Ask: How to Pray and Get Results
If someone asks you if you think prayer is important, you probably would respond with a resounding “yes” without even thinking about it. But do you act on that statement in your day-to-day life? It can be all too easy to resort to “drive-by” prayer, rattling off things we need to God and then hurriedly moving on to the next activity before He can answer us. Prayer is a dialog, not a monolog. It’s a conversation with our Father – it is being in His presence. Smith Wigglesworth, the well-known British evangelist, said: “I never pray more than 20 minutes, but I never go 20 minutes without praying.” Wigglesworth understood that long-winded prayer is not the point; frequent and continued communication with God is. Think about your smartphone. It needs to be charged daily, doesn’t it? We are like smartphones in the way that we have to plug in to communication with God daily for us to function properly.
Jesus taught about the importance of persistence in prayer. Luke 11:5-9 (NLT) says: “Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: ‘Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. ‘And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.’” Don’t pray once and forget about it; pray until you see results. You aren’t annoying God by persisting. Something we need to keep in mind is that the reasons behind why we pray plays a big role in the impact our prayers have. James 4:2-3 (NIV) declares: “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” When we pray to have an encounter with God rather than to just get what we need in the moment, powerful things happen. Those are the kinds of prayer that make things happen – prayers that pour out for an encounter with our Father.
Why We Pray:
- To invite God in. God wants us to want to be with Him. He isn’t going to force His way into our lives if we don’t ask Him to come in. Revelation 3:20 (NLT) says: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Open the door and let Jesus in – he wants to enter and spend time with you but he won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to. Prayer is a way for us to allow Jesus to dwell with us and turn around our sticky situations. We invite Jesus in when we accept Salvation, but how often do we invite him in on a regular basis?
- To hear God’s voice. When we spend significant time listening to God’s voice, we get to the point that we crave hearing it. It is hard to stop once we start. Have you ever had such a wonderful meal that you just couldn’t help but overeat a little because it all just tasted so good? It’s a little like that (without the side effects of overeating, of course). It’s just so good to be in God’s presence that it can be hard to stop basking in His voice, His love, and His Word for your life.
- Prayer is a weapon. Prayer is a powerful weapon and we forget that far too often. Matthew 18:18-19 (NIV) says: “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” That is powerful! What we do on earth matters eternally. Sometimes when we get worn down by life, we think to ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter – but in fact, our prayers are powerful and life-changing.
Prayer invites God in, helps us to hear His voice in our lives, and it is an incredible weapon as well – and we need to take advantage of that. Prayer is an incredibly important part of our walk with Christ and we cannot neglect pursuing His face on a daily basis. Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) proclaims: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Knock on the door with your prayers; you are heard and your prayers are absolutely powerful.