Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pray Like a Christian - How to Pray with Confidence

There is a reason that the Apostle Paul urges Christians to be "praying at all times" and to "pray without ceasing." (Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17). Prayer is the pulse of faith. If you aren't praying, it's like your faith is flat-lining on the operating table. Prayer connects you with God, anchoring your mind on your Father and Savior.

This is crucial to your spiritual life (which is really the core of your entire life):
  • Prayer is one of the primary ways we experience God. How else will we connect with an  invisible God who we cannot simply touch with our hands or hear with our own ears? When you don't pray, God feels distant. It is very difficult to have a fulfilling, comforting relationship with someone who feels distant and unreachable. Prayer connects us. It's like checking in during the day with someone you love by phone, text, or e-mail. Your closeness to people is fostered by how often you interact with each other. So it is with God.
  • Prayer strengthens faith and keeps us focused. One of our biggest weaknesses is that the physical things we see and hear and feel around us seem like the definition of reality to us. We struggle to believe that God, whom we cannot see, is able to change the things we see. An angry boss, an empty bank account when more checks still have to clear, a broken friendship, the test results showing cancer - all of these things seem vivid and solid and undeniable. It is difficult to envision God as forceful and powerful enough to simply change or remove them. There is a difference between saying you believe God is able to do all things, and feeling the reality that God can actually overpower these physical forces and cause them to be changed. Prayer plugs us in to the spiritual power grid and reminds us that there is an unseen reality that is far more potent, vast, and inexhaustible than anything we see. It puts our focus on God and His greatness instead of on what surrounds us.
  • Prayer reminds us who we are. One of the most influential things about prayer is that it reminds us that we are children with a strong, loving, generous Father who looks after our needs. Our dependence on God in prayer when we ask for what we need serves to put life back into perspective. We are not strong and inexhaustible and self-sufficient enough to stand on our own - but we are also not left on our own. When you realize that everything you are facing is not you against the world, but you following along at your Dad's side while He sorts out the problems and responsibilities of life, you realize life isn't that big and intimidating after all. And it begins to seem like the most natural thing in the world to just ask Him to fix this or that and to help you reach the things you can't.
Prayer brings God into focus and puts the world back into perspective. It is exhausting and discouraging to try to tackle life when the world seems big and solid and inescapable and God seems vague and unclear. Confidence grows from seeing God clearly in all His strength and greatness and irresistible power and seeing the troubles and needs of life as small things littered around His feet like so many toys. God is strong, and He is Our Father. That's the way He created things to be. He intends for us to depend on Him and to draw on His strength and resources for our needs.

This is a secret of confidence in prayer: you don't have to feel strong to be strong. The strength is God's, and it is ready and waiting to be used. Even when our prayers seem weak and feeble and dismayed, we can take courage and confidence in the fact that even the most timid plea for help is met by the awesome and unlimited power and love of our Father in Heaven. You don't have to feel something powerful happening inside of you when you pray. You only need to trust that God is powerful when He acts. We have confidence because the power of prayer is based not on our contribution, but on the power of the One who answers it.

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