How and when to ask God for help through prayer.
Bible advice on the power of prayer.
How to keep track of prayers.
Importantly, please read the introductory article to this section of the website, “God’s presence in our lives” before going on, if you have not already. It explains the various methods, available to us, that we can use to engage with God in our lives. And how our lives can be positively transformed as a result! It also puts those available methods, and our overall relationship with God, in perspective.
(To read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
This particular article is an intro to the subsection titled, “Prayers of request”. The subsection is placed in the “God in life” section of the website. Please see the Menu Bar above. As the name of this article implies, it offers advice on how to actually request help from God through prayer. And remember millions have successfully gone before you with this stuff. You can relax a bit in that knowledge, just as I did.
2. TYPES OF PRAYER
Without doubt, prayer is one of the ‘foundation blocks’ of Christian faith. As in any relationship, communication is a must. Time should be set aside on a regular basis to spend with God; to talk with him. Admittedly, this may feel unusual at first. And I write that with due regard to how I did feel about it when I was a beginner Christian. We have to start somewhere though: beginning that connection with God through faith. Actively engaging with God!
To the experienced Christian, prayer has many forms:
- Requests for help for ourselves and importantly for others in need;
- Thanks for what has been received;
- Praising and worshipping the Lord;
- Just plain enjoying his loving company.
As mentioned already, this subsection is about prayers of request, but the article, “Mature prayer” follows later in this “God in life” section. And it gets into the deeper side of prayer and its potential for ever stronger faith. I have seriously tested and evaluated all forms of Christian prayer, with plenty of assistance from others I must add. They do work! (Again, please click here to read about the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website.)
3. WHEN TO MAKE PRAYER REQUESTS
But getting back to the point, we can use ‘prayers of request’ in all areas of of our lives. For example, prayers requesting assistance for ourselves, from God, can be applied to our spiritual direction, ‘doubts challenging our faith‘, personal relationships, family conflicts, health issues, education and work issues, problems with addictions and bad habits, financial necessities, buying essential assets etc.
Simply put, God’s power can be applied to almost any difficulty or dilemma we face in life! However, bear in mind it is much more likely that God will assist within our general day-to-day lives and related problems, rather than perform miracles or the like. And I must say that we will not justifiably get everything we ask for.
Of course, if prayers are not successful then our ‘faith’ may be weakened. So, it is at least useful to have some knowledge, based on sound scriptural understanding, before beginning the practise. And I do get to that later.
4. WE HAVE TO ASK GOD
I can say with complete confidence, based on my own experience, that prayers definitely do positively influence outcomes of life when we utilise them appropriately. I have seen some incredible stuff come off through prayer during my thirty plus years of evaluating Christian faith. The potential power of prayers of request, and their outcomes, do indeed provide strong proof of God’s presence in our lives.
Open your mind to the likelihood that God awaits your requests for assistance – both for yourself and for others – and I do not believe you will be disappointed in the long term. From the New Testament:
So I say to you: Ask and it shall be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
You do not have, because you do not ask God.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
5. KEEPING TRACK OF PRAYERS
So “ask and you shall receive” is the Bible’s promise – although ‘conditions apply’ as I explain in those following articles.
AND God will, if the conditions are right, grant answers to our prayers. Its power will, after sufficient evidence is gained, clearly elevate it above sheer luck. Although it sounds a bit selfish to use faith to gain assistance from God for ourselves in our day-to-day lives through prayers of request, it has two positive results. Firstly, it allows God to prove his unconditional love for us, and I can only assume that he greatly enjoys doing so. As I often say too, he is a God of action. He can make life a lot easier for us as a result. Secondly, by proving his presence is there, within our lives, enables our belief and faith to grow.
Now as you can guess, when I started out using prayers, I did not know much about what the Bible had to say about it. And to make matters worse, there was also a lot of ignorance in my approach. For a starter I often forgot exactly what I had prayed for, so I didn’t know what God had or hadn’t done for me as such. When I did come to hear about prayer journals … well, I thought they sounded a great idea.
Prayer journals are useful to track discussions with God, and are a great idea for beginner Christians. Prayer requests should firstly be ‘stated and dated’. Then we subsequently use these ‘journals’ to log God’s eventual response.
6. FOLLOWING ARTICLES
As I wrote earlier, we may not get everything we ask for through our prayers. The following articles in this subsection offer suggestions, based on relevant Bible verses, to improve the success of prayers:
These Bible-based understandings of mine are reinforced by my lengthy experience and evaluation. As usual I have discussed all manner of prayer with experienced fellow Christians and the clergy on my advisory team.
I really do recommend that you read all of the articles in this subsection on “Prayers of request” – before putting their guidance to use. And that approach will ensure you do not take any of the Bible-based advice out of context, which might weaken your results.
Please continue to the next article, “Prayer methods”.
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