Prayer has been called “The greatest privilege ever given to man”, “Asking and receiving”, “Talking to God”. Think about it - we are given the privilege of talking to Him who created us, at any time, about anything! “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
And what amazes me is our prayers will make a difference (often a big difference) in our lives and others today, tomorrow and the day following! God has so ordained that man’s prayers can change the outcome of bad situations and make a good situation better, and for the glory of God. “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.” (James 5:17-18) Some Christians believe it is wrong to pray about the weather; they will say it comes from God so we must accept it. Well, Elias (Elijah) does not agree! God allowed his prayers to change the weather, and the prayer of Moses to save an entire nation! (Exodus 32:9-14) I certainly do not claim the power of an Elijah or Moses, but Elijah is given as an example of prayer in the above passage and we are told that he was “a man subject to like passions as we are”. The men and women of God in the Bible were not super humans, or without sin. They had their faults, but God worked miracles through their prayers.
There are things God will not give us if we will not ask for them!
“Ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2). There are some things you could have had already in your life, or some that God will never give you because you will not ask Him for them, so, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” Why haven’t you asked God? You don’t want to get your heart right with God? You forgot? Lack of faith?
For some, it’s pride that keeps them from asking God. “I don't need any help,” is their attitude. Many people get through life without God’s help, but that’s a low level to live on! When we get to heaven, the last thing I would want to hear is, “See all these things I wanted to give you while you were on earth, but you forgot to ask for them!” If I do not receive something from God, I don’t want it to be because I didn’t ask for it. It’s amazing to me how many people pray daily to God, praise Him, even ask Him for their daily “list” of things, but forget to share with God what is really bothering them.
If God says, No, to your request then praise Him anyway, but ask! There is a passage of scripture in Joshua 15:18-19 where Caleb’s daughter had received some land from her father, but it was a dry land without water. She said, “Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.” She was not afraid to ask. If you have the thought, “I should just be satisfied with what I have and not bother anyone,” then you may end up with a south land with no water on it! True, this would be better than no land at all, but why not have both? Notice she did not ask for one spring but for “springs”, and her father gave her at least four (see vs. 19). When she asked, she could have said, “May I have a spring?” But hey, if you’re going to ask, then ask for “springs”! If we are going to ask just for our own selfishness or self interest, then yes, that would be wrong. I also do not want to imply we should be ungrateful with what we have in this life. But I thought we were in this for our Lord and getting souls saved, and if money and buildings will help accomplish this, then ask God for them! (The above paragraph was taken from the website True Christian Short Stories, also by G. M. Matheny, called “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” = http://www.truechristianshortstoriesfreebygmmatheny.com/ldquoye-have-not-because-ye-ask-notrdquo.html)
Some think it is a sin to ask for anything for ourselves, or we are to only to ask for one thing for ourselves and most of our prayer is to be for others. But Jabez prayed and asked for four things for himself (I Chronicles 4:9-10) and the Bible says “God granted him that which he requested”, and the Bible also says, “Jabez was more honourable than his brethren”. Yes, we should pray for others, and also ourselves! Jabez’s brothers did not receive the things that he did because they did not ask! There are many people that could receive much more in their lives, but they do not ask for it! Perhaps some have had the thought, “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t want to bother the Lord”, or pray, “Lord, I only want one thing.” Well our Heavenly Father is not broke, and He wants to give to His children, but “ye have not, because ye ask not”!
God always answers prayer; Yes, or No or Wait. We are to determine what God’s will is and pray for it! “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (I John 5:14-15) We are not to tell God what plans we have that He is to bless, but ask Him which of our plans He wants, and what plans He has for us in our lives. Even Christ prayed “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
It was the norm to pray every night and day in the New Testament times (I Timothy 5:5, II Timothy 1:3). Sometimes prayers are to be “fervent”, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) As you can see from this verse, some people’s prayers “availeth much” more than others; namely, those of “a righteous man”.
I enjoy prayer, but there are times when it is a spiritual battle to pray (Acts 16:16-18). “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12). “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12) Prayer is sometimes work (“laboring”). The Bible says that the night Christ was betrayed “being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Christ also prayed all night (Luke 6:12), and expected His disciples to pray for an hour “that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:40-41). I do not pray an hour each day, but unless some fervent praying is accomplished, little will be done spiritually. There are short prayers in the Bible, as when Peter was about to drown and said, "Lord save me", but if need be, I would rather pray for two hours than to worry about something for two weeks! Anna the prophetess, at 84 years of age, is the oldest recorded person in the New Testament. (Luke 2:36-37) It has been suggested that the reason God let her live so long was because He could not find anyone else who would do what she did - “served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”
Prayer needs to be taught. “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) We should be willing to pray the way He wants. It is rare to hear any teaching on “labouring fervently” in prayer; instead, today senseless repetitions are in vogue, but for all the good they do one might as well record the prayer on a tape recorder and then play it back each time he wants to pray. Why? Because Jesus said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen….” (Matthew 6:7) This was said just before Christ gave what has become known as the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed….” I mean no disrespect; I prayed this prayer thousands of times in my youth, but the Bible says, “use not vain repetitions”! Can you imagine what your relationship would be like with your friend if every day you repeated the exact same words? “Good morning! How are you? Nice weather we are having. Hope to see you tomorrow, good bye” “Good morning! How are you? Nice weather we are having. Hope to see you tomorrow, good bye” “Good morning! How are you? Nice weather we are having. Hope to see you tomorrow, good bye” “Good morning! How are you? Nice weather we are having. Hope to see you tomorrow, good bye” “Good morning! How are you? Nice weather we are having. Hope to see……………………” Talk to God! It is the greatest privilege ever given to man! When Christ taught this prayer He said “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven….” (Matthew 6:9) After this “manner”, or model we are to pray. There are many prayers recorded in the Bible both before and after Christ gave this, yet no one in the Bible ever prayed this prayer! Or at least no one ever prayed it word for word, “vain repetitions”, but believers did pray these basic principles: praising God “Hallowed be thy name”, seeking God’s will “Thy will be done”, asking for their needs “Give us this day our daily bread”, confessing their sins “And forgive us our debts”, and to steer clear of problems “And lead us not into temptation”.
The position of your body and hands has importance, but there are many different acceptable ways given in the Bible. Some are standing, fleeing, fighting, lying flat on the ground, and the most common is to kneel, but bowing our heart is more important to God than bowing your body. The position of your body as well as your heart shows humility in front of God, and keeps us from making God “our good buddy.” When the Bible says we were to lift up holy hands, it does not say over our heads. It is an expression for prayer; people the world over do not put their hands in their pockets when they pray. Of course, it would not be wrong to lift one’s hands over his head, if he felt led to do this, but it is wrong to say you are less spiritual than another if your hands are not above your head.
Unconfessed sin in our lives will keep God from listening to our prayers, “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2) If children will not do what their parents want, can one expect the parents to do what the children want? “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9) And how one treats his wife determines if God will listen to his prayers, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (I Peter 3:7, also Malachi 2:13-14)
When we pray, the Trinity is active (See TRINITY). We address our prayers to “Our Father” (Luke 11:2), in the name of “Jesus” (John 14:13-14, 15:16, 16:23-24), in the “Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Please allow this homely illustration. When one uses a telephone, the phone on the other end will represent the “Father”, the phone one holds in his hand will represent the Son, and the electricity in the telephone wire will represent the Holy Spirit. Praying in the “Spirit”, is using your own language, and trusting the Spirit of God to guide you. The Spirit of God will not make any noise, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26) When we pray, it is good to ask God to bring to our mind things and people to pray for.
Our authority to pray is the name of Jesus Christ, so use His name, as the verses given above state. That’s why we say to God, “I ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ.” We do not come to God asking for things in our name or because of our merits, or in the name of one of the apostles or Mary or any angel, nor did anyone in the Bible pray like this. For there is “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (I Timothy 2:5, see MEDIATOR).
There is nothing too big or small to ask of God, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (I Peter 5:7) “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us….” (Ephesians 3:20) Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“Ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2)
Please pray that God would use this website to help people.
“Ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2)
Please pray that God would use this website to help people.