A couple years ago, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah, exhausted from trying to scale a personal mountain. All alone with a little time on my hands, I went to Nordstrom to buy a new lipstick--a little embarrassing to write, but true just the same. A new pink lipstick always gives me a boost. As I perused my choices, a young woman said, 'Would you like a free makeover today?' 'Would I?!' I thought, and then realized of course she was just talking about cosmetics.
I think she was applying mascara when I asked, 'Hey, I was wondering, do you pray?'
'Oh yes, I do,' she quickly supplied.
'That's cool--'mind if I ask who you pray to?'
'Oh, I don't know,' she said wistfully...'doesn't really matter, it just makes me feel better when I pray, so I do.' (seriously?)
Thoughts sent out into the ether may make a person feel better, but words uttered to God in prayer are answered by an almighty God, who actually desires that his children come to him and ask him for what we need in our lives. Yesterday I observed several direct answers to my prayers.
So right now I jus' wanna' testify in response to what David wrote: Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!1
Note: Having the privilege of praying for other people who need God to do something in their lives is quite a privilege. Think of it, besides praying in my quiet place in the early morning, I can pray throughout the day whatever I am doing--emptying the dishwasher, watering the garden, driving down the road . . . whatever. Late last night, as I heard how God made his presence known to a woman across the country in the most difficult situation of her lifetime--I had to share. Yes, God answers the prayers of his children who come to him in faith!
Which begs the question--if I do not see answers to my prayers, might there be a reason? Is there a right way to pray?
1) Approach God humbly and pray in Jesus’ name.
Jesus said these things - And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.2
I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.3
2) Pray in faith.
Our Lord's brother wrote about the man who prays, "But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."4
3) Pray with a clear conscience, your heart pure.
Again, from the Scripture: Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him5
David, a man after God's own heart, wrote: If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.6
This is why including confession (and searching our hearts) is critical.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.7
4) And then we can approach God with boldness, and in confidence!
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.8 [you might want to read that verse again]
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.9
God hears and answers the prayers of his children!
Friends, we can come to God, indeed, we ought to come confident that he will hear and answer our prayers, when we pray according to his will. He clearly expresses his will in his Word, so we must be a people of the Word.
Yes, my heart has wings this morning as I think of the people, as I see in my mind's eye the situations where God showed up - in answer to my prayers. [Okay, perhaps other people were praying too, no matter--God would have answered if I was the only one!]
Please listen to My Prayer for You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj_0pvIGkks
I am praying for you,
1 - Psalm 105.1
2 - John 14.13
3 - John 16.23-24
4 - James 1.6-8
5 - 1 John 3.21-22
6 - Psalm 66.18
7 - Psalm 139.23-24
8 - 1 John 5.14,15
9 - Ephesians 3.12