Further Study on Prayer

 My post on January 20, 2015 was an introduction to effective prayer.

We all want the assurance that God hears our prayers, and not just that He hears us but that He will respond to us and give us the answers (help, wisdom, direction, peace, truth, provision…) we need.

 We serve a faithful God. He is full of love, mercy and compassion. He will never reject a humble, seeking heart. What’s truly mind-boggling is that we ALL are the recipients of God’s goodness and mercy , whether we know it or not, whether we believe Him or don’t believe in the existence of God; whether we are so close to Him that we can hear the beat of His heart, or so far away that we reject any thought of deity…God is good all the time. If you still have life in your body you are a walking example of the mercy of God (see Lamentations 3:22).

 An Outstretched Hand is dedicated to building up the Body of Christ. I write my posts for Christian believers but my hope is that those seeking God will also happen across this blog and hear His voice, see His truth and experience His love first hand. This is my prayer for you today…

 So, how do we connect with God?

The most intimate way is through worship and prayer. And the most effective worship and prayer is led by the Holy Spirit in accordance with the word of God:

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

An area of trouble for many people is how to pray and who to pray to: Jesus? God the Father? Mary? A saint? As always, look to the scriptures for the answer to these questions. Even the disciples of Jesus wanted to know how to pray:

“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)

So the Lord answered him:

“And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name…” (Luke 11:2)

and this:

“At that time you won’t need to ask me (Jesus) for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use my name.” (John 16:23)

and this:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

We are to pray directly to God, to our heavenly Father. We do not need to ask a saint, an angel or Mary to intercede and intervene for us. Jesus is the One who intercedes in prayer for us (see Hebrews 7:25). He is our Savior. He is the One who went to the cross for us, the One who was crucified as punishment for our sins. He paid the ultimate price to redeem us. He willingly laid down His life out of love for His Father and to see mankind reconciled to God. When we receive this wonderful gift, when we acknowledge our need for a Savior and receive Christ’s forgiveness for our sins, then we are born-again by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are now in Christ and God sees us the same way he sees His Son: sinless in our spirit, redeemed by the blood of Christ and sealed with His Holy Spirit (see Colossians 1:22 and Ephesians 4:30) . We are God’s children and He is our Heavenly Father–what an extraordinary blessing!

All the saints, the angels and even Jesus’ earthly mother worshiped/worship God and Christ– and by God’s grace this is where our focus should be too.

 Hoping your prayers are infused with faith and confidence! Blessings!