As we have been studying prayer as an important aspect of a Christian life, we have learnt several lessons such as the pre-requisites of prayers and the efficacy of prayer (James 5:16). Tonight we will be moving further as we study the Principle of prayers. Prayer no doubt is anchored on some key biblical principles and without us aligning ourselves and praying with those principles; an answered prayer may be farfetched (James 4:3). In realizing the full benefit of prayer, we will be looking at some key principles we can adopt from our lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
CONFESS YOUR SINS:
As we have studied in the past few meetings, coming to God in prayers requires a cleansing, it requires us coming to him with a humble heart and asking for forgiveness of our sins. That is why we as believers as much as it is important to live a life devoid of sin, we still need to ask for his forgiveness when come to Him in prayers. Proverbs 28:13, John 9:31, Proverb 28:9 and Psalms 66:18
PRAY IN FAITH:
1. Faith is a very important principle in our prayer to God. The scriptures says he that it is impossible to please God if we do not have faith. Hence when we come before Him in prayers God wants us to be bold about it and believe He is capable of doing that which we have asked. Hebrew 11:6
2. When we come to God in prayers, we should always believe we receive what we have asked already; Mathew 21:22, otherwise we will be wasting our time and our prayers will not be answered (James 1:5 – 8).
3. If we do not have enough faith to trust God, we can acquire it through fellowship with Him in the word: Romans 10:17
PRAY WITH HUMILITY:
Humility is a key principle in prayer, and a virtue that God highly reckon with. When we go to God in prayers we are expected to be humble. Yes you may be holy and working in righteousness before God but when we come before Him, we should never portray self-righteousness in our prayers.
1. We see this in an example of a parable given by Jesus Christ in Luke 18:9 – 14
2. God always exalt those that are humble; James 4:10, Luke 18:14, 1 Peter 5: 5 – 6
3. Activities: Discuss Job 22:28 and being humble in prayer before God.
PRAY IN LINE WITH GOD’s WILL:
When the disciples came to Jesus to learn how to pray, one of the key principles that were identified by Jesus was that we should pray in accordance to the will of God. i.e. … your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mathew 6: 9 – 10).
1. And Jesus also exemplified this as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane: Luke 22:42
2. Hence when we pray in line with God’s will, heaven is opened and our prayers get a quick result. 1 John 5:14
3. In other words a selfish prayer that is more concerned about self than the will of God does not get the attention of God. James 4:3
4. Activities: How can we condition our will to be in line with God’s will so that we can pray the will of God? (Answer: When we have faith in God and humility towards Him our will becomes aligned with His will.)
PRAY WITH THANKSGIVING:
Thanksgiving is another important principle we need to acknowledge in our prayer life. The bible says we are created for His pleasures (Phil. 2:13, Rev. 4:11), hence we need to always be appreciative of God’s always.
1. We should imbibe the principle of giving thanks always: Eph. 5:20, 1 Thess. 5: 17 – 18
2. And in everything, be it the good and bad times: Phil 4:6
3. As a matter of fact, when a Christian become unthankful it is a very bad sign of apostasy: Rom. 1:21 and 2 Tim. 3:2
4. When we study the story of the ten lepers that were healed and only one came to thank God, it should make us rethink and be always appreciative of what He has done. When you thank Him for what He has done today, you stand a good chance of receive greater things tomorrow. Luke 17: 11 – 19. (Emphasis on Luke 17 – 19).
PRAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS
Praying in the name of Jesus Christ is not just about adding Jesus to our prayer, it carries a much more spiritual weight. When we pray in the name of Jesus we are simply:
1. Acknowledging Jesus as the only way: John 14:6
2. It means we recognize him as our high priest who intercedes on our behalf; Heb. 7: 24 – 25, John 14:15
3. An advocate in a court of law is there to help plead your case to a judge. An advocate offer support, strength, and counsel and intercede for us when necessary; 1 John 2:1, so you stand a better chance going to God through Jesus who is your advocate.
4. We may imagine the conversation going something like this: “Father, I know this one has sinned and violated our commands. He is guilty as charged. However, you have said that my sacrifice is sufficient payment for the debt he owes. My righteousness was applied to his account when he trusted in me for salvation and forgiveness. I have paid the price, so he can be pronounced ‘Not guilty.’ There is no debt left for him to pay” (Romans 8:1; Colossians 2:14).
Prayer is our way of communicating with God and understanding the principles of prayer is what helps us to efficiently and effectively communicate. Let us give ourselves to these principles and as we grow in it, our prayer life will become more vibrant.