Who Are You Praying For?
I don’t mean interceding or praying on the behalf of someone, I mean are you praying for your own gratification or for God’s glory. Are you praying for yourself, so that you can be spiritual, so that God will do what you want Him to?
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Or are you praying for God, so that He can hear from His child and answer their pleas?
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
To Whom Are Praying?
There is a specific formula in Scripture for a successful prayer life and one of the key ingredients is praying in the name of Jesus; John almost overemphasizes this.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
Praying by or in Jesus’ name is praying that what we ask be fulfilled according to His will. If we are not praying in the name of Jesus, we aren’t praying according to God’s plan and our intercessor with God will not relay our words to Him.
How Are You Praying?
Is a prayer a time set aside where you speak to God by formality, routine, or obligation?
Pray without ceasing.
–1 Thessalonians 5:17
If praying is an event, it is not how God intended it to be. Obviously we cannot always be talking, but prayer isn’t one-sided either. If a prayer is all talking and no listening, it will not be answered. If you don’t listen to God’s words, why should He listen to yours. We listen by being still and waiting upon God. We listen by reading His written Word and praying according to it and by it. We listen by being aware of God moving in lives around us.
How Are You Living?
This is the biggest one for me. If your actions don’t love Jesus, your words will not love Jesus.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
If we don’t live like we believe, why would God answer our prayers. If we don’t repent of our sins we cannot speak to God because He cannot be in the presence of sin. If we cling to sin, regarding it in our hearts, God will not hear us. If we hold onto sin, how can we believe He can deliver us from Him. God will not hear an unrepentant prayer.
So before you bring your request to God, ask forgiveness from your sins, don’t send up your prayers to heaven from a sin-filled heart: they won’t make it if you do. Make sure your life is right, your heart is right, and believe by faith that God will do what you ask if it is asked according to His Word and His will.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist