By: Taylor Abigail
I recently read Moving Mountains by John Eldredge. He confronts the elephant in the room about prayer: “Some prayers work and some don’t.” As I went through the book, I found myself examining my own prayer life: the disappointments, the joys, the struggles and the victories. I went to Scripture with the question, “What’s the key to successful prayer?”
Of course, the Lord doesn’t always answer prayers in the way or in the timing we would like. But even in those times I want to know that I’m praying the best I can and able to listen to His guidance clearly. I found that it matters much less how I pray than who I am praying to and what I believe about Him. These 5 beliefs once absent from my prayers have begun to revitalized my spiritual life and I’m confident they’ll do the same for you!
Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Other translations use the word “vigilant” in place of “watchful.” When we pray, it’s important to be vigilant for how the Lord is moving within our requests! Is He altering our hearts towards the matter? Is He shaping circumstances? Every advance He makes indicates a need for new wisdom in how we pray through the situation. He is always renewing, and so our prayers always need renewal as we strive to stay in step with His work. The truth that our Creator hears and listens to our every cry continually astounds me. My heart overflows with thanks that I am not alone. Our prayers are even sweeter to His ears and our souls when we scatter thanks and praise throughout!
2. Belief that God is for us.
Romans 8:31b, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
This staggering truth straddles both the spiritual realm and the earthly realm. Since we are covered by Jesus’ blood, we are seen as righteous and holy by the Father. We are loved just as Jesus is loved! Our eternal, spiritual destination and standing is set and God has every intention on having us experience that blessing even now! Yet, when the Lord calls us to something, something else almost always seems to block the way. But Romans 8 declares that nothing can be against us! If you are confident in the Lord’s leading, the opposition and obstacles will melt as you walk into His plan in faith.
3. Belief that He is good.
James 1:13b, 16-17, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
I know, it seems elementary. But the devil will do anything to prevent us from believing in the goodness of God. When we believe that God isn’t good (or that He isn’t being good to us) our prayers may cease or become unheartfelt. When we pray, amidst whatever circumstance, we must believe that He is good always and only gives perfect gifts to His children.
4. Belief that He hears us.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
The Lord promises to answer us; He promises to hear us. If I feel myself become frantic or desperate as I pray, it is often because I have forgotten the truth that He is listening and at work. I don’t need to labor and frantically hope that He bends His ear to me. I always have His attention and knowing that helps me give Him all of mine and to rest as I pray.
5. Belief that He talks back.
Matthew 7:7 is evidence enough of this. But flip through the Old Testament and you will witness conversations between God and His people happening daily. Maybe little noticed is that that theme is carried over into the New Testament. He sends His prophets to specific people and places, comforts mothers, and sends His angels with messages. Constantly praying without a hope of hearing back is enough to discourage anyone in their prayer life. That is because we aren’t meant to pray that way! The Lord is talkative and intimate with us if we will let Him speak. Have faith to have open ears and you will experience His voice!
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