Most people I know who pray have a praying problem. Especially when they’re praying for someone other than themselves; though, they have a problem with that also. The result of the “praying problem” is they don’t seem to get many prayers answered. This becomes a serious problem when life or death hangs in the balance.
I’m 100% about prayer! But it seems that prayer has become just a “take all pill”. There’s more to the Christian life than being saved from your sins, just as there’s more to praying than saying amen.
A scripture that has been coming to mind is: “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (Psalm 107: 20).
God doesn’t say that He sent prayer and healed them and delivered them. Does that mean that prayer can’t be involved? Of course not.
The praying problem is that we’ve tried to build our lives on prayer rather than God’s word.
God’s word reveals how we should pray and how to overcome destruction.
When he found out it was coming, Noah didn’t pray to be saved from the flood. He obeyed the instructions God gave him. Noah could have just prayed that the flood wouldn’t hurt him and his household, but it wouldn’t have done any good. Did he pray as he was building the ark? I’m sure he did. Just daily living requires prayer time, much less when on assignment from God.
So often we are quick to pray and just bypass going to God’s Word or listening to Him for instruction. Then we come up with our own doctrines such as, “God has a plan,” or “You never know what God is going to do,” or some such phrase. But in reality, we never even tried to find out what God’s will was, or what instructions the Bible gives in such situations, or to “put up our spiritual antenna” to listen to the Holy Spirit. We have a tendency to take anything that happens as the will of God. I call this Christian fatalism. Throughout the Bible, people like Noah would wait on the Lord until they got direction. We have the Word of God and the Spirit of God to help us in life, much more than those in the “Bible days”, but are we taking advantage of this?
If you feel you haven’t had much success in you prayer life, it seems to me waiting on a terminal illness to strike you, then hoping that God will heal you when you pray is akin to trying to win a 10k run having never ran more than 1k. It would be better to find out more about how to pray, and how to overcome hard times (destruction), now, before you’re in a fight for your life. I know I’m working on it. I would rather give it 100% and only get 70%, than get a whole lot of nothing.
Are you aware there are different kinds of prayers? “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty” (Ephesians 6:18, AMPC, emphasis mine). All manner means there are different kinds of prayers.
An example would be praying for someone to be saved. Jesus said, “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38). I can’t think of anywhere in the New Testament where we are to pray that God save so-and-so. In God’s mind, salvation was made available when Jesus rose from the dead; all someone has to do is receive Jesus. The issue is someone has to go and preach salvation, then people have an opportunity to accept what God has done.
Other kinds of prayer would be intercession, giving of thanks, supplications, and in the spirit. Praying for others is different than praying for yourself. Why? Because others have something to say about their life. They have to come into agreement with God’s will. You can dedicate yourself, but you can’t dedicate someone else.
So the praying problem is putting prayer above God’s Word. It’s substituting God’s Word for prayer. God has magnified His word above His name (Psalm 138:2). The importance you place on the Word of God will determine how much you’ll get out of it. You need to know how to go to God’s word and get answers for your life. If you don’t know how to appropriate God’s blessings before the time of trouble, it makes it much more difficult to appropriate during the time of trouble.
If you have children, then you know. If they won’t listen to instruction, you’re limited in what you can do for them. It’s not about love, it’s about the realities of life. Children will always let you fix their mistakes, but fixing their mistakes when they’re unwilling to listen to wisdom is unfair to them. They won’t mature, they won’t gain wisdom, and they become a burden to live with. Likewise, you need to learn to use God’s Word to get instruction for the affairs of life. At some point, skillful use of the Word may be all that stands between you and destruction.
It is incredibly wonderful that we can pray to the Living God. But prayer needs to be based on Bible prayer instructions. We also need to let the Word of God be our first “go to” place for help and instruction, then we can pray with confidence and assuage the praying problem affect. If we major in the word of God, everything else will begin to fall into place.
Stay strong and prepared.