praying scripture

The 2nd Way to Increase Your Confidence in Prayer

Now let us focus on a second way to increase our confidence in prayer – by ridding ourselves of the confusion of not knowing how to pray. Uncertainty with regard to discovering and praying according to the will of God is a debilitating confidence robber. The epistle of James likens this condition to being plagued by doubt, tossed to and fro like a wave of the sea, and terms it “double-mindedness” (James 1:6, 8 NIV). He tells us that such a “person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7 NIV). Truth be told, nothing deflates our rising expectation for answered prayer like double-mindedness.

But wait, the opposite is also true. Nothing pumps up our prayer expectations like knowing the will of God. No one explains this better than the Apostle John. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him” (1 John 5:14-15 NIV Emphasis Added). These verses lay the foundation upon which every effective prayer should be based – asking according to His will. The challenge, of course, in any given situation which requires prayer, is to discover exactly what the will of God is. This is obviously easier said than done.

What then should a person to do who desires to pray, but is battling double-mindedness and has no confidence as to what the will of God may be?

2. ASK FOR A SPIRIT GIVEN, WORD BASED PRAYER. It is to the Holy Spirit that we must look for confident direction in our praying and it is with a yielded will that we must come to the throne of grace in order to receive that direction.

Praying for those who don’t know Jesus

Previously, in my post Turning Promises into Prayers, I explained the simple process of crafting prayers using scripture and made a case for the power that is released in persistently praying God’s Word back to Him.

Now as an example, I want to share a scriptural prayer that I wrote for use in praying for the people in my life who do not yet have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have found that this prayer releases great faith in my heart as I regularly pray through it. And it encourages me to be persistent in praying because I know that it is both God’s way and God’s will for people to come salvation.

I would encourage you to printout this prayer and try using it for at least seven times in praying for those on your prayer list who are not yet Christians. You can insert their names in the blanks. Be intentional as you pray this prayer to do it with both feeling and conviction.

Pray like Jesus for Family and Friends

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” John 17:9

Have you ever struggled to pray regularly for the people God has placed in your life? I know I have. Like many people, for years I used a prayer list of all my family and friends as a helpful place to begin. But even then I often had difficulty staying focused and praying meaningful, confident prayers for many of them. Invariably I would gravitate merely to a rote recitation of their names as I moved down the list. It was not however, until I discovered a biblical, tried and true way to effectively pray for them, that a new focus and faith began to energize my prayers.

There is one chapter in the Bible that is dedicated entirely to a verbatim prayer recited by Jesus. That chapter is John 17 and it is considered to be one of the great treasures in all of scripture because it preserves for posterity an entire prayer, prayed by the greatest pray-er who ever lived! Some have called it the His great High Priestly Prayer.

Apart from the first verse which says “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed” everything that follows is in red letters. They are the words of Jesus as He prays to the Father for a very specific group of people: “for all those you have given me” (vs. 2, 6) and for “those who will believe in me through their message.” (vs. 20) In fact Jesus specifically narrows the field by saying “I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me.”

Who then is this select group for whom Jesus was praying?

Making a Case for Crafted Prayer

The prayer recorded is the prayer rewarded.

That is a phrase the Lord spoke to me many years ago and I have used it to inscribe the inside front cover of each new prayer journal which I begin. It has been a motivational reminder to me of the power of sealing my prayers in pen and ink so that I can pray them again and again until they are answered.

It is not a novel idea with me. The Bible itself is a prayer journal, with many prayers penned by the likes of Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon, Nehemiah and the prophets Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Jesus’ unparalleled prayers for his followers are recorded as well along with the many apostolic prayers throughout the New Testament, not the least of which are Paul’s. Each of these prayers have been prayed over and over again for centuries because they carry the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit while embodying the eternal nature and purposes of God.

Since the first century, believers in each generation have also recorded their inspired prayers. Many iconic prayers from famous saints and prayer books compiled by various sects exist today as a result. Along with the biblical models of prayer these anointed prayers serve us like familiar old friends to guide us in prayer when we lack for words or feel like we are groping in the darkness for direction as to how to pray.

Praying these prayers with a humble heart can revive the soul and lend fervency and focus to our prayer life. Because they were obviously penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they also release faith because we know that they express the will of God. That is what the Apostle John is referring to when he writes “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

Understanding this basic prayer principle and applying it in our everyday communication with God will vitalize our prayer lives. And not only that, praying scriptures and other God-breathed prayers introduces an eternal quality to our praying that transcends time and space. Such prayer carries a cumulative effect as it is coupled with similar prayers prayed by yourself and others all the way from the past to the present.

And here is an even more provocative thought. Why not record your own inspired, Holy Spirit anointed prayers? In so doing you can pray them again and again, while each time rekindling the same passion and faith you had when you first were energized to pray them. Since in most cases they may have been given at a point of focused need, these prayers are like a precious revelation given by God to aid you in contending for their fulfillment.

This form of prayer can be generated in several ways. One familiar form is termed crafted prayer. Crafted prayer is a deliberate engagement with the Lord though worship, Bible reading and meditation upon appropriate scriptures with the goal in mind of writing out a prayer that expresses the cry of your heart for what you desire. What has been written can then be prayed repeatedly and even shared with others asking them to agree in prayer with you.

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