There is no point wasting your time with ineffective prayers.
Did you know that it’s important to know how to pray, and how not to pray? Well it is! There is no point wasting your time with ineffective prayers that are not going to be answered. “But Matthew, God understands our hearts. He knows what we mean“. Yes God knows what you mean, but He has set up a way of doing things and He is not going to bypass that system, just because you want to do things a different way. Imagine going into your bank and saying, “Please give me my money. Please, please I really need my money now. i just don’t know what I’m going to do if you won’t give me my money“. You’re not going to get any money – that isn’t how the system works! Now I know that some people are going to be offended by that, but it’s the truth! Plenty of people got offended at Jesus’ teaching, if you recall. So rather than staying offended, let’s learn how to pray God’s way.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray for Jesus’ sake.
To begin, let’s look at some examples of how not to pray. Have you ever prayed, or heard someone pray something like this: “Dear God, please help Uncle Mike. Oh God, he’s going to die if you don’t help him. For Jesus’ sake, amen“? Want to know what’s wrong with this prayer? Firstly, who is the person praying for? Is it for the sake of Uncle Mike or for the sake of Jesus? Of course, the prayer is for Uncle Mike, which begs the question, why does it end with, “for Jesus’ sake“? Nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray for Jesus’ sake, instead we are told to pray in the Name of Jesus (John 16:26-27). (For more on this see my post Using The Name Of Jesus). Satan has taken the way that Jesus instructed us to pray and subtly twisted it, to remove all the power from it – and no, this is not just a technicality. The second problem with the above prayer, is that there is no faith in it. Rather than declaring that the Bible says, “By His stripes we are healed” (1 Peter 2:24), and thanking God for Uncle Mike’s healing, the person praying is instead declaring that Uncle Mike is going to die. They have faith that Uncle Mike is going to die, but God answering their prayer is only a vague wish that doesn’t seem likely to happen. Watch what you are declaring, Jesus said in Mark 11:23 that if we believe in what we’re saying, it will come to pass. Uncle Mike does not need you declaring that he going to die!
How that prayer should have been prayed?
So let’s see how that prayer should have been prayed (and this is just an example): “Dear Father God, thank you that your Word says, by Jesus’ stripes we are healed. I claim that healing now for Uncle Mike. Thank you Father that he is already healed, I speak healing over Uncle Mike today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen“. Then speak to Satan, “Satan in the Name of Jesus I command you to take your hands off of Uncle Mike“. If possible and if appropriate, it is also good to lay hands on the person you are praying for and you can also rebuke whatever it is that is making the person ill.
The angels are ready to respond when you speak God’s Word.
How about this sort of prayer? “Oh Jesus, you know how poor we are. You know that we’re struggling Lord. The children need new clothes for school and the rent’s due Lord. Its so hard Lord and if I lose my job, I just don’t know what we’re going to do. You know they’ve been talking about making cuts at work Lord and knowing my luck, I’ll be the first to go. Oh God, what are we going to do? Amen“. What exactly is this person praying for? God will answer your prayers, when there is faith involved. He will answer your prayers when you speak His Word. The angels are ready to respond when you speak God’s Word. However, rather than speaking words of faith, the whole ‘prayer’ (and I use that word very lightly here!) in this example, is telling God all about the problem and prophesying what the pray-er (yes, I know that’s not a real word!) thinks is going to happen. Look, if you are struggling at the moment, you really do not need to be declaring that you’re going to lose your job. You are not going to get your provision handed to you on a plate, if you completely ignore or are completely ignorant of, God’s way of doing things – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, Hosea 6:4.
When we speak God’s Word over a situation, the angels go to work.
How should someone in this type of situation pray then? Well, they should begin by going to the Bible and seeing what God has already said. This is where reading your Bible regularly and actually knowing what God has said, comes in. For example, Philippians 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus“. The Amplified Bible – Classic Edition puts it this way, “My God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus“. We don’t even need to pray about our needs – God has already said He will supply them, over and above. We simply need to trust Him to do it, thank Him and relax. So the prayer could go something like this: “Dear Father God, thank you that you supply all my needs according to your riches in glory by Christ Jesus. I believe that my needs are met. With regards to my job God, thank you for getting me this job and thank you, that if my time at this job comes to an end, you have an even better job lined up for me. Thank you that you are blessing my family and I. In Jesus’ Name, amen“. Now, that prayer has some faith in it! It gives the angels something to work with, because Psalm 103:20 says, “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word“. The angels are listening out for God’s Word, ready to act on it and Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?“. The angels are sent forth to minister on our behalf and when we speak God’s Word over a situation, the angels go to work. But if all we do is talk the problem with everyone who will listen and then tell God about the problem, there is nothing the angels can do.
We’re supposed to throw our worries, our anxieties, our cares onto Jesus.
We will look now, at one final example. Do you remember my post about Job? In it we saw how Job had got into a habit of continually worrying about His children. So how should Job have dealt with His worries, how should any parent deal with concerns they may have about their children? To help with our own understanding of prayer, let’s talk about Job as though he was a New Testament believer, so that we can relate this to ourselves. Job thought that he was being a good parent by worrying about his children – how many times have you heard something like that? His solution to the problem that his children may (or may not) have been getting up to no good at their parties, was to worry and keep offering sacrifices – “better safe than sorry“! A better solution, to concerns like this, is found in 1 Peter 5:7, which in the Common English Bible says, “Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you” – we are not supposed to worry about things. Let me repeat that in case you missed it, WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO WORRY ABOUT THINGS! We’re supposed to throw our worries, our anxieties, our cares onto Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on“. The devil will try to put thoughts of worry in your mind, but Jesus told us not to take those thoughts.
How Job could have prayed, if he had been a New Testament believer.
This then, is an example of how Job could have prayed, if he had been a New Testament believer: “Father God, thank you that you said my children are blessed (Deuteronomy 28:4). I’ve been worried about what’s going on at their parties, but I refuse to worry anymore. I give this care to you, I throw it down at your feet and I will not pick it up again. Thank you that you love my children and that you will keep them from evil. In the Name of Jesus, amen“. Job could have then taken authority over Satan and said, “Satan, I bind you in the Name of Jesus. You take your hands off of my children right now. You have no authority to operate in their lives, because we are God’s children and you are under our feet“.
Once you know what to pray – pray, in faith.
Worrying is commonplace in our society, but it achieves little, if anything (well it has plenty of negatives results, but few good ones). For a Christian to worry, is like saying, “Well I know God has made some promises in His Word, but this is reality. How do I know that God is really going to help me?” It is, in effect, saying that you do not fully trust God. So the next time you face a problem of any sort, find out what God has said in His Word – find out God’s will. You may not find your exact situation, but even then, there are plenty of verses that express God’s desire to bless you. Once you know what to pray – pray, in faith. Base your prayers on the Bible and expect to get results. If the results don’t come over night – don’t stress out. Don’t start doubting God, just keep thanking Him for the answer. Do not make the mistake of praying the same prayer again and again just to make sure that God heard you, or to make sure He takes you seriously. Just trust Him and He will answer your prayers.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.