The Power of Prayer should not be underestimated, it is one of the most powerful things you can do. Prayer is how you turn to God. It is the ask in “Ask and it shall be given”, and it is the knock in “Knock and it shall be opened” (Mat 7:7, Luke 11:9). Prayer literally means to ask and it is the first step to receiving salvation and protection from God.
Returning to God is the overall purpose of Scripture, but first you must ask. Unfortunately, no one seems to know how to pray or what to ask for because it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. You may be thinking, I prayed for this or that and it never happened.
Why aren’t my prayers being answered?
James points out that the reason your prayers aren’t answered is because you are asking for what you want and not for what God wants.
“You ask (pray), and receive not, because you ask (pray) amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts (wants).”James 4:3
The Model Prayer
Thankfully, in the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us exactly how to pray and what to pray for.
Jesus said, “And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues (Churches) and on the street-corners, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
“But you, when you pray, enter into your closet (Mind), and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”Matthew 6:5-6
Prayer is a private conversation between you and God. It is hypocrisy when it is done in public. Think about this the next time you see someone praying aloud. Consider that even if it is not in their heart to be seen of men, if they pray aloud, people may think it is because they prayed that God did a thing. In this way they glorify themselves and not God.
“But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
“Be you not therefore like unto them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.”Matthew 6:7-8
The Lord’s Prayer, which follows this reprimand in Matthew 6:9-15, is also known as the “Our Father” in the Rosary. Praying the Rosary is exactly what is meant by vain repetitious prayer. Even if you are quoting scripture, repeating it over and over again serves no purpose. Just as children recite songs from memory while having no idea what they mean. This is the problem with vain repetitions, the Scriptures become a string of words with no meaning.
Jesus said, “And why call me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do the things which I say?”Luke 6:46
That seems simple enough, don’t chant vain repetitions and keep it between yourself and God.
The Lord’s Prayer
Now let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer that follows in Matthew 6:9-13. Here, Jesus gives as an example of what to pray for.
“After this manner therefore pray: Our Father which is in heaven, Holy is Your Name.”
“Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”Matthew 6:9-10
Notice the request is for God’s will, not your will. If you ask God to do what you want (new house, new car, better job, heal a sick friend), then God would be serving you. As we read earlier, your Father knows what you need before you ask. Jesus here is telling us to ask instead that you may know His will, so that you may serve Him. In this way you may be a part of His Kingdom to come. The next verse tells us how.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”Matthew 6:11
Eat my Words
Jesus was the Word made flesh, who said his flesh is the bread from Heaven which one must eat in order to have life. (cf. John 1:14 and 6:32-58). This is not referring to the to Communion or the Eucharist. The meaning of this is that, to receive spiritual life you must eat spiritual bread which is the Word of God. Bread then, is an allegorical representation of the Word of God. This request is not for physical food but understanding in His Word. Understanding of His Word will give you the ability to keep his Commands.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
Jesus said, “He that does not love me, does not keep my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”John 14:15 & 24
Those who love Jesus will keep his commands which are the words of God.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.”1 John 5:3
The prayer ends with a request for forgiveness and deliverance.
“And forgive us our trespasses (sins), as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”Matthew 6:12-13
In Summary, when you ask for God’s will to be done and that you may eat of the bread of His Word, you will learn what sin is. If you repent and stop sinning, then when you ask for forgiveness and deliverance it will be granted. When this happens, the Kingdom of Heaven will be established fulfilling the will of God.
As you can hopefully see, chanting the Lord’s Prayer is worthless, the power is in the meaning.
The Greatest Prayer
Now we are going to look at what is considered to be the greatest prayer ever spoken.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, ‘Ask (Pray) what I shall give you.’1 Kings 3:5
God, of course, is a reader of hearts and not a genie in a bottle granting wishes. This was a test to find the true desire of Solomon’s heart. This same test is being given to you every time you pray. Imagine what you would ask for if you were given one wish with no limitations. Would it be God’s will or your will?
“And Solomon said, …”
“Give therefore Your servant an understanding heart (mind) to judge (govern, lead) Your people, that I may discern between good and evil: for who is able to judge (govern, lead) this great people of Yours?”
“And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.”
“And God said unto him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life; neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies; but have asked for yourself understanding to discern judgment;”
“Behold, I have done according to your words: lo, I have given you a wise and an understanding heart (mind); so that there was none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like unto you.”
“And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto you all your days.”
“And if you will walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My Commandments, as your father David did walk, then I will lengthen your days.”1 Kings 3:6-14
Solomon asked for understanding that he might discern between good and evil so that he would be able to govern and lead the people of God. This is the same message that we had from Jesus in the gospels, ask that you may be granted the ability to fulfill the will of God. However, once you come to understand the ways of the LORD you must keep them or you will loose even what you thought you had, as happened with Solomon.
Ask in my name
Jesus said, “In that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.”
“Until now have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
“These things have I spoken unto you in parables: but the time comes, when I shall no more speak unto you in parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.”John 16:23-25
What is his Name
Notice that it says ‘whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name’. This is important because it comes back around to not asking for your will but God’s will. As we covered earlier, Jesus is the Word of God, therefore his name or authority is the Word of God. What is being said is ‘whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in His Word, He may give it to you’.
So, whatever you ask/pray of the Father in His Word, He will grant to you. He will give you a wise and understanding heart to discern between good and evil by His Word. And if you keep His ways, statutes and commandments, He will forgive you, lead you out of temptation and deliver you from evil.
This is how and what you should pray for, and the true POWER OF PRAYER.
Jesus said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you in unawareness.”
“For as a snare shall it come on all that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
“Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Adam.”Luke 21:34-36