I've learned about prayer from my teachers:
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to Answered Prayer...Greg Laurie...Listen! The Lord's arm is not too
weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It's your
sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has
turned away and will not listen anymore. —Isaiah 59:1–2
One of the reasons our prayers may not be answered is because of
unconfessed sin in our lives. Nothing will bring a prayer life to a
halt faster than unconfessed sin. Psalm 66:18 says, "If I had not
confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." And
Isaiah tells us, "Listen! The Lord's arm is not too weak to save you,
nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It's your sins that have cut
you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not
listen anymore" (59:1–2).
The problems is that we don't want to call sin what it is anymore. We
will call it a weakness or a mistake or a shortcoming or a sickness.
But why don't we call it what it is—a sin? And why don't we admit it is
there? Why don't we ask God to forgive us as we turn from it? If we
will not deal with our sins, God will not hear our prayers.
Idolatry, or putting something in our lives into a place of prominence
over God himself, can also be a hindrance to prayer. In Ezekiel 14:3,
God said, "Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts.
They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should
I listen to their requests?"
Is there someone or something that is more important to you than God
himself? Anyone or anything that becomes more important to you than God
can potentially become your idol. Any object, idea, philosophy, habit,
occupation, or sport that has your primary concern and loyalty—or to
any degree, decreases your trust and loyalty to God—could potentially
become an idol. And it could stop your prayers from being answered.
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We Should Keep Praying...Greg Laurie...Then he said to me, "Do not
fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to
understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were
heard; and I have come because of your words." —Daniel 10:12
Have you ever had a time when you prayed about something and there was
no answer from heaven? You were praying a lot about a certain
situation, and it seemed as though God wasn't listening to your prayer.
Let me say that He is listening. And there may be a number of reasons
He did not answer you as quickly as you had hoped.
A spiritual battle may be raging that you know nothing about. There is
a supernatural realm that functions right alongside the natural realm.
There is a thin wall that divides us. And in this supernatural world,
things are happening when we pray that we often know very little about.
In the Book of Daniel we find a fascinating story in which Daniel is
praying and an angel arrives. The angel said, "Do not fear, Daniel, for
from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble
yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come
because of your words" (Daniel 10:12). Then he essentially told Daniel
the reason for the delay in Daniel's prayer being answered: "Twenty-one
days ago, your prayer was heard in heaven, and an answer was sent. I
was bringing the answer, and I was stopped by a high-ranking demon that
opposed me. So the great archangel Michael was dispatched to deliver me
from this dilemma. And then I was freed to bring the answer to you."
If you are praying for something and haven't received an answer as
quickly as you wanted, maybe a spiritual battle has been raging. So
just remember this: God's delays are not necessarily His denials. Just
because an answer hasn't come as quickly as you would like does not
mean that it never will come at all. So keep praying.
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Pastor Rick Warren...Choose
faith and ask for help..."Don’t
worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians
verse today gives us the formula for how this works.
about everything.” First,
you talk. As you talk to God about everything, you will find the
anxiety level lessening in your life.
- “Tell God
what you need.” That’s
the second thing. A lot of times people go to God in prayer and tell
God about everything and everyone else, but don’t share their needs
with him. Tell him what you are worried about!
him for all he has done.”
There is something about gratitude that lessens
anxiety and opens the door to peace and incredible faith in your life.
matter what you’re going through in life right now, there is something
look back on and say, “God, I’m grateful for that.” So hang on to that.
How do you increase your faith when there are so many circumstances in life
that cause you to worry? Start praying in advance. Most of the time you can see
what’s coming, so you can either choose to worry about it or you can start
putting your faith in God before it gets here.
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Dr. Charles Stanley...Prayer is
life's greatest time-saver
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- Gives us
clear, timely direction, eliminating confusion
us from making wrong decisions
worry and anxiety
- Produces a
sense of calmness and peacefulness
God into our activity
- Gives us
- Gives us
- Brings us
us from getting distracted
- Reminds us
of the necessity to act
doors of opportunity
- Enables us
to discern between being busy and being fruitful
Pastor Greg McBride...How to
make an effective prayer
- Be still and know I am God (Psalms 46:8-10)
- Be kingdom minded (Colossians 3:1-3)
- Set hearts on things above
- Set minds on things above
- Be praise focused (Psalms 150:1-5)
What gets in the way of effective prayer?
- Sin (Isaiah 59:2)
- Pride (James 4:6)
- Broken Relationships (1 Peter 3:7)
- Self Centeredness (James 4:3)
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Dr. James Denison...There is no
such thing as "unanswered prayer." God
hears your every request, and in fact keeps "the prayers of all the
saints on the golden altar before the throne" of heaven (Revelation
8:3). In our fast-food instant gratification culture, it's hard to wait
on the Lord. But it's always best. This is the promise, and the
invitation, of God.
How to pray to God Read
1) Pray to
the right person - someone who loves us and is capable.
2) Pray from the correct position - don't treat God like a restaurant
3) Pray as part of the group - from a position of ownership or family.
4) Pray that God finishes out his promise - He has rescued us, now
please do the rest through us.
5) Pray for success - ask for all the right things necessary for your
6) Pray for the next thing - the next need He wants us to fill.
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There are those who say that we should only pray
for something once; otherwise, we are demonstrating a lack of faith.
Yet Jesus taught His disciples, "Keep on
asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and
you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened" (Luke
11:9). We give up far too easily sometimes.
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Rick Warren..."O Lord, God of my master, Abraham," he prayed. "Please
give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham."
Genesis 24:12 (NLT)
A major step to getting where you want to be in life is simple: ask God
to help you. Once you have found your promise in God's Word, pray and
ask God for
success, just as Eliezer did in today's verse.
Is it really okay to pray for success? Yes! If you aren't praying for
success, what's the alternative? Are you going to pray for God to make
you a failure? Eliezer clearly shows us that it is okay to ask God for
success in accomplishing a goal as long as the motive is right.
When your success helps people and honors God, praying for success does
not become a selfish act. It is the means to good testimony. In fact,
here is what the Bible says, "So let us come boldly to the throne of
our gracious God and there we will receive mercy and we will find grace
to help us when we need it" (Hebrews 4:16 NLT).
If you study Genesis 24 further, you'll find that Eliezer prayed during
his entire mission. In verse 12 he prays before he starts. In verse 15
he prays after he arrives in Nahor. And in verse 52 he prays in front
of Rebekah's family.
So my question to you today is this: Are you praying about your goals?
Are you praying about your future? Are you praying about your dreams or
are you just kind of keeping them to yourself?
Your prayers reveal a couple of things. First, they reveal how serious
you are about your goals. If you don't pray about them, you really
don't care about them that much. If you only pray about them once, they
are not a desire, they are just a whim.
The other thing your prayers reveal is how much you are depending on
God to reach your goals. If you never pray about your goals, never pray
about your job, never pray about your finances, you are not depending
on God in any of those areas. The more you depend on God, the more
So determine your present position,
decide what you want, find a promise from God to hold onto, claim it,
and then ask God for help.
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Rick Warren..."You need to persevere so that when you have done the
will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very
little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay." Hebrews
If you're discouraged because of God's delay in answering your prayers,
understand the delay is NOT a denial. Just because the answer or the
miracle hasn't come - yet - that doesn't mean God isn't going to answer
or that he's forgotten you or that he doesn't care about you. It simply
means "not yet!"
Part of becoming spiritually mature is learning the difference between
"no" and "not yet," between a denial and a delay. God's delay may
be a test of your patience. Anybody can be patient once. And, most
people can be patient twice. And, a lot of us can be patient three
times. So God tests our patience over and over and over.
He does it so you can see how patient you are. So you'll know what's
inside you, and you'll be able to know your level of commitment. God
tests you so that you can know he is faithful, even if the answers you
seek are delayed.
If you're discouraged, turn it around by remembering God teaches you
patience during delay. Ask him to transform your discouragement into
You may be going through difficult times right now. You're discouraged
because the situation you face seems unmanageable, unreasonable, or
unfair. It may seem unbearable and inside you're basically
saying, "God, I can't take it anymore. I just can't take it
anymore!" But you can.
You can stay with it longer because God is with you. He'll enable you
to press on. Remember, you are never a failure until you quit. Resist
discouragement and finish the race God has set before you.
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Dr. James C. Denison..."But these things I plan won't
happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when
the vision will be fulfilled. If it
seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass.
Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!" (Habakkuk 2:3
Even as you make a decision to follow
the dream God places in your heart, you can expect a delay. God will
not fulfill your dream immediately because this is another step toward
building your faith.
• Noah waited 120 years from the time he started building
the ark until it began to rain.
• Abraham was told he would be the father of a great nation and didn't
have a child until he was 99.
• God told Moses he would be the leader to lead his people out of 400
years of slavery, but then made him wait in the desert 40 years.
• Joseph spent years in prison before God raised him up and he became
the ruler God wanted him to be.
• God had David anointed as king, but then David waited for years until
he actually got to be king.
We all have to go through these waiting periods. Even Jesus waited for
30 years in the carpenter's shop before setting out on his public
Why do we wait? It teaches us to trust in God. We learn that His timing
is perfect. One of the facts we have to learn is this: God's delay
never destroys His purpose.
A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the
difference between "no" and "not yet," and so must we. Many times we
think God is saying, "No," but He is saying, "Not yet."
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Here's the good news: the mind which is contemplating you right now
thinks you're more valuable than all the diamonds in all the mines in
all the world. The God of the universe thinks about you more often
than the number of grains of sand in the world (Psalm 139:17). He says
that "whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye"
(Zechariah 2:8). With David you can pray
this morning, "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow
of your wings" (Psalm 17:8).
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Dr. James C. Denison…In understanding the logic of praying to an
all-knowing, all-loving God, here’s where I think we are. One: Praying
positions us to receive what God’s grace intends to give. Two: Praying
changes us, as the Holy Spirit uses our communion with God to mold us
into the image of Christ. Three: Praying for other people or in ways
which involve others will bring results insofar as God does not violate
their freedom. So pray persistently. Don’t give up on God.
Rick Warren...In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul spells out exactly what he's
praying for people. "And this is my prayer, that your love may
more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able
to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of
Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus
Christ to the glory and praise of God." (NIV)
These verses give you four things you can pray for people today -
1. "Abound in love ..." Pray that they will grow in
2. "Discern what is best ..." Pray that they make wise
3. "Be pure and blameless ..." Pray that they will do
the right thing.
4. "Filled with the fruit of righteousness ..." Pray
that they will live for God's glory.
Why don't I get everything I pray for?" Here are three reasons:
1) God is not a genie. You don't put in a prayer, rub
a thing and get whatever you want. If every prayer were answered we'd
be spoiled brats. Just like you seeing the bigger picture when your
kids ask for something, how much bigger is the picture God can see?
2) Sometimes Christians pray in conflict. You get two
Christians praying at the Super Bowl for different teams. God can't
answer every prayer at the same time.
But I think the real reason is this:
3) God knows what's best and you don't. If you think
you do, that is very presumptuous. First John 5:14 tells us, "We are
sure that He (God) hears us if we ask Him for anything that's according
to His will."(GNT) Look at the phrase "according to His will." The
attitude of your prayer needs to be: "Lord, this is my prayer request,
but Thy will be done." That's what Jesus prayed, "Lord if it's
possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless let Thy will..."
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Max Lucado..Proper prayer follows the path of revealing
God to us
before revealing our needs to God. The purpose of prayer is not to
change God, but to change us.
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Rick Warren..."Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7
At one time or another, you've probably been in a situation where
you've asked, "Doesn't God care?" The disciples asked this very
question in Mark 4.
They were out in a boat on the lake when the winds and the waves came
up. The water started sloshing over the boat and it began to fill with
water. Jesus was sleeping. The disciples woke Him up and asked the most
important question you can ever ask, "Jesus, don't you care that we're
drowning?" (Mark 4:38 NLT)
What about you? Does God care about your house payment, your health,
whether you are a success or failure in life, your children and the
education they get, whether you ever get married or not, about the
argument you had with your boyfriend, or about how you feel this
morning? God says, "You bet I care! I am a caring Father."
Matthew 6:31-32 says, "So do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat? ...
or what shall we wear? ... Your heavenly Father knows that you need
these things." The next verse goes on to say, "But seek first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added
unto you." (NIV)
Scripture says that God is interested in every little detail of your
life. That's so incredible I don't think it even sinks in. God is a
caring God. He is concerned about every little detail in your life.
A while back, a man came into my office and said, "I'm a Christian but
I don't feel like I'm going anywhere in my Christian life. I'm kind of
stuck in neutral." I said, "What do you think the problem is?" He said,
"I think my problem is I just don't love God enough." I said, "That's
not your problem. Your problem is not that you don't love God enough.
Your problem is that you don't understand how much He loves you."
Love is always a response to love. The Bible says, "We love because He
first loved us." (1 John 4:19 NIV) When you say, "I don't love God,"
it's because you don't understand just how much He really loves you. He
cares about every detail of your life. He is a compassionate, caring
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Max Lucado...Our passionate prayers move the heart of God. “The
effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Prayer does not change God’s nature; who he is will never be altered.
Prayer does, however, impact the flow of history. God has wired his
world for power, but he calls on us to flip the switch.
Most of us struggle with prayer. We forget to pray, and when we
remember, we hurry through prayers with hollow words. Our minds drift;
our thoughts scatter like a covey of quail.
Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers. Our battle with prayer is not
entirely our fault. The devil knows the stories; he witnessed the angel
in Peter’s cell and the revival in Jerusalem. He knows what happens
when we pray. “Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the
enemy’s strong places” (2 Cor. 10:4 NCV). But the walls of hell shake
when one person with an honest heart and faithful confession says, “Oh,
God, how great thou art.”
Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself
between us and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move
forward. So let’s do it.
God called us to “pray without ceasing” (1
Thess. 5:17) and Jesus declared that “My house will be called a house
of prayer” (Mark 11:17 NIV).
No other spiritual activity is guaranteed such results. “When two of
you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it,
my Father in heaven goes into action” (Matt. 18:19 MSG). He is moved by
the humble, prayerful heart.
Teach me, Lord, to take full advantage of this amazing privilege,
especially in regard to reaching others with your love. Give me a heart
for those who have yet to experience the fullness of your grace, and
prompt me to pray for them and for their welfare, both in this world
and in eternity. Lord, bring me to the front lines of this battle. In
Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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Pastor Greg Laurie...Are you facing an emergency today? Dial 911—Psalm
91:1, that is. Psalm 91 does not say you will never die. But it
is saying that you won't die before your time. It is saying that until
is done with you, His angels will keep you in all your ways . . . in
your ups and downs, when you are awake and asleep, in the sunshine and
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Greg Laurie...We don't always know what to pray in every given
situation. That is when the Holy Spirit will help you, even interceding
Romans 8:26–27 tells us, "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress.
For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.
But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be
expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the
Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony
with God's own will" (NLT).
What is God's will?
We as humans are always interested in the here and now—what will
benefit us temporarily. However God sees things in the "bye and bye"
and the eternal. God has a bigger plan than my personal happiness in
the given moment. He desires my holiness as I am conformed into the
image of Jesus Christ.
It is interesting that following Romans 8:27 is Romans 8:28-29, which
say, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For
whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
Let's put this all together, because this is showing the work of the
Holy Spirit in our lives. Allow me to loosely paraphrase: There are
times when we are overwhelmed with the way life is going. We are so
distressed that we don't even know how to pray, so we just sigh or
groan. But the Holy Spirit takes these groans and sighs and turns them
to prayers to the Father.
No matter what is happening, God is going to take your present
circumstances and bring good out of bad. But His ultimate goal is to
take all that happens, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and
make us more like Jesus. Because that is the objective and endgame for
every believer. One other thing: I have found that happiness does
not come from seeking it, but from seeking God. If you dedicate your
life to being happy, it's doubtful you ever will be.
But if you focus instead on being holy—on being the person God has
called you to be—you will find personal happiness as a byproduct of
having your priorities in order.
When we get to heaven one day, all of this will make sense! Randy
Alcorn, in his book Heaven, writes, "Seeing God will be like seeing
everything else for the first time. Why? Because not only will we see
God, He will be the lens through which we see everything else–people,
ourselves, and the events of this life."