Anyone can verbalize their problems to God and think they are praying. Effective prayer is when you remind God of His promises and you appropriate those promises into your life.
I know I’ve heard this many times before but just this morning, the Lord refreshed this in my heart like I was hearing it for the first time. Prayer, the preacher said, is not so much about giving God a blow by blow account of your problems. Rather, prayer is when you remind God of His promises and ask Him to fulfill those promises to your specific situations.
To some people, this is like splitting hairs over some technical definitions of prayer. It’s not. The truth is that how you approach your prayers actually spells the difference whether they’re going to be answered or not.
Jesus said that it will be done to you according to your faith (Matt. 9: 29). If you stop for a moment and consider that, it’s actually a very powerful promise. God will give us what we believe He will give us. When we recite our problems to Him, we are not coming to Him in faith. In effect, we are not believing Him to do something; we’re simply grumbling, and complaining, and telling Him how difficult life is.
Confessing His word back to him is totally different. When you have back pains, you don’t pray by telling God how much it hurts. You pray by claiming his promise. It’s like saying, “God, I’m really in pain right now but I’m not gonna dwell on that. I just would like to remind you that in Exodus 15: 26, you said that you are the God that heals me…”
That change in perspective doesn’t change the fact that you’re hurting. Yes, the pain could still be there; maybe it’s not gonna go away very soon. But by changing the way you look at the situation, you create an atmosphere in your life where miracles can happen. Instead of a whiny attitude, you stand in faith, believing God’s word more than your pain.
This is the interesting part. Where there is faith, there the hand of God can move freely. In fact, it seems like God is compelled to move in a miraculous way when somebody believes He will do it.
Question: Is your prayer more of a declaration of faith in God’s promises or a litany of your endless problems?