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Welcome Back to
My Brother's Keeper
Welcome back my friend!
Remember the word integrity from the step about your character? I
trust that you have the integrity to take just one step a day, it is
the best way!
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
You may be wondering why prayer isn't one of the first Steps in My
Brother's Keeper. It's simply because the sincerity of your prayer is
more important than the procedure of it, and you've been increasing
your sincerity with every step you take. I'm not saying that I didn't
want you to pray up to this point, I'm just saying that we will now
The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Effective Christian Prayer
You're going to love this step. It doesn't matter if you're a
shepherd or a sheep, we all want our prayer to be more
effective and to feel closer to God. In this study, you'll discover
that effective prayer is simple and with just the tips that
are in the Bible, you can improve your prayer life dramatically.
Before we start, there are a few misunderstandings about prayer, and
habits that you may have formed that need to be looked at before you
can expect positive improvement in your prayers, so let's talk for a
moment about what prayer is not. Don't be offended if one or more of
these things describe a pattern that you follow in prayer. But
instead, rejoice that after learning more from the Bible about prayer
in the next few minutes, you'll be on your way to a closer
relationship with the Lord.
- Prayer is not ... A daily rattling off of your list of
complaints to God. Most of the things we complain to God about can be
changed by our own choices. Always remember, we are God's servants,
He is not ours.
- Prayer is not ... Something we do because we feel
obligated. Our Father wants us to spend time with Him because of a
sincere desire to, not because we need to have our prayer time card
- Prayer is not ... A one sided conversation. You're not the
only one present and participating. We'll talk about this more a
little later in this step.
- Prayer is not ... Better because of how long of a time you
spend in prayer.
- Prayer is not ... Reciting the same words over and over
and over again, most of the time with no emotion, or many times with
your mind concentrating on something completely different while the
words drone in your mind. When Jesus spoke the Lord's prayer, He said
that this was the manner in which we should pray, not the only prayer
we should offer. A heartfelt prayer is not repetition without thought.
If any of these things have become your habits, get ready for a
totally new attitude about prayer. The first thing you need to do is
relax. There are no procedures to follow or prerequisites to fulfill.
Your prayer is as unique as you are. No two people pray alike. Only
you can decide how you pray. Ready?
Let's get started.
An important thing to know about prayer is understanding who you're
praying to. Get to know who the Lord is.
The Lord is your Spiritual Father. So when you pray, do not imagine
some far off deity. Instead know that He is your loving Father who
seeks to share time and thoughts with His child as often as He can.
He wants you to talk with Him ... Not at Him.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the
prayer of the upright is his delight.
What is prayer? Prayer is the way that Christians communicate with
God. But do you feel like you're at a loss for words when you pray?
What on earth are you supposed to talk about when you pray, anyway?
If you're new to prayer and you're having trouble getting started,
maybe this will help. Pretend that someone just introduced you to
Jesus for the first time, and left you alone together to talk. Get to
know Him. How do you do that? Talk! What would you tell Him? What
would you ask? You may feel a bit silly, being that He already knows
you better than you do, but tell Him all about you. You may learn
things about yourself that you didn't know, because many times we
don't discover things about ourselves until we talk about them. Are
there questions that you've always wondered about Him? Ask! Are there
things about yourself that you've never told anyone? Tell Him your
secrets. It will bring you closer to Him and your friendship will
begin to flourish. Trust Him! Share your successes, your failures,
your dreams, your disappointments, your happiness, your sadness ...
Everything! He IS your best friend.
Now that you're getting the idea, remember that God and the Holy
Spirit are there for you too. When you feel you need a more Fatherly
ear, give your prayer to God. If you feel you need guidance, or if
you're lonely, the Holy Spirit is waiting for your invitation.
Sometimes you may just feel like spending time with the Lord, without
speaking. Just knowing His presence is with you, is very fulfilling.
Sometimes you just can't put your thoughts into words when you want
to pray, but don't worry, because God knows your heart. The Apostle
Paul explains (paraphrased):
Our Spirit groans during prayer, the Holy Spirit searches the heart
and mind of your Spirit and tells God.
Pray in the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Know ye that the Holy Spirit dwells in you.
There is no designated time when to pray.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are available whenever you
want or need to talk to them. You don't have to make an appointment,
call ahead of time or save up your prayers for Sunday morning. Just
invite them into your heart.
When you first wake up, say "Good Morning" to God, Jesus and the Holy
Spirit. Hide and watch whether the times you remember to do this,
your day goes better. Make this a habit in your life. Put something
on your nightstand, or your bathroom mirror that will remind you that
He is waiting for you to talk to Him. Attach a "post it" note to your
kitchen cabinet, on the refrigerator, or anywhere and everywhere to
remind you to greet Him throughout the day. If your child woke up and
didn't say good morning to you, you would be hurt or think he was mad
at you. Don't ignore God ... You are His child. Starting out the day,
giving your undivided attention to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
will result in a better day.
When things go wrong stop and pray. If you don't, they may just get
worse, but if you ask God for help, will He not help His child?
Oh, and one more thing ... Don't wait for things to go wrong to pray.
God is happy to hear from you when things are going right too,
otherwise it may seem like you are taking Him for granted or taking
advantage of Him.
Where should you pray? Jesus taught us that we should pray in
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou
hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy
Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
This doesn't mean that you're confined to your room when you pray.
You can pray anywhere, anytime, just as long as it's only between you
This brings up some questions. What about blessing meals or praying
Certainly our Father wants the church to pray together, but community
prayer is quite different from personal prayer. If everyone present
is praying in unity, remember what Jesus said:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them.
If you're giving thanks for a meal, and everyone present is in
agreement to give thanks, likewise, you are glorifying God together,
if you're not seeking edification (attention or glory) because of
Saying a little "God bless Grandma and Grandpa" with Junior before
bed? Splendid! We do have to teach the children. But now let's look
at some other situations.
In a restaurant, among strangers, you may just want to give your
thanksgiving to God silently without revealing it to others. If you
bow your head, you're really just saying "Look at me, I'm praying."
If you're moving your lips while you whisper your prayer, or give any
hint at all that you're praying, you're not really doing it for God,
you're doing it for attention.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for
they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of
the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward.
Did you catch that? What is their reward? The attention they got from
people. Let your reward be in Heaven.
In a chat room, let's say someone opens up the floor for prayer for
something or someone. Everyone begins to put their petitions up on
the board. They're not really speaking to God, they're speaking to
the other people in the room. They carefully choose their most
eloquent words to post, clearly for self edification (praise). Some
continue, trying to outdo the others present. There's no need to
display sincere prayers to God. If someone wants to be prayed for,
your silent prayer speaks volumes to God, compared to revealing your
intimate conversation with Him in an open forum. It's an insult to
the Lord when you want others to share in your communion with Him. If
there is Godly conversation in the room and you're spiritually moved
by it, an enthusiastic "Amen" or something similar is quite
different. Nobody wants to quench your passion, but there is a time
and a place for everything. In prayer, the time is anytime, and the
place is in the privacy of your mind, with God.
This can be a very controversial topic. The best thing to do is
follow your conscience, not your pride and you will be able to feel
when it is appropriate, and what is appropriate to say in prayer in
There are millions of reasons why to pray, but most of them fall into
about five categories.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Do you ever pray with thanksgiving? That means do you thank
God in advance for the things you ask Him for? When you do this,
you're showing the strength of your faith and your lack of doubt.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For
he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any
thing of the Lord.
Being double minded means you're not sure of something, you have
doubt or you have different opinions about something ... You're
hopeful, but you're not absolutely positively, without a doubt. To be
single minded means to be certain and confident about what you think.
(Make sure) when you ask with thanksgiving, you're not being
presumptuous by doing this. In other words, don't assume that God
owes you what you're asking for just because you gave Him thanks in
advance. Your thanks should be given with the intention of showing
praise, not expectation for your own gain. Here's an example:
In the name of Christ Jesus,
At one with the Holy Spirit,
If it be according to your will,
Make your request here
I believe that with you, all things are possible.
Thank you for answering my prayer.
Glory and praise to you, my Almighty Father.
I love you.
Don't forget you are here to glorify God, not only in representing
Jesus Christ, but also in the praise and thanksgiving you offer to
Him. What better way is there to glorify Him than to praise Him?
Praying for others is such a wonderful gift. In praying for
someone else, you could actually be releasing miracles for them. You
just never know the power of prayer!
2 Corinthians 1:11
Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed
upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on
our behalf. [Prayer of others can cause miracles.]
As you learned at the very beginning of this study, everybody prays
differently. Sometimes you may pray for hours at a time, and
sometimes you may just whisper one word (like Alleluia or Thanks or
Amen). How you pray is entirely up to you. Just remember, there are
no limitations on prayer, small or large. Your Father judges your
heart, and the only thing He wants from you, is sincerity. With that
in mind, there are some things in the Bible that you may find helpful
to know about prayer.
In the Name of Jesus Christ
Pray in Jesus' name. Jesus said:
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Does that mean that if you forget to say "In the name of Jesus, I ask
... " that your prayer won't be answered? Absolutely not. Again, your
Father judges your heart.
God's Will Be Done
Here's a very important thing that the Apostle John wrote about
prayer: Ask according to God's will.
1 John 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that,
if we ask any thing according to His Will, He heareth us:
15 And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we
know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
This is especially important when you're praying for others. Think
about this. What if someone asks you to pray for a special reason for
them, or what if you, in the goodness of your heart, take it upon
yourself to pray for something that someone didn't ask for, but you
believe it would be a blessing for them. So, you pray for them, but
you didn't know, the wish is not God's will for them. The prayer is
not answered in the way hoped for, and questions arise about
believing to receive, and asking in Jesus' name, and many other
doubts. This, my friend, can be harmful to their faith, and yours.
Not only this, but if the prayer does come to pass, if it wasn't
God's will, this can be become a disaster. When you pray for someone
else, always be certain, that you're praying for God's will (God's
wish or intention) to be done.
There's a humorous little saying that someone came up with that goes
like this: God answers all prayers. His answers are, Yes, No, and Not
now. All joking aside, praying for God's will to be done in our lives
may be a little hard to understand at first, because the human
creature is naturally a selfish being. We want what we want. But what
about what God wants? He is our Creator, after all. He owns the
remote control of our lives. He created a plan for us, but sometimes
we think we're the ones in control. What does that mean, anyway ...
According to His will? It means that you're putting your life in
God's hands ... Giving Him back the controls.
Many things the world offers may appear exciting, but we don't see
what lies behind it's deceiving promises. God does. He wants our
prayers and plans to be His plans. We often make our own plans and
think we're headed in the right direction, but if we don't involve
God in the planning, we'll probably end up on the wrong path. Don't
get this wrong now, God loves you so much that He wants to give you
the desire of your heart, and He wants your plans to succeed and your
dreams to come true, so when we pray for something that is not His
will, He patiently leads us in the right direction.
He finds ways to fulfill our hopes while still being in harmony with
His will. At first it may seem like your prayer is not answered, but
if we follow the direction that He points us in, we'll find what we
were looking for, without disappointment. Many times you'll realize
that what you were praying for, was something you really didn't want.
Praise God for His infinite wisdom!
So, how do you avoid going in the wrong direction in the first place?
Commit (trust) your prayers and plans to Him, and He'll show you the
right thing to do.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
The more you grow in Him by following His plans, the more you become
like Him. You will take on His character and His thoughts will become
your thoughts, because He lives through you, guiding you and
conforming you to His image. The more you become like Him, the closer
you'll be to the center of HIS will and your selfishness will vanish.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray
unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search
for me with all your heart.
Don't forget to listen when you pray. Listen with your heart. Ask Him
what He wants to say from His heart, and then listen. You're having a
conversation with the Lord, so give Him a chance to talk. Give Him
time to answer. Don't forget that God is a Spirit ...
God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit
and in Truth.
His answers may not be in the form you expect. You never know how He
may answer you ... Wind, thunder, or perhaps a still small voice as
Elijah described ...
1 Kings 19:12
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire:
and after the fire a still small voice.
Sing Praise to the Lord
Did you know that singing is a way of praying?
All of the Psalms in the Bible are songs that king David wrote to the
Lord. There is a saying that goes like this: "He who sings, prays
I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness: and will
sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
2 Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the
psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud
In these next passages, the words in bold face show the different
ways that some people in the Bible prayed. Also, some of these
scriptures are paraphrased for brevity.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of
the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the
seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his
law doth he meditate day and night.
In the morning I direct my prayer to God and look up.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our
Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up
of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his
house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he
kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks
before his God, as he did aforetime.
1 Kings 8:54
And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this
prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar
of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to
1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands,
without wrath and doubting.
And He [Jesus] was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and
kneeled down, and prayed.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed
Below are some of the words of Jesus concerning prayer.
Love is also a very important part of prayer.
1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge,
giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as
being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be
Other Ways You Can Offer Prayer
Keep a Journal
Note: This is a private journal to God and should not be
revealed to anyone.
You may have heard before that the Bible is the Lord's love letter to
you. How about writing down your prayers to Him? It's also a great
way to see the progress of your prayer life and your walk of faith.
Think about when we discussed praying for God's will a few moments
ago, and remember that God's perspective (what God takes into
consideration when He answers our prayers) is eternity. When He
answers a prayer, our temporal outlook on our lives, sometimes cause
us to limit our perspective and we can't see the potential of the
blessings that He bestows on us. You may pray for the opportunity to
serve God better, and His answer to your prayer may not be the same
plan as yours. Keep your heart open to the doors He opens in your
life. There may be sacrifices that are necessary in order to fulfill
His will. The means by which His will is accomplished may seem
extreme to us, but don't forget, He's in control, and He knows what's
best. Things that seem tragic to us, are sometimes a blessing from
our Father. For example: Sometimes the only way to make time in some
peoples lives to serve Him is to remove us from things that we hold
most important to us, because we put those things above Him. That may
even mean things that we love. A child may move away, you may lose
your job, a loved one may even die. These things seem extreme at
first, but if you pray for the wisdom to understand God's plan,
you'll find the blessing that He intends.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every
branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth
Jesus' words mean that God purges, or prunes our lives, so that we
can produce more fruit for Him. Often times we have false
expectations that blessings mean more (family, friends, possessions,
power, money, etc.) in our lives. My friends, in serving the Lord,
less IS more!
Father, It's Me Again
Remember that little saying about God's answers to prayer being, Yes,
No, and Not now? Let's talk about when the answer is, Not now.
Sometimes we must be patient in waiting for our prayers to be
answered. God's timing isn't always our timing. We tend to want
things to happen now, we don't want to wait. But, again, we don't see
the full picture. From eternity, the things we think are important
don't amount to much, but God created us with a specific purpose in
mind, and His timing is perfect! So, when we think things are moving
too slow in our life, we need to wait, because God is moving
everything into its proper place.
Whether you hit your knees when you first wake up in the morning, or
whether you squeeze your eyes shut, or whether you lace your fingers
so tightly that your knuckles turn white, or open your arms and lift
your hands toward heaven, or whether you look up or bow down, or face
the east, or light incense or burn a candle in the dark, these things
are all up to you.
I cannot say it better than a little boy named Timmy who said this on
TV after being rescued from the bottom of a well that he fell into:
Best prayer I ever done was when I was upside down in that well.
The important thing to remember when you pray is your sincere and
earnest desire to communicate with God, your maker, and share your
heart with Him.
Well, that was quite a lesson, and you probably can't wait for the
next time you pray, because you've probably thought of a bunch of
different things you want to talk about with God now that you know a
lot more of what the Bible says about prayer.
Be sure to bookmark this page as to be able to return daily.
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