Four combined truths, then an application-


     Truth #1: Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 6:8: “…Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” God knows full well what is best for us. He is molding each of His own for His own purposes and precisely directs the trials, blessings and issues that confront each of us as we do life. Everything in our lives works together, even when it’s tough, for the eternal good of those who love Him, Romans 8:28.

     Truth #2: which I could say is in direct connection to #1: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,” Philippians 4:6. It’s not a game God calls us to play. Yes He already knows what He will and will not be sending our way in every respect. Nothing is left to chance yet He tells us to make our requests known to Him.

     Truth #3: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,” 1 John 5:14. There is no secret to knowing the will of God and thus asking right. One must know and by knowing rightly apply the Bible. Study the Bible diligently and you will pray better.

     Truth #4: which ties into #3: “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures,” James 4:2-3. God knows what we need and what He’ll do and tells us to pray, but caveats it by saying that our prayers are heard only when prayed in accordance with His will.

     So why ask Him? God knows what I need more than I do. I’ve asked for so many things that I’m glad He never gave me. Why make my requests known to God if I’m not sure that they’re in the will of God? Prayer does not change God’s mind! We should never want for us what God does not want for us. We pray because He tells us to, and we pray more and more because we come to learn by faith more and more exactly why He tells us to.

     I cannot understand how God can be sovereign having ordained to the minutest detail every facet of my life from before I was born and yet call me to pray saying things like, “…You do not have because you do not ask.” I don’t know how that works. I do know that as I know the word of God I find myself praying more and more according to what He has revealed. I find myself in the assurance that He’ll hear because I know the will of God better with time. I see Him answering my prayers.

     Prayer does not change God. It does change me. It does change things. Prayer cannot change God’s mind. It does array His witnesses. People will be praying when someone is saved. People will be praying and watching when God does thus and such. Those who’ve made a particular request known to God, having been aligned with the eternal will of God by all of the channels of Christian living will rejoice exceedingly when God does what He does in their lives. This is the purpose then of prayer. The purpose of prayer is praise. Not just a meeting of needs, but a creating of passion and thanksgiving.

     Here’s an excellent four part sermon series on prayer from Pastor John MacArthur called Elements of True Prayer:   

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