Do you really get ANSWERS when you pray? Do you know WHY and HOW you should pray?
THERE is a REAL God who sits at the controls of this universe. He is an active, LIVING God. He controls all power, energies and forces! He sits on a magnificent throne overlooking a dazzlingly beautiful court-like crystal-clear sea of glass. He is surrounded by twenty-four great, impressive spirit beings who are His counselors. Immediately around His throne are four more spirit beings of even greater office, power and brilliance. At His right hand is the living Jesus Christ. Out from His throne proceed lightnings, thunders, voices — and angelic messengers going to and from the earth. For this is the throne of the true GOD (Rev. 4:1-6). He is the Almighty, and the heavens reverberate with THUNDER when He speaks.
Do You "Know" This God?
Are you familiar with the God described above? Are you acquainted with Him? Do you PRAY to this God? You should. For great and powerful as the true God is, He delights in the man who will seek to know Him, talk to Him in prayer and serve Him! God has created man in His own image. He wants men to draw close to Him, to imbibe of His character, to become His sons. The God of the Bible DELIGHTS in the prayer of the righteous (Prov. 15:8). The trouble is, very few people nowadays know the God of the Bible. They have invented their own "gods." The personal Spirit Being of whom Jesus spoke and to whom He prayed — they know not. The God who CREATED this earth out of spirit energy, the God who actually sustains its laws and forces with His power — Him they know not. The personal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — of Peter and Paul — they know not. The great GOVERNOR over men and nations — the One who has made literally hundreds of specific predictions in Bible prophecy, and has and is bringing them to pass — this LIVING GOD they know not. However, you can absolutely PROVE the existence and active power of this God if you sincerely want to. Read our free booklet: "Does God Exist?" Also, the article, "Seven Proofs God Exists!" And the booklet: "The Proof of the Bible!" They are all free to you for the asking, and will supply more basic answers to your questions along this line than you may have thought existed anywhere! The PROOF is available. It's up to you to ask for it, check it and act on it!
Come to God WHOLEHEARTEDLY
As you study the above and other related literature, aggressively check and PROVE the existence and active power of God! He wants you to do this. Without it, you will ALWAYS be unsure of to whom you are praying, IF He is there, whether or not you can really BELIEVE the "specifics" of His will as revealed in the Bible. This process is a vital KEY. Without it, you will simply be unable to put your entire faith and BEING into your prayers. "But without faith it IS IMPOSSIBLE to please him: for he that cometh to God must BELIEVE that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6). Notice also that you must DILIGENTLY seek God! Where would you seek God if not in earnest prayer, in the real study of the Bible, in observing and meditating upon the creation of God — noting the perfect design in nature, the absolute, unchanging laws governing the action of all physical things, and the display of fantastic beauty, harmony and POWER evident throughout the natural world. Also, you should seek to know and understand God by observing and exercising the spiritual help and strength you will receive in your own life as you begin to know and to serve your Creator. Finally, you should — coupled with intensive Bible study — observe and come to understand God's PLAN as He directly intervenes in the affairs of the major nations of this world in bringing about literally dozens of exact and SPECIFIC fulfillments of Bible prophecy. For Jesus said: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass..." (Luke 21:36). Clearly, He meant for us to "watch" the fulfillment of prophecy in world events — and in this way to be stimulated and inspired to pray earnestly to the REAL GOD who actively intervenes in human affairs.
The Example of Elijah
Your Bible says in James 5:16-18: "The effectual FERVENT prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." Weak and human even as we are, Elijah prayed FERVENTLY. He knew God was there. He knew God answered prayer. So he got "stirred up." He put his whole BEING into his prayer. And God ANSWERED. In our modern science-oriented, war-calloused, intellectually vain and "mind science" age above all others, we need to seek GOD with all our hearts! We must prove and KNOW that the personal God of Abraham does hear and answer prayer. Revealing His attitude toward our prayers, God speaks of His people Israel in Hosea 7:14: "Though it was I who redeemed them, they have lied unto me; they never put their HEART into their prayers" [Moffat Translation]. Once you have absolutely PROVED the true God's existence and active power — and the Bible as His direct revelation to man — a second vital "key" to prayer is to fervently "seek" God with your whole being — and to put your whole HEART into your prayers!
Vital Steps to Take
Simple but very important steps are prerequisite to this. Notice Jesus Christ's instruction on prayer in Matthew 6:5-13. First, as he taught in verse 5, don't pray to be seen of men — or get the idea that public or "family" prayer is enough. Jesus always emphasized private prayer. Second, do NOT employ standard, repetitious or "memorized" prayers (v. 7). If you are seeking God with your whole BEING, you won't feel the need to repeat or chant some mumbo-jumbo. You will want to talk to God, personally, intelligently and sincerely. Third, Do make provision both for a time and a private place for personal, earnest, fervent and PREVAILING prayer (v. 6): "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, PRAY to thy Father which is in secret...." An additional example of how to apply this is given in Mark 1:35: "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there PRAYED." Here Jesus set the inspired example of spending the first part of His day in prayer — before anything else could interrupt! All of us need to set aside specific times for prayer — and early in the morning should DEFINITELY be one of these times! Also, we see by the above example, Jesus went out to a private place for prayer. He was alone — where He could literally CRY OUT to God with His whole being. This is a vital step. Now let us return to Jesus' instruction in Matthew 6:9-13. Notice that Jesus Himself did not call this the "Lord's Prayer," as men have done, or in any manner encourage His disciples to memorize this particular prayer and repeat it over and over. He had just FORBIDDEN them to do that with other prayers in verse 7. Rather, Jesus said: "After this manner therefore pray ye..." Jesus was not setting down the exact words we should repeat over and over — but outlining the correct approach to God in prayer and the basic things for which we should pray. In that light, then, let us notice this inspired approach to prayer as revealed by Christ.
Jesus' Inspired Prayer Outline
"Our Father which art in heaven. "Jesus came to reveal God as the "Father." For we are to feel a deep sense of personal love and closeness with God who brought us into being, who gives us every good and every perfect gift, who protects, provides for and guides us as we yield to His will — and who intervenes supernaturally if we cry out to Him for help. I'll always remember my dad playing with me, loving me, teaching me, yes — and spanking me — as I grew up to manhood. Once, when I thought I was going to drown, my dad — who had been a champion swimmer in college — churned mightily through the water after me like Tarzan! As a little boy, coming back from family outings or camping trips, I remember my dad picking me up gently out of the car after I had fallen asleep on the long drive home and murmuring to me encouragingly as I whimpered in a half wakened condition, then carrying me into the house and putting me gently to bed. I can remember comforting me when I was sick. And teaching, exhorting and correcting me when I was well. This true exemplification of the love and compassion of a father is multiplied an infinite number of times when we come to know the real living GOD — who truly is "our Father" to those who know and serve Him! Our deep respect and awe for our Heavenly Father should be TOTAL — for He is not affected by the human weaknesses and mistakes with which all our earthly fathers have been encumbered. We must come to God, as "our Father." We must talk with Him, fellowship with Him — show our appreciation for what He has done for us and for all men — and in believing love, ask His help, guidance and blessing.
Learn to Praise God
"Hallowed be thy name." As we begin our prayers, we should not only address and think of God as "our Father" but begin by praising and hallowing His name — His office — His character — His beneficence. Notice how David — a man after God's own heart — addressed God in prayer: "I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower" (Ps. 18:1-2). Again: "I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being" (Ps. 104:33). This attitude of praise, worship and adoration is something that draws our attention to the true God and enlarges our own human faculties to appreciate and fully sense the great Being with whom we are in contact and to whom we are praying as "our Father."
Learn the MEANING of God's Kingdom
"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." This section of Jesus' prayer outline is perhaps the most overlooked and MISUNDERSTOOD of all. For praying "thy kingdom come" is asking that God's literal GOVERNMENT be set up on this earth through the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords! It is praying and longing for the time when God's holy and righteous LAW — as embodied in the Ten Commandments — will be the actual standard for daily life everywhere. It is asking that God's character — His law — His love — be written in our hearts and minds here and now in preparation for a part in the coming world government. It is yearning and aching for the time when real PEACE will be restored — when the desert will blossom forth as a rose. Then there will be no more starvation and want — in the prophesied time of "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). If you are not familiar with the Bible concept of "thy kingdom come," then read our free article: "Just What is the Kingdom of God?" This section of your personal prayers, of course, will normally be the longest and most detailed. Here you should ask God to help you understand and SURRENDER to His will — the will of your very Creator! You should ask Him to help you study and understand the Bible. You should ask God for His divine help in bearing the "fruits" of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance or, better translated, SELF-CONTROL (Gal. 5:22-23). Through prayer, study, meditation and the exercise of His spiritual help, learn to express the love, the affection, the praise, the obedience, the service and the sense of adoration which you should have and feel toward your "Father" who sits at the controls of this universe in heaven. Ask Him for — and exercise — these spiritual attributes. Also, ask His help, inspiration and guidance in expressing the love, joy, warmth and affection which you should to all your fellow men. Ask Him to help you be longsuffering and gentle. Ask for meekness and humility and for the power of SELF-CONTROL over your temper, weaknesses and lusts! Beseech God to help you yield your will to Him and to grow spiritually so that you may say with the Apostle Paul: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of [not merely in] the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). Ask God for this living FAITH of Jesus Christ to trust God totally — to KNOW that His way and His law is right — and that He stands behind and backs up His will, His laws and His promises to those who serve Him! Through fervent prayer — through this type of earnest meditation, surrender and study of your Bible — learn to literally WALK WITH GOD as did Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Christ. When you pray "thy Kingdom come," understand the meaning of what you are asking, and do your part that the tremendous MEANING of this request may become a reality in the future government of this earth, in the lives of all men everywhere and in your own personal life, character and spiritual growth and power.
Ask for Your Needs — and Confess Your Weaknesses
"Give us this day our daily bread." Although certainly not put first, this request is necessary — and we can sincerely ask God to supply our daily needs as long as we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). In these personal requests, you can break down the details to fine points and ask God to guide you to do your part. Then believingly ask Him to intervene where necessary that you may live the kind of life you ought in order to be a "light" to others. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." All of us need to sincerely recognize and REPENT of our sins, our shortcomings and our innate REBELLION against the laws of God and man! Too many modern religionists seem fearful of facing up to this reality, but looking our real problems in the face — acknowledging them and, through God's help, TURNING AWAY from them is the only real solution. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." In this passage, the original Greek is more correctly rendered: "Bring us not into sore trial, but deliver us from the Evil One." For God tempts no man (Jas. 1:13), but He DOES permit us to fall into trials and troubles of our own or Satan the Devil's devising if we are not keeping close to Him and seeking His help and guidance. Knowing the deceitfulness of our human nature, we should pray regularly as did Jeremiah, "O Lord, CORRECT me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing" (Jer. 10:24). Learn to sincerely ask God that — if you can't learn a needed lesson any other way — He will rebuke and CHASTEN you, correct you, fashion you and mold you, and make you fit to live FOREVER in His Kingdom!
Close With Praise and Adoration
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen." As Jesus' inspired outline of prayer begins with praise and adoration of God, so does it close. This reminds us, again, to whom we are praying and the CHARACTER and OFFICE Of the true God who rules over the nations of men! A wonderful example of this inspired instruction regarding the opening and closing of a prayer is found in the prayer of Daniel when he cried out for the deliverance of the people of Judah (Dan. 9:3-19). Notice how Daniel began: "O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled..." (vs. 4-5). Again, notice the heartfelt appeal to God which Daniel made at the close of this fine prayer — a prayer which was heard and ANSWERED! "O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name" (vss. 18-19). Not only praising God's name, His office and authority, but having this right ATTITUDE of total repentance, submission and obedience — this is an-other vital "key" to answered prayer! Close your prayers with a sincere acknowledgment — in a spirit of worship — that all real and lasting GLORY and POWER belongs to God — and that the right to all government, authority and kingship belongs to Him who CREATED us all in the first place! If you wish for a more detailed explanation of when, how, where and how long — plus seven conditions to in-sure answered prayers — read our free article: "The Answer to Unanswered Prayer!" You will find it most helpful. So request it — study it — and use it! To live life to its fullest, to have the divine help of the true God who LIVES and RULES, you need to PROVE His existence and active power — to BELIEVE Him as you pray — to put your whole HEART into seeking and crying out to the God of Jesus Christ — and to follow the inspired outline of prayer given by the Son of God! Do this! You will have answers and intervention in your personal life such as you may never have dreamed possible in a mixed-up world where the true God of the Bible often seems so far away.