1. Call God "Father".
Galatians 4:6,7 - Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Matthew 5:15 - In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:44-48 - But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 7:11 - If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
2nd Corinthians 6:17,18 - "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
When you call upon the Lord, make sure to call Him, "Father". This makes the relationship personal.
It is all well and good to call Him "Emmanuel", "King of Creation", "Alpha and Omega", and "God of All Heaven", but these titles do not suggest a personal relationship, which is what the Lord is seeking after.
There are times when praising Him with grand and glorious titles is acceptable, but when you are making requests of the Lord, call Him your "Father".
This changes your appeals (as loyal subjects of the King) into personal requests (as favors from a father), and while it may be that He would not have answered you simply based on the merits of your request, He may answer you because you are His Son, and He loves you.
Daniel 9:3 - So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
Joel 2:12 - 'Even now,' declares the LORD,
'return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.'
Luke 2:37 - … She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.
Acts 13:2,3 - While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 14:23 - Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Fasting is a denying of yourself and your needs, your wants, and desires. You are making a statement to God that you will keep your mind on heavenly things, and not focus on the things of this world.
When combined with prayer, it can increase the effectiveness of your ministry.
The disciples were told by Jesus that they would be unable to cast out some kinds of evil spirits unless prayer and fasting were incorporated as a fundamental part of their spiritual lives.
Mark 9:29 - And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
3. Pray Scripture
Insert your name and the names of those you are praying for, into scripture, and pray through the power of the Word of God.
Example: Psalms 51:10-12
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
If you are praying for John Smith, you could pray this scripture in this manner:
Create in John Smith a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within him.
11 Do not cast John from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from him.
12 Restore to that man the joy of your salvation
and grant John Smith a willing spirit, to sustain him.
Personalize your prayers with the Word of God!
4. Worship God
Don't just say "I worship you", or "I praise you", or "You are worthy of glory".
Instead, give Him worship! Praise His Name! Glorify Him! Do it!
Examine this prayer that the Israelites prayed to God, and notice how they did not say "We worship and praise you", but instead gave actual worship and praise to the Lord. They did this by telling the Lord how great He was. They brought up the times in their history when God did great things for them, and they gave thanks to Him for His blessings.
They thanked Him for specific things that He had done for them. There were specific events that were brought before the Lord's attention, times in the past when He had delivered them.
This is worship. This is praise. It is telling God how great He is for the blessings He has bestowed upon us; it is not simply saying the words "Be glorified", or "Be worthy of honor".
Nehemiah 9:5-37 - "Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
7 "You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.
9 "You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. 10 You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. 11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. 12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.
13 "You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. 14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses. 15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.
16 "But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, 'This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,' or when they committed awful blasphemies.
19 "Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. 20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. 21 For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.
22 "You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan. 23 You made their sons as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their fathers to enter and possess. 24 Their sons went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you handed the Canaanites over to them, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased. 25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness.
26 "But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. 27 So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.
28 "But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.
29 "You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
32 "Now therefore, O our God, the great, mighty and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes-the hardship that has come upon us, upon our kings and leaders, upon our priests and prophets, upon our fathers and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today. 33 In all that has happened to us, you have been just; you have acted faithfully, while we did wrong. 34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the warnings you gave them. 35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.
36 "But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our forefathers so they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces. 37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.
We should follow this example, and worship the Lord by praising Him for the many great things He has done. Remind the Lord of His faithfulness to Israel, and thank Him also for the things He has done for you and your family.
This is worship.
5. Thank God For Victory Before It Is Given
Joshua 6:16 - The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!
The Lord had not yet given the Israelites the city of Jericho, but Joshua commanded the people to praise the Lord for the victory!
They were to claim the victory and thank God for it, even before it was given to them.
Judges 7:15 - When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, "Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands."
Joshua told the people that the Midianites had already been given into their hands, even before the battle began.
We should thank God for the victories we are asking Him for, even before He gives them to us. After we ask the Lord for victory in our lives or in the lives of others, we should then believe and act as if He has already given us the victory.
This is an act of faith, and the Bible says in Matthew 17:20,21, that "…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
These are the kinds of effective prayers we want in our lives. Thanking God for the victory before it has been given can help strengthen us spiritually, and cause the power of God to become manifested in our lives.
6. Pray With Authority
Genesis 24:12-19 - Then he prayed, "O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a girl, 'Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,' and she says, 'Drink, and I'll water your camels too'-let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master."
15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor. 16 The girl was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever lain with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water from your jar."
18 "Drink, my lord," she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
19 After she had given him a drink, she said, "I'll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking."
Abraham's servant prayed to the Lord to reveal to him who He had chosen to be Isaac's wife, in a very specific way. He was not afraid to ask the Lord for a very specific sign.
2nd Kings 6:17,18 - And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Elisha spoke with authority when he prayed "Open his eyes so he may see". He did not say "Lord, if it be your will, I ask that you open the eyes of my servant". He said, "Open his eyes".
As the enemy came toward him, Elijah again prayed with authority, saying, "Strike these people with blindness". He did not pray, "Lord, if You desire to, please deliver your servant from the hand of the enemy".
He prayed with authority. We need to do the same. We need to speak to sin, and afflictions, and to evil spirits with the authority of Jesus Christ, and command them to flee.
7. Keep On Praying
Ephesians 6:18 - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
1st Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.
1st Thessalonians 3:10 - Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
2nd Thessalonians 1:11 - With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
Luke 18:1 - Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Colossians 1:9 - For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. Pray at all times and for all things. Do not give up.
The Lord's Prayer
Jesus gave us a great example to follow when we pray, in Matthew 6:9-15 - "This, then, is how you should pray:
"'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.' 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The Lord's Prayer ends with verse 14, but Jesus saw fit to stress the importance of forgiving others immediately afterward. This is the key to having our prayers answered. Jesus said that "Here is a pattern for prayer, but the whole thing falls apart if you are not forgiving others.
Remember the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, in Matthew 18:21-35 - Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
So our prayers will be of no effect if we are not forgiving others of all their offences against us. Because of the importance of this principle, we include it in the pattern of prayer.
We can break down this pattern into eight specific parts, and three general ones.
1. Our Father in heaven, = Our Father
2. hallowed be your name, = Holy Name
3. your kingdom come, = Kingdom Established
4. your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. = Sovereignty of God
5. Give us today our daily bread. = Meet Our Needs
6. Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. = Forgiveness
7. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. = Lead Us Out Of
8. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. = Forgiveness of Others
There are three areas of prayer here: Praise, Petitions, and Preservation.
As you enter into prayer, you should begin with Praise. Remember what we learned, about how to worship God, from the section on Prayer Tips.
Praise - Our Father
Begin with establishing the relationship between you and the Lord. He is your Father.
He provides for us and cares for us. He is our confidant, the one we can turn to for encouragement and advice.
We are His children. Thank Him for being our Father, for adopting us into His family as sons, when we did not even deserve to be His servants.
Stress the fact that He is our "Heavenly" Father. He is not an earthly father, but a perfect one.
His throne is in heaven, and He is high and lifted up. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways.
Revelation 4:2,3 - At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.
Isaiah 33:10 - "Now will I arise," says the LORD.
"Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up.
Isaiah 55:9 - "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
This should not cause you to think of the Lord as far removed from us. He is still our father. He is our heavenly father. And if our father rules from heaven, then we are exalted, as well, since we are His children.
He is so glorious, and wonderful, and full of majesty, and regal, and powerful! His splendid excellence causes us to fall on our face before Him and worship Him with high-sounding titles and praises, but don't relegate yourself to the role of a subject, or servant, or slave, or vassal. You are His sons and daughters. We stand with Him, to the right and to the left of His throne. We will judge the nations, and we will judge the angels.
Call Him "Father".
Praise - Holy Name
1st Peter 1:15,16 - But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
Declare that He is Holy. Announce His faithfulness! Worship His Holy Name! (Remember what we learned about worship. Do not just say "He is worthy of worship", give it to Him!)
His Name is Master,
Luke 17:12,13 - They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
Ephesians 6:9 - And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
2nd Timothy 2:21 - If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
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