PRAYER THAT IS PLEASING TO GOD
God is a God of relationships. He created us to worship Him and have fellowship with Him. Prayer is a vital key to that relationship.
How do we approach God?
We all tend to bring our lists of wants and needs to God, but the Bible instructs us that we are to approach God FIRST with thanksgiving and praise:
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. (Psalm 100:4)
Spend some time praising God for who He is and thanking Him for all the things that He has already done for you. This is pleasing to God. Don’t go to God empty-handed. Take your gift of praise and thanks.
Prayer should be a priority:
Prayer should not be a “last resort” when you are in trouble. You should cultivate a powerful prayer life with God. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).
Jesus spent a great amount of time in prayer and went off by himself. 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).
If Jesus placed a priority on prayer, shouldn’t we?
How are we to pray?
**We are to pray in faith.**
Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them. (Mark 11:24)
This is a key scripture. Notice that you believe when you pray, not when you see the results. You believe that you receive the answer when you pray. This is also called “walking by faith and not by sight.” If you have to see the results of your prayer before you will believe, that is not faith. It doesn’t require any faith to believe once you have seen the end results. Remember, it is faith that pleases God.
·Always pray in the name of Jesus. It is Jesus who gives you the right to approach God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”. (John 16:23-24) We can approach God through prayer, not because of our own merits, but because of what Jesus has done on our behalf.
·Ask God to forgive you of your sins. It is important to ask for forgiveness and to repent of your sins (turn from your sins). God is willing and able to forgive you for all of your past sins.
·Make sure that you do not have unforgiveness in your heart. The Bible says when we are praying, if we have any unforgiveness toward another, we are to take care of that first and then come to God with our prayers.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” (Mark 11:25).
We are to forgive others freely, just as the Lord has forgiven us freely (Luke 11:4).
We are also to seek forgiveness if we have offended someone:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24). We are to do what we can to live in peace with one another. That includes asking others for forgiveness of our sins.
·We are to approach the throne of God with confidence because Jesus stands “in the gap” for us.
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
**Pray according to God’s will:**
How do you know if a request is God’s will? There are many reasons why it is important to study the Bible, and this is one of the key reasons. When you know God’s will (God’s word), you will know how to pray. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15).
Find several scriptures that support the request you are making. Get a Christian friend or a “promise book” to help you find scriptures. You can also look in the topical index in the back of your Bible for help.
Remember, always approach God first with thanksgiving and praise. Then present your request(s) to Him. Then thank Him for answering your prayer. Stand in faith, believing that God has answered your prayer
Here are some examples of prayer, based on God’s word for certain situations:
**Situation – You need work:**
“Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus and ask that you will provide a good paying job for me. Lord, I would like this type of work ____(be specific) but would appreciate any work that you would find pleasing. I know that it is your will that we should work and you promise to provide all of my needs. Father I ask for wisdom to do my part in searching for this job and I ask for your favor and blessing on all to which I put my hand. I ask that you will open a good door for me and close any door that would harm me or not be pleasing to you. Thank you Father, that you hear my prayers and have granted my request. I thank you Father for loving me and providing for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
**Situation – You are in debt or need additional resources:**
“Father, I come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus and ask that you would help me with my debt situation. (If you have not been responsible with money, you may add “Father, forgive me for not being a good steward of the resources you have given me.”) Father, I ask that you will provide what I need to pay my bills and show me how to be responsible in this situation. Lord I pray for wisdom that I will know how to handle my debts, budgeting, spending, etc. I pray that you will increase my income. I thank you that you supply all of my needs according to your riches in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 4:19). I know that you love me and care for me. I thank you that you are my Good Shepard and that you are watching over all of my affairs. Please help me to walk in your wisdom and discernment. Father, I welcome your correction and discipline in this area of finances. I want to be a good steward of all that you give me. Thank you Father. I believe that you are answering this prayer request (Mark 11:24) and I stand in faith as I watch you work in my situation. I promise to be obedient to your instructions in this matter. I thank you for helping me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
What if you have a decision to make and are not sure of God’s will, say for example, you have a job offer and you don’t know if it’s God’s will to accept the job. Here is an example of an appropriate prayer:
“Father, I thank you for Your great love and provision for me. Father, I want to do everything according to your will and your good plan for my life. I ask for wisdom and discernment as to whether or not to take this position that has been offered. Your word says that we can ask you for wisdom and you will give it liberally ( James 1:5). Thank you, in Jesus’ name.
The Bible also tells us to seek godly counsel. You may want to seek mature Christians to discuss your job opportunities and ask them to help you.
**Speak to the problem.**
Jesus tells us to do several things in Mark 11:22-24:
Jesus said “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
First we are to have faith in God. We need to trust Him more than anything or anyone. We are to speak to the mountain (the problem, the sickness, the lack) and command it to move, but we are not to doubt but believe. That sounds a bit odd, but Jesus used this principle many times in His ministry. He spoke to a storm and commanded it to be still. He spoke to a fig tree that didn’t bear fruit and the tree withered and died. Jesus is giving us instructions that we are to speak to our mountains (our problems, our sickness) and we will have the same results as Jesus if we believe and do not doubt. We are to believe that what we have spoken and prayed have been accomplished ~ that we have received it. This will require that you stand in faith before you see the results.
**MAGNIFY GOD AND NOT YOUR PROBLEM!**
Most of us tend to magnify our problems. When we focus on the problem, it becomes the object of our attention. That focus turns to worry and anxiety, even depression. The Bible tells us to magnify God (Psalm 34:3). You may be familiar with the story of David and Goliath (1st Samuel, 17:4). David was facing a giant. All the other military men were terrified of Goliath and refused to fight him ~ they were focused on Goliath’s great size and strength. Young David arrived and began to magnify God, remembering how God had come through for him in the past so that God appeared larger to David than Goliath. God is ALWAYS larger and more powerful than any problem you face.
**THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF ALL:**
(Have you made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior???)
Many people identify themselves as “Christian”, but yet they have never entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The first step is to recognize that you are a sinner (…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…Romans 3:23)
Do you want to be forgiven of your sins?
The Bible tells us that the consequences of sin will be death (…the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23).
Jesus went to the cross to pay our sin debt. (…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day…. 1st Corinthians 15:3-4).
Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life and heart? If so, pray the following:
Heavenly Father, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus died for my sins on the cross and has paid my sin debt in full. I believe Jesus was raised from the dead. I want Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I will turn from my sinful life and will follow Him. Lord, help me to live a life that is pleasing to you. Jesus, I receive you now as my Lord and Savior.
In Jesus name, Amen.
If you have just prayed that prayer, congratulations! The Bible says you have now been adopted into God’s family (John 1:12). We encourage you to find a church that teaches the Bible in its entirety.