Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to Pray Effectively

I struggle sometimes when I hear teachings on how to pray. I have heard teachers that say as long as two people agree in prayer we will have what we ask for. Now this is based on scripture,

Matthew 18:19
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
So that thinking is biblical, but I think it can be abused. I think about other scriptures such as this one:

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

This tells me what I need to focus on is seeking God, His kingdom and His righteousness, not what I can "get out of" God. He knows my needs. Now I believe in asking God for what I need for sure.

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."

Matthew 6:5-15
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Genesis 20:17-18
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech's household because of Abraham's wife Sarah.
So, why is all this on my mind today? Yesterday we found out that we have to start paying on our student loans from college. We already barely make it with the rising costs of groceries, gas, and well...everything. Now we have to come up with $200 a month we don't have starting next month. Yesterday I was devastated. I have admitted before that I realize that reactions like this show my lack of faith. You know what encouraged me? My husband. He believes with all his heart that he needs to be the one to get a second job because my job is here at home with the kids. Oh, this isn't what encouraged me. What encouraged me is that with that in mind - he was the one not worried and peaceful. Basically he was saying that he was shouldering the burden and yet it was me that was falling apart. So I let that peace sink into my heart as well. Today I will admit the concern is still there, but I am not worrying and allowing myself to stay upset. Instead I am using my energies to talk to God about our problem. I do not ever want to treat God like a vending machine, like some teachings suggest. They say that if you pray correctly you get what you want. To me that reduces God to nothing short of a vending machine. But I know God knows all my needs, and I can give Him all my burdens. I am asking Him to give us wisdom and to meet this need. I don't know how He will do it but I know one thing - God can do anything! Please agree in prayer with me for God to meet all our needs. Thanks!


Rachel said...

I'm praying! :)

Debbie said...

Thank you so much!