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God Delights in the Prayers of His Children
Praying God's Word Back to Him through Scripture-Based Prayers
By Terri Flynn
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2013 Terri Flynn
All rights reserved.
How to Grow Closer to God
Establishing a Prayer Life
Prayer brings about nourishment and growth to your spirit. Think of prayer as breathing. Just as breathing is essential to your physical life, your prayer life is essential to your spiritual life. Breathing consists of both inhaling and exhaling. Your prayers should consist of talking to God and then listening and receiving from God. Too often our prayers get reduced to simply asking God for things. Since praying is a conversation between you and God, this conversation, like one in any healthy relationship, should be about more than just asking.
Take some time to praise God and spend time in worship. Ask for forgiveness and repent to God daily for the things you have done wrong. Surrender your thoughts, your words, and your actions.
Then ask Him for the things that you need and pray for the needs of other people. Bring your petitions before God and make your requests known to Him. Just as a child asks a parent for what they need, it is all right to ask God for things, because He is your heavenly Father.
Then yield to God and give Him your hopes, your dreams, and your future. Make a commitment that prayer will become a constant part of your daily life. Don't forget to sit and listen. Just sit in silence for a while before the throne of God.
"So I tell you to ask, and you will receive. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive.
The one who searches will find, and for the person who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9-10 GW)
"Never stop praying." (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT) "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10 NIV)
Four Building Blocks of Prayer
All prayer should lead us to a deeper relationship with God. We can pray in secret, with our loved ones, with our church, at any place and at anytime. While there are many ways to pray, I have highlighted four basic building blocks of prayer.
In order to help us recall the important parts of prayer, the acronym ACTS has been developed. This is a simple tool to help us remember the four building blocks of prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
Prayer is just talking with God, but it is an extremely important part of developing and maintaining an intimate relationship with God and growing in Christ. Prayer could be considered the very life breath of true Christianity. To pray effectively, we should regularly include these four building blocks of prayer.
Adoration is the part of prayer where we focus on God. When we start our prayers, we should begin with adoring God and praising Him for who He is. Praise and adoration should arise in a heart full of love toward God. Even Jesus taught us to first love God with all our heart, mind, and soul. Our adoration for God should be done continuously, and it should become as normal to us as breathing.
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that openly profess His name." (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)
Confession of sin is important to our intimate relationship with God. God requires confession of sin as the path that allows us to express our yielded and surrendered hearts to His sovereign will. Only when we acknowledge our offenses toward God can our relationship with God be restored. The Holy Spirit is said to be grieved, and His work quenched by our sin; however, restoration begins when we confess our sins.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9 NIV)
Thanksgiving is thanking God for everything that He is doing for us and for all the amazing things that God has entrusted us with—the most important one being eternal life, which was given to us through the sacrifice of Christ. We cannot be strong and established in our faith without an attitude of gratitude, so don't wait for some special blessing before giving thanks. The breath we are taking right now is a blessing enough. Use it to give thanks. Give thanks for all the blessings of life. Give thanks for food, clothes, family, friends and most of all grace.
"Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done." (1 Chronicles 16:8 NIV)
Supplication is another way of showing faith. In prayers of supplication, we present God with our requests from our hearts, our needs, and our desires. In Revelation 5:8, the prayer bowls seem to play a role in releasing God's power here on earth. The bowls are filled with the prayers of the saints, but the bowls must be full before they are tipped to release God's power. So continue to ask with sincerity, but most of all, ask with faith. Have faith that your heavenly Father is always acting in your best interests, no matter how things may appear.
"When the lamb had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 leaders bowed in front of him. Each held a harp and a gold bowl full of incense, the prayers of God's holy people." (Revelation 5:8 GWT)
Interceding with Power
The power of the Word of God is unstoppable. The first thing each and every Christian must fully realize is that the Holy Bible is truly the inspired and infallible Word of God. The Word of God is described as a double-edged sword. It is our spiritual weapon of great power, a sword that cuts straight to the heart. It cuts past our excuses and defenses and confronts us with its truth. The sword of the Spirit is powerful and victorious, capable of piercing even the most stubborn mental and spiritual strong-holds with its simple truth. When we are armed with God's Word, we have no need of any other weapons.
Our Christian life is an ongoing spiritual battle between the Spirit of God and the enticement of the Devil. However, we can overcome in our battles by equipping ourselves with God's Word and living a life in agreement with Him. We can have faith and expect God to keep His promises. We can be assured that His Word shall accomplish what He pleases and that His Word shall prosper where He sends it. We will see victory when we choose to believe and speak God's Word.
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
When I hear others pray for me, it brings me hope and courage. It reminds me of the truth of God's Word. We are called to be intercessors because we cannot win this battle alone. We need to become committed intercessors to lift each other up in fervent, specific prayer. Imagine how the power of God might be released in our lives and in this world if we would just pray Scriptures over each other. I am so thankful for the prayers of the body of Christ. I have faith that we are having an impact for the kingdom of God.
"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith." (2 Thessalonians 1:11 NIV)
Finding Comfort in God
Comfort can be an uncertain thing if we don't know where to look. We can only find comfort by understanding the difference between what is temporary and what is eternal. When people who have been through difficult circumstances trust in Jesus, they emerge with amazing abilities to be sensitive towards others and to depend on God. That is why we need to fix our eyes on the future hope we have in the unseen parts of life. Jesus promises us that His teachings are true and that God will provide for us now and in eternity.
We can have confidence that God is the God of all comfort and compassion. He notices when we are heartbroken and discouraged and gives us strength and hope so that we can hold our heads up high again. He comforts us during times of trouble so we can comfort others with the comfort that we ourselves have received from Him. As a Christian, we have the promise that the Holy Spirit is our comforter and counselor and that He is called to our side to assist in hardship and sorrow. The Holy Spirit stands by us to help, strengthen, comfort, and eases our loneliness, fear, and grief.
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26 ESV)
Having a Strong Faith in God
The very moment we trust in Jesus we start living a life of victory. Through faith in Jesus, we find absolute hope and purpose. Learning to trust in Him will change your life forever. Jesus is all that we need. When we commit to Jesus, we can trust in Him to act on our behalf.
You can have faith that God will do marvelous things when you trust in Him in spite of your current circumstances. No matter what situation you may encounter in life, you can trust that all things work together for the good of those who love God. Although we will go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, we can have full assurance that we are blessed when we put our trust in God. Without God's grace, we would be lost, but through the death of Jesus on the Cross, all who believe in Him receive eternal life. It is only by the sacrifice Jesus made for us and by His amazing grace and unfailing love that we can come boldly before God's throne.
As believers, we are called to strengthen the body of Christ by encouraging and praying for each other. I know that prayer changes things because I have seen God's mighty hand at work answering so many of my prayers. He has been faithful to me and has carried me through many storms. I am certain it is by God's powerful might that we are guarded from evil. He hears and answers our prayers and is always waiting with open arms for us.
To develop and nurture our intimate relationship with God, we must make a commitment to be still before Him and to wait patiently for Him while praying and studying His Word. When we trust Him, He is faithful, and we can have assurance that everything will work out for the good for those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose.
"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him." (Lamentations 3:25 NIV)
Frequent Reasons for Unanswered Prayers
There were so many times in my life when I could not help but question why God was delaying the answer I was praying for, but in every situation, without exception, He always had a good reason for what seemed like a delay. I thank God for all of my unanswered prayers. Now I realize that His will and His timing are perfect and my motives and my desires are not. Keep in mind a no from God can be one of the best answers that He could ever give you.
As Christians, we have the privilege to receive answers to our prayers, but regardless of God's eagerness to answer our prayers, some prayers still go unanswered. There are many reasons why our prayers go unanswered, and some of them may have to do with our lack of knowledge of God's will, lack of fellowship with God, choices, behavior, faith, improper motives, failure to apply spiritual authority, not knowing how to pray, or un-confessed sin.
Unanswered prayers can be a result of a lack of fellowship with the Lord. When we spend time reading the Word of God and in prayer, we can have confidence that we will see answers to our prayers because we are staying in fellowship and allowing God's Word to remain in us.
"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7 ESV)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of not pleasing God. We will receive answers to our prayers, by demonstrating love to others. God commanded that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Because faith works by love, the lack of love, or holding on to bitterness, and un-forgiveness is the root of many unanswered prayers.
"And receive from him anything we ask. We receive it because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him." (1 John 3:22 GW)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of sin. I have no doubt in my mind that sin disrupts the flow of God's blessings and answers to our prayer. Remember all acts of rebellion and disobedience towards God are considered sin, so when we have sin in our life, the Lord will not answer us. The remedy is to confess those sins to God, turn away from them, and ask for forgiveness.
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:12 TNIV)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of asking with wrong motives. God wishes to answer our prayers, but sometimes what we ask for will merely feed our physical, worldly, and selfish pleasures. Our motives and desires can be corrected by making a decision that the Bible is the final authority for our thoughts, motives, decisions, and actions.
"You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:3 NASB)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of not asking in God's will. God's will is revealed through out the Bible. We can be confident that God is faithful to grant us our prayers, petitions, and requests when we ask for things that are in His Will. Make the time to study God's Word so you know what His will is and what His promises are.
"We are confident that God listens to us if we ask for anything that has his approval. We know that he listens to our requests. So we know that we already have what we ask him for." (1 John 5:14-15 GW)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of not knowing how to pray. Prayer is a conversation with God. You talk, and He listens. Then He talks, and you listen. It is a private, intimate time with the Lord. Prayer is a time to present our needs, and desires, and the needs of others before God.
"When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you." (Matthew 6:6 GW)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of a lack of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Our faith grows as we devote our attention to the Word of God, and diligently seek a personal relationship with Him. To receive from God our faith must become constant, solid, and unshakable. There are those who allow every emotion, situation, or incident to sway their faith. One minute they believe, but the next, they are prepared to give up. They base their faith on their feelings or opinions instead of God's Word. We must have faith when we pray that we have received an answer at that moment, believing in the finished results of our prayers, even though we may not see the answer at that moment. Eventually, we will see the tangible results.
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of giving up. Sometimes we give up praying before we receive our answers. We are blessed to have the promise of God's Word, so be patient. Keep believing and praying. God has a perfect time when He will answer our prayers.
"We can't allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way. Certainly, each of us will receive everlasting life at the proper time, if we don't give up." (Galatians 6:9 GW)
Unanswered prayers can be a result of our failure to apply spiritual authority. Our prayers may need to engage in spiritual warfare by using our God-given authority to speak directly to the mountains, obstacles, or problems and command the Devil to move in the name of Jesus. Remember that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
"I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn't doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, 'Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,' and it will be done for him." (Mark 11:23 GW)
Praise and give thanks and sometimes fast while you are praying to strengthen your faith and your God-given spiritual authority of your prayer. Pray with confidence, expecting to receive answered prayers.
The Importance of Praising God
As children of God, we are instructed to praise God for whom He is and what He has done. We should give Him all our praise and magnify Him through our words, actions, and everyday life. God requires His holy name to be highly esteemed. It is our obligation that we not only agree with God's Word but also obey it by honoring and magnifying Him. We must be willing to display the honor and glory that's due to Him. The Word of God is absolute. Therefore, our reaction to Scripture's truth should be faithful obedience to honor, praise, and magnify Him at all costs, even in the face of opposition and criticism.
Giving glory and praise to God is a wonderful thing. When we give glory and praise to God, we lift Him up. When we praise and magnify Him, we can't help but have humble hearts. It's amazing what a little praise will do for our countenances, our spirits, and the heart of God.
Excerpted from God Delights in the Prayers of His Children by Terri Flynn. Copyright © 2013 Terri Flynn. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
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