Have you ever wondered why prayers take so long to be answered? Or maybe you might even have said, “God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers, at all.” Are there perhaps answer blockers? JAMES 4:2 says, “…You do not have, because you do not ask.” Then the Book of 1 John 5:14-15 goes on and says, “And this is the CONFIDENCE (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ASK ANYTHING (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His plan and word), He listens to and hears us.” I capitalize “confidence” and “ask anything” for impact. If we ask anything in our prayers and have a lack of confidence, He will NOT listen to or even hear our prayers. Those are definitely “answer blockers”. John continues to encourage us by getting rid of the BLOCKERS in verse 15: “And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made known.” When I begin to lose heart in receiving answers to my prayers and my confidence is weak, I confess these verses in 1 John with my mouth. Why not just read the verses? Isn’t that good enough? By reading out loud God’s Words, our confidence is increased. The more we meditate on His Word also instills a greater confidence through faith. I often give this definition of FAITH: “A practical expression in the CONFIDENCE of God and His Word.” ALL of this is where we need to start if we are going to get results in our prayer lives. I want to do some real detective work in the my next few BLOGS . The deeper I dig in God’s Word the better the results. The practical expression is displayed. So let’s get started!
If you have your bible near your computer, lets turn to Eph. 6:18 and see what the Apostle Paul tells us regarding our prayer lives.
“PRAY at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with ALL [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To what end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).”
There are some great gems here to be dug up. What kind of prayers are there? “ALL manner of prayer and entreaty” in the Amplified version. “ALL prayer” in the King James and “ALL kinds of prayer” in the N.I.V. The basic divisions of prayers and their corollaries that I found through my detective work can be separated into FOUR groups:
#1— PRAYERS THAT CHANGE THINGS.
a) Prayers of agreement. b) Prayers of faith through the WORD. c) Prayers of petition. d) Prayers of “binding” and “loosing”. e) Prayers of intercession. f) Prayers of being united.
#2—PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE.
#3—PRAYERS OF DEDICATION AND/OR CONSECRATION. (Example: 1 Kings 8 Solomon’s prayer in dedication of the temple).
#4—PRAYERS OF CASTING YOUR CARES. 1 Peter 3:7 reference: “In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman a [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]
Let’s look next, at the aspects of getting results in prayer; individually and in the House (our churches). First I want to look at FERVENT or EARNEST PRAYER. Webster’s definition of the word FERVENT says, “Marked by great intensity of feeling; zealous; to go on resolutely or stubbornly, in spite of opposition. Have you ever prayed like that? Now let’s do some detective work in Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary and look of the word FERVENT, FERVENTLY as a verb: ZEO, “to be hot, to boil”. With intense heat added to water, it reaches boiling point, the water begins to move rapidly. That’s how FERVENT PRAYER is described and how it works in our prayer lives.
Tomorrow we will look at some examples of FERVENT OR EARNEST PRAYER in God’s Word. Have your bibles handy before starting.