Does prayer work? Why is it that I keep on praying and I receive nothing from God? Is it because I have little faith or there is something wrong that I am doing or God simply has decided not to answer me?
This is one of the biggest questions that most Christians including myself have. We pray but sometimes or all the time when we do pray, we don’t seem to get our prayers answered. I will try my best through the help of The Holy Spirit to explain this burning issue.
John 14:13-14 (ESVST)
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
If we ask anything in Jesus’s name, he will do it. So then, why are we not getting our prayers answered?
1) What is prayer?
– Prayer is described as:
Calling upon the name of the Lord. Gen. 12:8; Crying to heaven. 2 Chron. 32:20. Crying to God. Pss. 27:7; Drawing near to God. Ps. 73:28; Heb. 10:22. Lifting up the heart. Lam. 3:41. Lifting up the soul. Ps. 25:1. Looking to God. Job 8:5. Pleading. Job 8:5; Jer. 36:7. Pouring out the heart. Ps. 62:8. Pouring out the soul. 1 Sam. 1:15. Seeking the face of the Lord. Ps. 27:8. Seeking the favor of the Lord. Exod. 32:11
Anyone of the highlighted texts, describes what prayer is.
– Prayer is accompanied by:
Confession. Neh. 1:4, 7; Dan. 9:4–11. Fasting. Neh. 1:4; Dan. 9:3; Acts 13:3. Humility. Gen. 18:27.
Praise. Ps. 66:17. Repentance. 1 Kings 8:33; Jer. 36:7. Thanksgiving. Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2.
Watchfulness. Luke 21:36; 1 Pet. 4:7. Weeping. Jer. 31:9; Hos. 12:4.
– Jesus encourages us to pray,
Luke 11:13 (AMP)
If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!
– The Holy Spirit helps us to pray,
Romans 8:26 (ESVST)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
2) How must we pray?
Now we know what prayer is, what it is accompanied by, we also know that Jesus encourages us to pray and the Holy Spirit helps us pray but now, how must we pray?
– The bible says we must persist in prayer. We must not loose hope.
Luke 18:1 (AMP)
ALSO [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).
– The bible also says that we must avoid our prayers being hindered.
1 Peter 3:7 (ESVST)
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Failing to show honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, will cause your prayers to be hindered. We should avoid this and any other actions or non actions that may hinder our prayers.
– The bible says that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and prayer of the upright is acceptable.
James 5:16 (ESVST)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Proverbs 15:8 (ESVST)
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
– Prayer should be offered with
With boldness. Heb. 4:16. Without ceasing. 1 Thess. 5:17. With confidence in God. Pss. 56:9; 86:7; 1 John 5:14. With deliberation. Eccles. 5:2. With desire to be answered. Pss. 27:7; 102:2; 108:6; 143:1.
With desire to be heard. Neh. 1:6; Pss. 17:1; 55:1–2; 61:1. With earnestness. 1 Thess. 3:10; James 5:17. Everywhere. 1 Tim. 2:8. In everything. Phil. 4:6. In faith. Matt. 21:22; James 1:6. In a forgiving spirit. Matt. 6:12. In full assurance of faith. Heb. 10:22. With the heart. Jer. 29:13; Lam. 3:41. With holiness. 1 Tim. 2:8. In the Holy Spirit. Eph. 6:18; Jude 20. With humility. 2 Chron. 7:14; 33:12. Night and day. 1 Tim. 5:5. With persistence. Gen. 32:26; Luke 11:8–9; 18:1–7. With preparation of heart. Job 11:13. With the soul. Ps. 42:4. With the spirit and understanding. John 4:22–24; 1 Cor. 14:15. With submission to God. Luke 22:42. With a true heart. Heb. 10:22. With truth. Ps. 145:18; John 4:24. With sincere lips. Ps. 17:1. With the whole heart. Ps. 119:58, 145.
– Prayer must be offered:
Through Christ. Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19.
To Christ. Luke 23:42; Acts 7:59.
To God. Ps. 5:2; Matt. 4:10.
– Pretentious prayer or hypocritical prayer is not acceptable.
Matthew 6:5-8 (ESVST)
5 “ And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “ And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
When you pray, your prayer must be genuine prayer, not the kind of prayer that seeks only the attention of those around. The bible says when you want to pray, go into your room and pray. The bible also says when you pray, do not just pray forever thinking that the more words you use the better. Just pray and ask what you need and be to the point. You see this in many churches and public gatherings where people pray until everyone does not want to hear one more prayer again.