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By Connie Peters
Special to The PREVIEW
Open a can of tuna when there’s a cat in the house … and you’ll have one very alert feline.
Open your heart and soul to the Lord in prayer, and you’ll have one very attentive God. 1 Peter 3:12 wonderfully states, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” Imagine it? That verse is talking about you, and His awareness of your needs.
In His attentiveness, what does the Father respond to? Here are 10 insights directly from Scripture for your meditation this week.
1. The name of Jesus.“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:14)
2. The Holy Spirit. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
3. Forgiveness. “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
4. Persistence. In Jesus’ parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), the judge gives in to a widow’s persistence. And Jesus said in verse seven, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night?”
5. Fasting. “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:17-18)
6. A pure heart.“You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:2-3)
7. Determination. Praying it through. This may be hard to understand, but sometimes it takes a determination to pray however long it takes to receive an answer. Daniel prayed 21 days (Daniel 10). Jesus prayed all night (Luke 6:12-13). Christ thought the disciples should pray for at least an hour in his time of need (Matthew 26:39-41).
8. Humility. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others…But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)
9. Corporate prayer. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:18-20)
10. Faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6). Also see: 1 John 5:13-15, Matthew 17:20-21, Matthew 21:22, Mark 9:23, Mark 11:24, Galatians 3:4-6.
Here are three ways to build up your faith concerning prayer:
1. Read the Bible — what Jesus says about prayer, the examples of answered prayer, and the many promises concerning prayer.
2. Read and listen to others’ testimonies.
3. When God answers your prayers, write them down or memorialize them in some way. Every time the Lord answered one of Julie’s prayers, she would tie a brightly colored string on her walking stick. As the stick became covered with strings, it became difficult for her to forget that God heard and answered her.
A life of prayer and a life without prayer are two completely different lifestyles. A life of prayer is life of hope, without limits, because all things are possible with God. A life of prayer banishes loneliness, when you know the Lord is always with you, always present, always listening. Knowing God loves you, hears you and answers prayers can lift you from depression. And the way God answers makes it a life of adventure, security and joy.
Motivate yourself to pray by knowing that God hears and answers your prayers.
Send your faith articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet the Faith Writers’ Team. Go to http://bettyjslade.com/BJS/Writing_Opportunity.html.