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Is Prayer Effective For You


   There is a great deal of misunderstanding among most people when it comes to prayer. I am convinced that many people view prayer as the great panacea (remedy for all ills or difficulties) for the troubles mankind faces. Man has long looked for his own cure for whatever happens to him, regardless of the cause. Usually man first seeks to find his own resolution for his issues, even those that are self-inflicted, before turning to prayer. But, when all other efforts have been exhausted, most will turn to deity. Even those who claim not to believe in Jehovah God will routinely “bow” to whatever god in which they believe and expect a “miraculous” result.   Of course, these requests are always “tilted” in the favor of the one doing the asking.   Much teaching needs to be done on prayer today.

   One of the reasons that prayer is ineffective for some folks is that they don’t have the right to pray. When Jesus was asked by His disciples in Luke 11:1 to teach them to pray, He gave them the formula in Luke 11:2-4 for the type of prayer they were to pray. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.  These disciples were the children of God, as they were still part of Old Testament Israel and God’s New Testament Law was yet to be delivered.

   As children of God, they could call God their Father. They had become children of God when they were born as part of Israel. As such, as long as that Law was in effect, they could pray “Our Father”. That law was a physical law, based on the physical promises to Abraham and made them God’s people to bring Christ into the world. They were God’s people, had received God’s Word to them and benefited greatly by the blessings God bestowed on them.  

But when the New Law of God was submitted on the day of Pentecost, those who once were children of God under the previous law, were now required to submit to God under the New Testament Law. This is the meaning of Jesus’ night time discussion in John 3:3 with Nicodemus in that visit. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  One born of “water and the Spirit” in baptism becomes a child of God under the New Law.   He/she then has become part of the kingdom, is a Christian, added to the church, is a joint-heir with Christ and also is given the “right” to call God their Father and then can approach their “Heavenly Father” in this wonderful avenue of prayer. Those of the world, not having been “born” into the family of God cannot rightly call God their Father.  

   Just because one enters into the family of God and is granted this great honor to call God their Father and the privilege of prayer, does not mean the relationship requires no effort on our part.   In 1Peter 3:12 we read where the Spirit had Peter write about prayer. There it is explained whose prayers God acknowledges. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.   Therefore if we want God to hear our prayers, we have to strive to be righteous. This was affirmed even in Jesus’ day in John 9:31, by the man – blind from birth – that Jesus had healed. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth

     This provides the solution to the question from the title of this article. If you find that your prayers are not effective, it is either because 1) You are not a child of God, or 2) You are a child of God, but are not living your life in accordance to the Will of God, which is His Word. If situation # 1 (above) applies to you, look to God’s Word, then obey the gospel by following His inspired directions, and become a child of God. (Any faithful Christian should be able to help you do this).  But, if situation # 2 (above) is applicable and your prayers are ineffective, you need to look into God’s Word to see what it is you lack in doing the Will of God. Then you must repent and turn back to the Word, and Will of God before He will hear your prayers.   Those prayers also have to be in accordance to the Will of God.

   We can see in 2Peter 1:3-4 that God has supplied all we need to live and be godly in this present world and also be partakers of the divine nature. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  Couple this with what we read in Titus 2:11-12 and we see that there is no excuse for a child of God to have ineffective prayer. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

   What is required is honesty on our part.   We cannot blame it on God if our prayers do not seem to be effective. We must look within ourselves and make an honest assessment and make the needed adjustments. Then our prayers can be effective for us.      

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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