How to Pray  

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Do Your Prayers Get Answered?  If Not, Why Not? May We Pray?

Many Christians when confronted with health challenges become frustrated, feeling God has not heard or answered their prayers for healing.  Prayer is communication with our heavenly Father; in other words, talking to God. To pray according to God's Word, our model is the Lord's Prayer given to us by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-15 which requires us to be effective to:

  • Acknowledge His sovereignty,
  • Confess our sins,
  • Thank HIM for His forgiveness and blessings;
  • Then ask His answers to our petitions for the needs of others and ourselves, in accord with His will and plan for us as individuals and Christians. 

(Frank Jordan in photo brings a health inspiration presentation at the New Life Church in San Antonio)

Remember, He provides our needs according to His will for our lives and those we love, and not just our wants. Let's take a moment and explore some Bible verses related to prayer.  In Matthew 7:7-8 we read, "Ask and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will be open."  Again in  Luke 11:9: "So I say to you: 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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

If your prayers have not been answered, has God truly heard you?  Are the Scriptures true? Is His Word trustworthy? Or is prayer a futile exercise? Are we simply talking to ourselves and each other, or is there a God who hears and answers?  If this scenario applies to you, why have your prayers not been answered when you think you have sought and knocked?  Let's take a moment and analyze how Jesus stated we should pray in our relationship with God and attitude in prayer to be effective:

            Verse                                         Relationship with God                          Attitude in Prayer

  • Our Father                                    Father - Child                                 Unselfish family devotion
  • hallowed be thy name.                   Deity-Worshiper                             Reverence
  • Thy kingdom come.                       Sovereign - Subject                        Loyalty
  • Thy will be done.                           Master - Servant                            Submission
  • give us this day our daily bread      Benefactor - Beneficiary                  Dependence
  • forgive us our trespasses                Savior - Sinner                                Penitence
  • lead us not into temptation             Guide - Follower                             Humility
  • deliver us from evil                         Deliverer - Tempted                        Triumph
  • Thine is the kingdom                      Sovereign - Subject                         God Sovereign (not self)
  • and the glory                                  Deity - Worshiper                           Exultation
  • forever                                           Deity - Heir                                    Hope with certainty

Too often we forget that meaningful Biblical prayers that are answered do not just attempt to get God to agree with us individually or to provide our personal desires, no matter how unselfish from our perspective.  Biblical prayer, as shown above, is affirming God's sovereignty, righteousness and majesty  with reverence; while seeking to conform our desires, petitions and actions in life to His will and glory in a spirit of  humility, penitence and exultation, while acknowledging and asking forgiveness for our personal shortcomings and accepting His answer.

Jesus said in John 15:7,  "If you abide in Me and My Word abides in you, ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." The Scripture in Psalm 66:18 also says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." So if we expect to have our prayers answered, Jesus Christ must be the Lord of our lives. There must be no unconfessed sin in our lives and we must be filled with the Holy Spirit not in just words, but actions in our lives.  Were these traits present when you felt your prayers were unanswered?  If not, you now know why your prayers were perhaps unanswered (many prayers are answered but because the answer is not that we seek, we consider it unanswered).

1 John 5:14,15 is explicit: "If we ask anything according to God's will, He hears us and answers," so we must be sure that we are praying according to the Word of God.  If prayer is offered with a an unselfish motive, acknowledgement of God's sovereignty, an attitude of humility and accepting of God's will in response, an answer can be expected; but not always in accord with how we thought the prayer should be fulfilled.  And we must pray as subjects and worshipers of God in all things, and not as petitioners seeking an answer because other sources, such as organized medicine or self, have no answers or have failed.

Review and meditate on how you have been praying as to relationship, attitude and content and be sure you are praying in the manner given to us by Jesus Christ with the following spiritual characteristics:

  • Christ is Lord of my life and I have accepted Him as Savior and Lord.
  • The Holy Spirit infills my heart and guides my life.
  • No unconfessed sin exist in my life and I have sought God's forgivance and guidance.
  • I have forgiven others and myself in life and set aside hate to be replaced by love.
  • I am praying according to God's Word in the form presented in the Lord's Prayer.
  • I am praying specifically with humility as a subject of God; not being self-sovereign in my life.
  • I am accepting of God and His will as sovereign in my life.
  • I anticipate my prayers will be answered because I know I am in His will as having accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and praying as Christ taught us to pray in spirit and form.

Today accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and adopt the model of the Lord's Prayer in your personal prayer life and pray as Christ instructs us,

"Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and Lord, if it be Thy will, provide me with ....................................... and for others, both friends and enemies, these specific needs: ...................................................................... .  And forgive me of my sins as I know since I last prayed I have ....................................................................... and help me to forgive and not to hate those who have sinned against me or others; specifically ....................... who did ........................................................ .  And lead us not into temptation but let me act as Jesus would, especially when today I confront ................................................................................................................... . And deliver me from evil that is about me in the form of ................................................................................. . For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever.  Amen."

"Answered Prayers!" A Poem with Wisdom for Guidance through Life's Peaks and Valleys Used by Frank and Connie Jordan Daily

"ANSWERED PRAYERS" - Author Anonymous

  • I ask for strength and God gives me difficulties to make me strong.
  • I ask for wisdom and God gives me problems to learn to solve.
  • I ask for prosperity and God gives me brains and brawn with which to work.
  • I ask for courage and God gives me dangers to overcome.
  • I ask for love and God gives me troubled people to help.
  • I ask for favors and God gives me opportunities.
  • God gives me nothing I want.
  • God gives me everything I need.
  • My Prayers are Answered!

Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives.  Effective prayer needs both an attitude reflecting complete dependence, or belief, and an action which is our asking that His will - not our "wants" - be done. 

Through prayer we humbly invite the Great Physician to fill us with faith and His power - a prerequisite to accomplishing the impossible from man's perspective.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like an eagle." Psalms 103:1-5

When Frank Jordan says, "You will be in our thoughts and prayers," the most potent spiritual health aid, prayer, is being summoned with no limits on the possibility of success through belief.