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The Secret To Effective Prayer

         To the best of my knowledge, the disciples made only one request of Jesus about what they wanted Him to teach them.  “Lord”, they asked, “teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1-CEB)  They did not ask Him to teach them how to perform miracles, or how to be effective witnesses, or the best way to represent the Kingdom of God.  Instead, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  It seems to me that they were acquainted with the law of cause and effect.   Time and again, they heard him teach and preach with unusual authority; they had seen Him do things the likes of which had never been done before; they were present as he produced miracle after miracle.  At some point, it must have dawned upon them that there must have been a direct connection between the power of Jesus and His practice of prayer.  Therefore, they requested, “Lord,teach us to pray.”

           In response, Jesus does something rather unexpected.  He does not begin by teaching the disciples the best methods for prayer or the proven techniques of prayer or the proper posture to take when we pray.     Instead, Jesus says, “When you pray say, Our Father…”  Immediately, Jesus goes to the very heart of effective prayer by lifting up the nature of the relationship that exist between the One to whom we pray and the one engaged in praying.

Jesus says address God as Father.  Do not address Him as some formal, impersonal, and distant Deity; rather address God as a close and intimate, informal and compassionate, loving and caring Daddy.  Speak to Him like you would speak to a Daddy who takes delight in being in the presence of His children; who will go to whatever lengths necessary to supply the needs of His children; who will leave no stone unturned and no opportunity missed to provide for the best possible life and future for His children.  Prayer is not about the words we say or the posture we take.  Prayer begins when we are acutely aware of the relationship that exists between us and God.  And Jesus is so certain about this being at the center of prayer that He instructs us,  “Ask and you will receive.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you.  Everyone who ask, receives.  Whoever seeks, finds.  To everyone will be opened to you.  Everyone who ask, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. To everyone who knocks, the door is opened.” (Luke 11:9-10-CEB).

Suppose, then, the very next time we pray, we take a moment to think about the Father that we are approaching.  We are approaching “Our Father” who is determined to make His love for us known to us; who desires to give us good gifts; who is willing to die simply for the privilege of being in our presence.  Suppose we are aware that this is the God to whom we pray.  If we do, the chances are very good that we will discover that “…with God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26-CEB)

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4 comments to The Secret To Effective Prayer

  • bjh

    When I pray, I say Thank You! Then I acknowledge that with God — my Lord, our Mother, our Father, my Everything — all things are possible. Our relationship does, indeed, exist.

    Thank You, Lord!

  • I saw this when I searched on Google what if God dissapoints us and I came across this, I’m at a stage in my life where I seriously believe that God doesn’t care anymore! I Pray, I fast but whatever it is that I try never works this is the 7th year after I finished school, I just tried to register a company and I really wanted to do something its only failure that I see I’m really tired, God is constantly ignoring me. I’m afraid I might loose my life what the point living without God having that relationship with me that he promised. I don’t know why I’m even texting here, I’m so frustrated.

  • gary

    I was once a born-again evangelical Christian who for years prayed for God to speak to me in my heart, as I had been promised he would. He never did. God never spoke to me in a still, small voice. God never “moved” me or “led” me. I finally blamed myself for God’s refusal to speak to me and left the Church. Now that I am older, I have had time to look at the evidence, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem wasn’t me…it was God.

    Here is the evidence I found:

    Disease and Illness: Christians have the same rates of disease and illness as non-Christians. Jesus doesn’t seem to answer prayers for healing. The percentage of non-Christians, including atheists, who recover from illness is the same as that of Christians. Christians who claim that they were healed due to prayer cannot prove that their healing was not due to some other factor, such as the medication that their doctor was giving them or pure coincidence. If Jesus really heals people due to prayer, Christians should have a much higher healing rate. They don’t.

    Death rates: The average life span of Christians is no better than that of non-Christians, including atheists.

    Accident rates: Christians have just as many accidents as non-Christians. There is no evidence that Jesus provides any better protection for Christians behind the wheel than non-Christians, including atheists. So asking Jesus to keep you and your family safe on your road trip doesn’t seem to be of any benefit.

    Job promotion: Is there any evidence that Christians are promoted in their jobs more often than non-Christians? I doubt it. Praying to Jesus to give you that promotion or that raise that your family really and truly needs doesn’t seem to work.

    Food poisoning: Most Christians pray before every meal for God to bless their food. However, no study I am aware of indicates that Christians have fewer incidences of food poisoning or that Christians are healthier than non-Christians. Jesus doesn’t seem to respond to prayers for “blessing” food.

    Child Safety: This is a big one for most Christian parents. We pray to Jesus to keep our children safe. Studies, however, demonstrate that the rate of accidents, injuries, disease, and death among the children of Christians is no different than the rates for the children of non-Christians. Praying to Jesus to keep your children safe is not effective.

    Now, maybe it isn’t God’s will for Christians to have lower disease rates, lower death rates, lower accident rates, lower food poisoning rates, lower child injury rates, and higher job promotion rates. But get this: Christians, and even evangelical Christians, have the same divorce rate as non-Christians! So either evangelical Christians are not praying to Jesus regarding their selection of a life partner (which I don’t believe for a second) or Jesus isn’t listening.

    Or just maybe…Jesus isn’t there.

  • Thank you Gary for taking the time to read this blog. It seems to me that you did a great deal of research as part of your response. As best as I can tell nowhere does God promise anyone that He will help them avoid any of the bad things that come with life, even if we pray that He will or believe He should. He is not our personal genie who gives us whatever we ask because we ask it. Nor does He promise anyone who puts their faith in Him that their lives will be free of any hurt harm or danger. His greatest promise is that He will be with us no matter what the circumstances or the situation (even if we have concluded that He is not present or He does not care).
    The greatest things I have learned about God and from God are the things I learned at the worst times of my life. It is impossible to know how bright the light of God is unless you have been in deep darkness: you cannot know what it is like to find your way out of trouble unless you have known what it is like to have no way out.
    The issue is never that bad things happen to us: the real issue is how we will respond to them. And I have discovered in the worst of times, only God could have gotten me through even thou I thought I was in it all by myself.
    I wish for you the God that I have come to know.

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