4. HOW CAN I PRAY EFFECTIVELY?
Today’s Bible Reading: John 10 ,11, 12.
If the Bible can be compared to food, because it nourishes our spiritual lives, then prayer can be compared to breathing. There are two parts to breathing – inhaling and exhaling. So it is with prayer – talking to God and listening for His response.
The person who said, “I can’t find time for prayer,” was correct. You must make time for it. A good way is to do it along with your Bible reading. In fact, when some truth grips your heart, you may want to stop for a few moments and pray about it.
A consistent prayer life is characteristics of a solid, mature Christian.
What to Pray About.
What to pray about is one of the first problems you’ll meet. You think of your family, your friends, your associates, your own needs – and in five minutes you’ve run out of subject matter. One way to solve this problem is to aim your prayer in certain directions, a different direction each day. Page 36 of this booklet has suggestions for doing this.
Kinds of Prayer.
Another solution to the problem of what to pray about is to recognize that there are several kinds of prayer. Basically, it is simple talking to God.
Praise. This is similar to thanksgiving but deals with Who God is instead of what He has done. Sometimes you can use on of the Psalms, reading it aloud to express how you feel about who God is.
Thanksgiving. Prayer is not just asking. Don’t forget to thank God for what He has already done for you. In fact, this is a good way to begin your prayers. It builds your faith to remember what God has already done for you.
Petition. This means asking God to meet certain needs. Though some people never progress beyond the “gimme” stage, always asking God for something, there is nothing wrong with asking the Lord for His help. In fact, He encourages us to come with our needs.
Intercession. You may become gripped with the need of someone else and feel burdened to keep on praying until you have the assurance that God has answered your prayer. This is intercession, one of the greatest kinds of prayer, for in it you are thinking of others. We need more of this kind of prayer.
Take a few moments to carefully read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. See if you can identify the different types of prayer in this model prayer that Jesus taught His disciples.
How God Answers.
This is an important lesion to learn: God answers every prayer. Sometimes He says, “Yes,” sometimes He says, “No,” and often He says, “Wait.” But time spent in prayer is never wasted. You see, even more than what He does for you, God is interested in what He can do in you. Prayer changes you.
Praying in Public.
Sooner or later, someone will call on you to lead in prayer. Don’t panic. Simply remember that you’re praying to the Lord, not to the people. Pray as a representative of the group and express what you think are their general desires in that meeting. Don’t worry about using exactly the right words.
Bible Study for Today.
John 10:11. Who is the Good Shepherd?
John 10:15. What has Jesus done for the sheep?
John 11:27. Who did Martha say Jesus is?
John 11:40. What is needed in order to see God’s glory?
John 11:42. How often did the Father hear Jesus’ prayer?
John 12:32. What did Jesus mean by “lifted up”?
Good Verses to Memorize.
John 10:9; 10:10;11:25,26; 11:40;12:25; 12:32.