How Is Your Prayer Life?
By Grant Phillips
A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer when he asked the Lord to create a bridge to Hawaii so he could drive there anytime he wants.
The Lord said, “Your request is very materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of project. The supports would have to reach the bottom of the Pacific. It would take over thousands of miles of steel and concrete. It would be hard for me to justify your desire for such a worldly thing. You need to ask for something else.”
The man thought about it and finally said, “Lord, allow me to understand women. I want to know what they are thinking when they give the silent treatment, why they cry for no apparent reason, what they want when they say ” nothing!” and how to make a woman truly happy.”
The Lord replied, “You want two lanes or four lanes on that bridge!
Prayer is simply talking to God. We primarily listen to Him through His Word He had written down for our benefit. We talk to Him via prayer.
The “prayer” introducing this article is obviously a joke, but is it possible that some of our prayers are just as ridiculous? Now if God wanted to build a bridge from the mainland to Hawaii He could certainly do so, but it ain’t gonna happen. I ask again, is it possible that some of our prayers are just as ridiculous?
The “send me your money now” preachers like to use the next two verses to show that ANYTHING we ask is ours for the taking; wealth, health, prosperity in all forms, but is it true? Read these two verses carefully.
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:24)
Sounds promising! Where’s my checkbook!
The Bible never contradicts itself, so what else does it say about praying? Notice this verse.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
Uh Oh! There it is! We don’t receive because we ask with the wrong motives. A bridge to Hawaii is the wrong motive. An “A” on the test is the wrong motive when we won’t even bother to study. A bass boat in the driveway is the wrong motive.
Jesus said in John 16:24 to ask in His name, but don’t we blaspheme His name when we use it improperly? When we ask with the wrong motives, so that we may spend it on our pleasures, we discredit His name just as much as one would by using His name as a curse word. Isn’t that breaking the third Commandment; “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain?” (Exodus 20:7) It most certainly is.
God is not a genie or tooth fairy to be used for granting wishes. Notice what the Lord says in the next verse. Read it very carefully.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)
If I abide in Him and His words abide in me, THEN I may ask whatever I wish and it will be done, BECAUSE His will and mine will be the same. I won’t be asking for childish, frivolous nonsense in my prayers.
Let’s proceed to another verse.
“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (John 15:16)
Again, if we are bearing fruit for Him, we will be in tune with His will not our will. Under that condition, our prayers will be on a more spiritually mature level, and not the prayers of a child with a Christmas list.
Someone may ask, “How am I to know what to pray for?” I think that question is answered in the next verse.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Wisdom is the ability to correctly use the knowledge we have. God provides us the knowledge we need in the pages of His Word, and as we mature spiritually, wisdom follows.
Does God answer prayer? God most certainly answers the prayers of His children. We may not get the answer we expect, but His response will be better than what we originally asked of Him. I must emphasize that God always listens to the prayers of His children, and wants what is best for us. See Romans 8:26-39. Did you notice in verse 26 the Spirit of God helps us to pray and makes intercession for us?
I have met many Christians over the years that are timid about praying in public. Some are so terrified, they refuse to do so. That tells me right off that their prayer life is practically non-existent. Folks, the only way to be comfortable in prayer is to pray. Praying should be natural for a Christian, but sadly it is not.
My wife and I have found that God has answered many of our prayers, and with some we are still waiting to see what He will do. If your prayers are meant to glorify Jesus, I know of no Biblical reason for your prayers not to be answered. One of the greatest experiences a Christian can have is to see Almighty God moving through our prayers as they bring glory to His Son Jesus.
If you have been stumbling through frivolous prayers, don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. We have all been there, and as long as we are in this body, we will continue to act like spoiled children on occasion. He knows that.
“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” (Psalms 103:14)
Perhaps instead of acting like ‘spoiled’ children with a list of “I wants,” we can come to Him with the simple faith of a child with our needs. We came to Him in faith and He saved us, then surely as His child He is still listening.
There are times my prayers seem shallow. They remind me of a rock skipping along the surface of the water, not reaching any depth. Are you that way sometimes?
How do we get out of the shallows and into the deep waters of prayer? I believe the best way is to get in the Word first.
To hold an intelligent conversation with anyone, whether we are a child or an adult, we must first learn to listen. We listen to God by hearing what He is saying to us in His Word, the Bible. Then we talk to Him by prayer, and Jesus gave us an example to follow in our prayers.
Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ (Matthew 6:9-13)
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Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com