People always use the word “pray”, I hear them say “let’s close our eyes and pray” or I need to go to church to pray but what does it really mean to pray? Do people really understand this activity? We all know that prayer is the only way to communicate with God and He expects us to pray. Maybe we over-spiritualize it and we think we have to pray long and eloquent for it to really work or we think we only pray at prayer meetings or in our quiet time. I did some research for you, so here is the Hebrew context of the word “pray” to help us understand:
- Tefillah to intercede, beseech or make a request
- Athar to burn incense in worship
- Tesla the act of bending at the waist as a sign of respect
- Sha’el to ask or consult God for direction and counsel
Pray in Greek uses the word deomai means to beg or petition. So according to these definitions of pray, it shows that this activity is typically making a formal request or appealing to a high authority for a particular problem. now, how many problems do you have? how often do you pray about them? I know prayer carries power and changes live but Jesus Christ set one condition which I found fascinating in John 4:24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship Him in the Spirit and in truth.” Hang on a minute, what does it mean to pray in Spirit and truth? If you long to grow a deeper prayer life or you want to make sure your prayers are heard or maybe you are this type of person when you sit down to pray, you find it hard to focus. After three minutes, your mind travels back to the last season of the movie you just watched a few hours ago, thinking things you didn’t do today, the interview you have tomorrow, the clothes you left in the washing machine, the bills to pay or you just fall asleep in the middle of prayer.
Prayer isn’t a religious activity or ritual that works when you close your eyes, in certain positions or during prayer meetings. You can pray while driving, working, cooking, in the meeting, walking from the bus stop, sitting for an exam or at a casual party. You simply connect your Spirit and talk to Him. God delights in any simple words we offer Him from our hearts. The bible says “Call to me and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3a) We have a promise that He hears us: “You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you, 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13). Prayer is about a heart attitude, not a never-ending prayer meeting or devotional time.
There are things that can hinder our prayers not to be heard.
- You need to start your prayer by asking for forgiveness for your sins because according to the bible sin separates us from God. John 9:31 says “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will”. We should be watchful to our behaviors and always be in a position of hating what God hates and love what God loves. In 1 Peter 3:12 declares this, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Another verse says ‘The prayer of a sinner is an abomination unto God’. If your prayers are not answered check your behaviors, you might be the one who is blocking your answers.
- When you pray out of the will of God, if you have been praying for something and you haven’t received any answer, you need to change the way you pray by asking God to reveal His will to you because sometimes we can pray with wrong intention or motives but God sees your heart, you can’t lie to Him. Maybe you are praying to get married because everyone is doing so, or the age or the pressure from your parents, or you are praying to get a car for you to show off to people who disrespected you or maybe you are for your ministry to grow, or maybe your time to get your answer hasn’t come yet and God is testing you faith and patience. Whatever it is your prayers must be aligned with God’s will and you should end your prayer like this “Let your will be done” this allows God to operate and make His plan known to you.
- Unstable heart/mind. The bible says in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. You should have faith in God that He is able to do it, no matter how long you have been praying over it, your faith must undoubtedly remain strong, you should knock down this kind of thought
s that make you doubt and fear. It is super important to remember that God’s ways are different from ours.
Read the Bible and Pray Over Verses
Have you ever had a one-sided conversation with someone who talked continually without listening to you? The conversation didn’t go very far, did it? We do the same thing to God when we pray, sometimes God speaks to us in the middle of a prayer or at the end of it but you have to develop such relationship or He can simply speak to you through His word in the Bible when you read a verse that strikes you and brings life to your prayers.