Three Reasons to Pray

Praying Together 2021
August 1, 2021
James Henrich

Our Heavenly Father listens to us when we pray. Really. God has time for you!
 
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” (1 Peter 3:12a ESV)

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” (Proverbs 15:29 ESV)

“I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” (Psalm 66:17-19 ESV)

God listens to our prayers! Amazing! But perhaps in the above Scripture (Ps. 66:18) you noticed a condition. Isaiah repeats it: “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isa. 59:2 ESV). Do you cherish iniquity in your heart? Do you rationalize and excuse the habitual practice of sin? Perhaps anger, lust, envy or something else?  If so, wake up! Quit deceiving yourself! God does not listen to your prayers. First, draw near to Him in honest confession and humble repentance. Turn from your sin and receive His forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9). Then, have this confidence: God hears you when you pray.

Our prayers make a difference! God graciously answers our prayers to achieve His will.
 
“And this is the confidence we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 14-15 ESV).

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10 ESV)

“A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about (i.e., granted by God), can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5: 16b-18 NASB)

God answers prayer that agrees with His will. So, know God’s will. How? By private Bible reading and meditation, by listening well to sermons, by heeding instruction in Bible studies and equipping classes, by seeking godly counsel and advice. Then, conform your prayers to His will. Pray confidently (with faith), daily (with persistence), and expectantly (with hope). Just like Elijah, your prayers can accomplish much!
   
Jesus prayed. If we aspire to be like Him, we’ll pray too!
 
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NIV)

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” (Luke 6:12 NIV).

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV).

God is making us like Jesus. If Jesus expressed humble, reverent submission to God by praying, we will too. Do you aim to be like Jesus? Then pray from a humble heart. Make prayer a priority in your daily schedule. Get up early or stay up late if you must. Quit viewing prayer as a “Christian option.” If Jesus prayed regularly, how is prayer optional for His followers? Be a disciple indeed, and pray!  
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