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
Now, I have touched base on this verse before, but this time I want to dig deeper. Many well versed and knowledgeable Christians pray and do not get the desired answers to their prayers. The secret of fulfilled prayers is in this verse. I want to break this verse up in portions and explain it in detail.
First, we see James making mention that we must confess our faults to one another. This doesn’t mean that we must confess things we done wrong many years ago, as some religious folks believe. What it means is that when we wrong someone, at that time of us realizing we done wrong, confess your wrong to the person you are wronging. This helps in the process of the other person not sinning or judging you for your actions. It also helps the other person to forgive you. Now forgiveness doesn’t benefit the person who you are forgiving as much as it benefit you who is doing the forgiving – Never forget that!
The second point James bring out here is; to pray for one another. It is important that we first forgive and then pray also for one another. You have to see the person with the eyes of God (which I will go more in detail in our next chapter). Seeing people with the eyes of God allow you to see people for what they should be, and not for what they are. Many times we pray for someone, but because we can’t see the Word of God in them, we also don’t see a change in them. So, praying for one another, we must learn to pray for others as we will pray for ourselves – confess good into their lives, never with criticism or judgment. Then James digs a bit deeper on why we should do these things; so we might be healed. When we forgive one another and pray for one another, there is an automatical process of healing and restoration that takes places.
Next, James bring us into the emphasis of prayer: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The effectual fervent prayer, meaning the prayer which is prayed with compassion, with love, and with conviction, that prayer carries power. The amplified version read this portion as follow: “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” Now, the earnest and heartfelt prayer is that of a righteous man, it is prayer mixed with emotions – you praying with emotion. And the word used here, continued, means not the repetition of prayers; like Jesus pointed out the heathen prays, but that after you prayed this heartfelt prayer, you’re confessing what you have prayed, because you have seen in the spirit what you have prayed for, now you can continue to confess what you have seen.
This is the prayer of faith, it makes tremendous power available. It continues to say of such power, that it is dynamic in its working. The word dynamic comes from the Greek word, dynamo, which literally means – self generating power. It doesn’t need an outside force to power it, once it has started, it powers itself. Because you have learned to pray with your heart, not just being routine or because you know you must; but because it is your nature, even after your prayer you will continually confess what you have prayed about – because you have seen the product of your prayer while you’ve been praying – you have received the answer due to your conviction, and the title deed of that prayer is yours now.
I always tell people, pray and see what you praying for, receiving it in spirit and give thanks for what you have received. To receive something in the spirit is more real then the physical manifestation thereof. If you can’t receive it in the spirit, then it will not be manifested in the physical. I find many people wanting to thank God once things they asked for manifest in the physical realm. However, learn to thank God when you see it and receive it in spirit. Once you have finished praying and thanking God, all you need to do is confess what you have received. There is no need to pray for it again. If you doing this, it means you have not received it, because you will not ask for something you have received already.
4) The General Conversation:
Many religious people believe that prayer is something you do either in church or in private, or at set times during the day. Like I made mention of earlier, prayer is a two way conversation and you can have conversation anywhere and at any time. Waking up, you can have your set time for prayer, but nothing stops you from talking to God while getting ready for work or school. Even while you eating or on your way to where ever it is you going, you can talk to God.
While you at work or school, learn to talk to God, even speak in tongues. No matter people call you crazy or say that you talking to yourself; they will soon realize that you accomplish more than them. You can be the best at whatever it is you doing through simply having conversations with God throughout the day in all the things you do. Always remember, God is always with you, there is not one moment that He leaves you or get tired of talking to you. Putting God first in all you do will make you prosperous in all you do.
From waking up to getting ready for the day, throughout the day and even at night while getting ready to go to bed – even when you wake up during the night; God is always there. Take advantage of this, because it is like living with a person and you run on schedule times that you will have a conversation. There can be no relationship in that. God’s desire is to have a relationship with you and there is no conditions set for this relationship, no time table and no limits.