Part 1 of 2 – The An Old Path to a New Day Series
How one prays, when one prays and why one prays is greatly influenced by a couple of things. These things directly affect one’s prayer life and the effect that prayer has in one’s life. They include:
- Beliefs about God
- Beliefs about oneself
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Many people believe that their Heavenly Father is harsh, operates on conditional love and expects perfection; that they will be punished if they don’t do things right. The list of bad beliefs that many of us have goes on and on. However, if we are to persevere and persist in prayer, we have to choose to confront these bad beliefs and fight to establish truth in our hearts (spirit) concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at some truths about God.
The Truth about our Lord Jesus Christ is Eternal
God is unlike any human being. That is why Jesus had to come in the flesh to reveal who God is and that He created us, loves us, chooses us, redeems us and fills us to live life with Him. However, all this truth will only be experienced by those born again in Christ, those who truly want to know their Father.
Hebrews 11:6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.
The Lord our God is not only true in His nature, but He is true to His nature. While we are not always true to ourselves, we can rest knowing that God and His love for us are unchanging.
Prayer is “Believing“ that Our Heavenly Father Loves Relationship with Us
Scripture tells us over and over that God delights to give us all the good and wonderful things in His Kingdom. This is done as we love, honor, obey, submit and enjoy the relationship that has been provided through Jesus Christ.
James 1:16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all His creatures.”
We need to believe prayer is a privilege of our relationship with God, rather than an obligation or rule. The Holy Spirit does not judge, accuse or condemn us if we don’t pray, however, we will be weaker and poorer of spirit if we do not.
What We Believe about Ourselves Impacts Our Relationship with Jesus Christ
If we are to learn how to persist in prayer, we must tear down strongholds in our minds, built by constant lies from the enemy, and choose to believe what God says in His Word about who we are.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special posession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
We should be guided by hope and faith. We often say our hope is in God, when it is really in His promise or our desired answer. We most often focus on what we want God to do and how we want Him to do it. However this often brings disappointment and doubt, a belief that God doesn’t hear or answer “my” prayers. We must allow God to exceed our expectations in His own time.
Faith is believing what God says and activating that “belief” in prayer until we are directed to take action beyond our praying. Faith stirs up the “impossible“ juices in us and helps us imagine “what could be”. We then bring these ideas to the table in our conversation (prayer) with God and continue in that line of prayer until we get our action points.
Persisting, persevering prayer doesn’t focus on the surrounding circumstances or what is seen, rather what is unseen, the eternal heart of God. Thus, it is important that we do not give up on prayer. As in the words of evangelist George Muller, “I have seen thousands of prayers answered in the same hour they were prayed. Other prayers I have prayed daily for 62 years without answer and I pray both with the same faith, for God is faithful.”
Talk About It…
- What are your first thoughts regarding today’s topic? Please share with the group.
- What does it look like to be persistent in your prayer life? What areas do you feel like you are not praying enough, or at least being persistent in praying for certain things?
- What are some “bad beliefs” about God that you have had to overcome?
- What are some good and wonderful things that God has shared with you from His kingdom?
- Why do you think Jesus taught his disciples about the persistence of prayer?
- Read Hebrews 5:7-8. What can we learn from Jesus’ reverent submission?
- What are some of your own barriers to persistent prayer? How can you overcome them?
- Is there anything in today’s topic that you would be excited to share with a friend?