I’m so glad you’re here! Because I (Sarah) am an expert on prayer! ….. lol #jk In all seriousness I truly am glad you’re here, but I’m no expert on prayer. You may wonder why in the world I would write on the topic, then. Here’s the deal… Sometimes I just want to know how to do something, and experience has shown me that when I have a question there’s at least one other person with the same question.
This blog was written because I frequently question if God listens to me when I pray. Sometimes I pray, and it feels like I’m talking to the wall. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I pray and within minutes I have an answer. But that’s rare. I wanted to know how to pray and KNOW God is listening, so I’m certain at least one other person out there wants to know it too. If that’s you, then I’m so excited to share what I’ve been learning with you ❤️
Before we jump in, I want to be clear. What I’m going to share with you just barely scratches the surface of what we can learn about prayer from the Bible. There are a plethora of verses, and even more books, that have been written on the topic. I’ll share some additional resources for you to check out at the end of the blog, but my prayer is that whatever I share will light a little spark in you that’ll make you want to know more. The best thing you can do is take this information and do your own research.
Look up these verses on your own, and see what God wants to speak directly to you. The cool thing about God’s word is that it’s alive and active. You and I could read the exact same passage and get two completely different things out of it because of where we’re at and what we’re dealing with. God knows exactly what you need to hear, and He’ll speak to you though his word. Trust me. Reading the Bible is the coolest!
Ok buckle up, because here we go. Do you want to know if God hears you? Well, here’s what the Bible says.
GOD LISTENS TO:
- The godly person who does his will. – John 9:31
- The prayers of the righteous. – 1 Peter 3:12
- Those who call on Him. – Jeremiah 29:12
- Those who are humble + repentant. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
GOD DOES NOT LISTEN TO:
- Sinners. – John 9:31
- Those who do evil. – 1 Peter 3:12
- People who don’t listen to the Lord’s instructions. – Proverbs 28:9
Moral of the story…?? If you want to make sure God is truly listening to you, then examine your heart. Are you humble? Do you regularly seek to do His will? Do you truly love Jesus? Then odds are, even if you don’t feel like it, God’s listening.
Do you read the Bible and think it’s a bunch of hogwash? Does God say things in the Bible that you don’t like to hear, so you just avoid those parts? That may not be a great way to get God’s ear.
The good thing is, from what I’ve read of the Bible, it seems like we can always go from the second category into the first. I know for me there was a time where I was doing my own thing and was completely fine with it. God’s word would tell me to do one thing (or not do one thing) and I’d gladly go the other way.
Then, one day everything changed. If you’ve felt like there’s been a wedge between you and God and it’s because of the life you’ve been living, then remember 2 Chronicles 7:14. God definitely hears the prayers of the humble and repentant.
WHAT GOD WANTS US TO PRAY FOR:
- For God to send workers into the harvest field. – Matthew 9:38
- People who mistreat us. – Luke 6:28
- That we won’t fall into temptation. – Luke 22:40
- For the message about Jesus to be proclaimed. – Colossians 4:3
- People who confess their sins to us. – James 5:16
Does that mean we don’t pray for little Johnny’s lost toy? Absolutely not! We pray for #allthethings in our house because I want my kids to know that God is the first person we go to when we need help. I can’t give you a specific verse on the matter, but when I read scripture it seems like this viewpoint is in line with the character of Jesus.
Stubbed toe? Pray. Hurt feelings? Pray. Scary dream? Pray. Pray. Pray.
However, sometimes we get so caught up in our own needs (I’m guilty of this too) that we forget about some of the things that God really views as important. In your prayers, are you asking God to send workers out to spread the gospel? Are you asking for the message about Jesus to be shared both locally and globally? When someone offends you on facebook do you pray for them?
I think we could all do better in this area. Prayer is a great way to get out of our own world and remember God’s also at work “out there.”
HOW GOD WANTS US TO PRAY:
- Humbly. From the heart. Not because we want people to think we’re good pray-ers. – Matthew 6:5-8
- Without anger or dispute. – 1 Timothy 2:8
- The Lord’s prayer. – Matthew 5:9-13
- This is a prayer for our Christian family. – Colossians 1:9
I like to pray in all different ways, but my two favorites are:
- Just honestly whatever is on my heart. I open my mouth and whatever comes out comes out.
- Praying Scripture.
If you look at the verses listed under ‘PRAYER TEMPLATES,’ then you’ll see first the prayer that Jesus instructed us to pray. You can recite it directly from the Bible, word for word, or you can take a look at the concepts Jesus lists there, and pray for those things in your own words.
Second, you could take any scripture, but for this example we’ll use Colossians 1:9 and pray those words for someone specific. Here’s what that would look like:
God, I ask you to fill Evan with the knowledge of your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
Before we end, I want to be clear… there’s no magic formula.
Sure, we can (and should) look to the Bible for guidance, but don’t get caught up in praying exactly the right things. God isn’t looking for perfectly scripted + worded prayers. He’s looking for our hearts.
"For now, do not worry about 'proper' praying, just talk to God. Share your hurts, share your sorrows, share your joys--freely and openly. God listens in compassion and love, just like we do when our children come to us. He delights in our presence. When we do this, we will discover something of inestimable value. We will discover that by praying we learn to pray." (Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, p. 12-13)
We’re all at different places in our faith journey. Some of us are just getting started with prayer. If that’s you, here’s what you need to know… It’s ok for your prayers to be a bit of a mess. We’ve all been there. If you feel awkward, just open your mouth and say, “Hey God. Never really done this before, as you already know because you’re… God. So, I guess I’m just gonna give this a shot. If I say something weird… I’m sorry.” And then just talk.
Side note: I would highly recommend you pray out loud. Praying in your head is ok, but praying out loud is (in my opinion) a better way to feel like you’re actually talking to someone else and not to yourself.
And that’s it for now! Did you learn something new in this blog? I’d love to hear about it! And if you have any other scriptures or prayers that I didn’t touch on please share those as well. We’re all learning here and it’s 100% better when we’re all learning together!
Because there’s a better way,
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