Pray in this Way
by David Y. Cho
Some people think it is very easy to pray; but, actually it isn't. Praying is difficult because it is not a conversation with another person; it is an audience with the Almighty God. All Christians have the privilege of free access to the presence of God by prayer. Even Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray.
Prayer is the basis of Christian living. A Christian who has an effective prayer life is a strong Christian. His faith has life and vigour. I would like to share with you the secret of an effective prayer life.
1 Start Praying by Praising God:
The Scriptures point the way:
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." (PSALM 100:4). We must express our thanksgiving and praise to God, who created our universe and everything therein. Next, we must praise God for the salvation He has provided for us. We are living in the midst of sin, but God sent His only Son into the world and caused Him to die on the cross on our behalf. His blood was shed, and His body was broken in order to set us free from the bondage of sin. We must give our heartfelt thanks to Him for taking our sins and setting us free!
Furthermore, we must praise our Heavenly Father for His loving care. We must praise Him for graciousness and tenderness. We must give Him praise, adoration, and thanks for His loving kindness as we bow before Him.
A great prayer is a prayer of praises. David confessed Him as Holy God,
"O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." (PSALM 22:3). God delights and dwells in our praises. In order for us to experience the presence of our Heavenly Father, we must start our time of prayer by praising Him.
When we praise Him for His great creation, for His redemption of love, and for His graciousness of being our Father, God dwells with us and takes care of our spirit, soul, and body.
When Paul and Silas were thrown into the prison at Philippi, they did not fall into despair but prayed and praised God all night long. An earthquake occurred, the doors of the prison were opened, and their chains fell off. Praise has great power!!
God has given us peace of mind, hope, and joy. He has given us victory in this life. How grateful we should be that He has allowed us to unload all our heavy burdens before Him through prayer! If it were not for the help of God, how could we go through the storms of life?
In the Old Testament period, the high priest burned sweet incense 24 hours a day so that it might fill the entire temple. This sweet incense symbolises the prayers of the saints. The Bible says,
"And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." (REVELATION 8:4).
Prayers in the form of praises are sweet sacrifices before the Lord. God accepts our prayer of praises and blesses those individuals and churches who give to Him hymns of praise.
2 Repent of Your Sins:
When you have praised God, then go on to the next step, which is repentance. Examine yourself before the presence of the Lord, and repent of your sins. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 6, verse 5, a wonderful repentance is written. When King Uzziah died, the entire land of Israel was filled with sorrow and despair. The prophet Isaiah was also grief-stricken and prayed to God in sorrow. At this time, Isaiah saw a vision of the Lord of lords seated on His throne. The train of His robe filled the temple, and the temple was full of smoke. Isaiah saw the angels crying out in loud voices,
"Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." (Verse 3). Isaiah looked at his own appearance and lamented, saying,
"Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." (ISAIAH 6:5).
If a person wishes to come to the Throne of Grace, he must first tear off the partition of disobedience and disbelief by repentance. No matter how desperate our approach may be, it is useless to call out to God unless we repent of our sins. The Bible clearly states,
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (PSALM 51:17). He seeks those whose hearts are broken and bruised.
God delights in a person who repents of his sins. The Bible says,
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 JOHN 1:9). God also said,
"...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (ISAIAH 1:18).
A person who has repented of his sins can come boldly to the Throne of Grace. He is no longer accused of his sins by the devil. We must know that sins are the partition between God and man; so, when we pray, we must repent of our sins and destroy the partition, that we may gain joyful access to the Throne of Grace as righteous men and women.
3 Make Your Requests Known to God:
Some of you may say, "God knows all our needs and blesses us even though we do not make them known to Him by prayer," but that is not so. The Bible says,
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (MATTHEW 7:7-11).
Our Lord Jesus gives good things to those who ask. Many Christians want to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. If a person truly wants to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he must earnestly seek with a thirsty heart and make supplication to God. When you come to God with a request, you must come to Him with an earnest desire. One of the reasons Christians do not receive answers to their prayers is that they do not offer up their 'life and death' prayers to God.
The Bible well describes how Jesus prayed at Gethsemane:
"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (LUKE 22:44). If the Son of God prayed so earnestly, how much more shall we have to pray fervently? How can we pray half-heartedly?
We must not give up when we are denied the answer to our prayer once or twice. Jesus taught us the necessity of incessant prayer through the parable of a widow (see LUKE 18:1-8).
Another point that is important is that we must pray in accordance with the will of God. When you pray with a desire to satisfy your fleshly lusts, such a prayer will never be heard by God. The Bible clearly warns against such a prayer, saying,
"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." (JAMES 4:3).
It is important that we pray in accordance with the will of God and with earnestness of heart. If a person prays with fervour and enthusiasm, the door of heaven will have to open for him.
4 Expess Your Thanks:
The Bible admonishes us to
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7). When we pray, we must continue praying until the peace of God takes control of our hearts and thoughts. When we receive the answer to our supplication, we have the assurance in our heart that God has answered our prayers. He gives peace and joy as an evidence. No fear, unrest, or worry lingers, then we must start giving thanks to Him who answered our prayer.
When we come into the presence of God we must know how to pray. We must know the etiquette of having an audience with the Lord, our Almighty God.
Great men of faith have all been giants of prayer. Prayer produces miracles. All great wonders of Christianity, sometimes beyond our imagination, result from fervent prayer. I can never over-emphasise the need of earnest prayer.
If you learn this secret of the order of prayer, you may be able to experience the proper order of God's blessing: prosperity in your spirit, the blessing of good health, and prosperity in all things.
Source: "Church Growth" - Winter 1991