Prayer and its effectiveness is always a sensitive area for Christians. Some say it works, some say it doesn't, some have never tried it and some swear by it! So why is prayer such a contentious issue. Well, as you would expect, I have an opinion which is wholly scriptural and I think worthy to be considered!
First of all I want to explore a number of different themes and then you will see my line of thinking:
- Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
- Luke 6:45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
- Luke 11:9 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock on the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
- Romans 4:17 As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. He was appointed our father in the sight of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and speaks of the non-existent things that he has foretold and promised as if they've already existed.
To encapsulates the above Scriptures, they read to me; Watch what you say because out of the desires of your heart and what you persistently say, you call things into being that don't already exist.
Prayer is our problem!
We are such contrary beings. We can't keep our mouths shut. As soon as we pray for one thing, say healing, we then can go and say things like 'my cancer' or 'I am really sick'. Or, I believe God for my finances but in the next breath say I'm skint!
I believe that our "unthoughtful" words cancel out our prayers.
Zechariah was Gagged
If we look at the beginning of the gospels, in Luke 1:11 the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple and said that Zechariah's wife Elizabeth would have a child. However Zechariah's response was how can I be sure you're telling me the truth? Gabriel gets upset about this and stopped Zechariah from talking for nine months. Only after the baby John had been born and Zechariah confirmed that his name was to be called John was you given the ability to start speaking again, at which time he began to praise God.
It is my assertion that on helpful and I'm thoughtful words create unbelief and I damaging. In this case Zechariah's speech could have had disasters ramifications if he kept talking, therefore Gabriel shut him up for nine months.
Mary was also visited by Gabriel however when told that she would give birth to the Messiah Mary asked how this would be achieved as she was still a virgin. After Gabriel explained what would happen that she would be covered by the holy spirit, her final remark was "May your words to me be fulfilled". She confessed, spoke into being a final conclusion, the birth of the Messiah.
Peter's failure corrected by Jesus
Jesus told Peter before the cockerel crows, Peter would deny him three times. This happened whilst Jesus was being interrogated prior to his death.
When Jesus met the disciples (after he had risen from the dead) on the shore of lake Gallilee after they had been fishing, Jesus asked Peter three times "do you love me" and three times Peter replied yes. Jesus knew that he had to negate and cancel out what Peter had said in order to fulfill Peter's ministry.
Can you see a pattern emerging?
God knows how contrary we are, which is why the parable in Luke 11:5 of the man asking his neighbour again and again to open up is a clear illustration for us to keep our requests consistent.
You know how it is, we go to church once a week, sit quietly and pray when we're told, sing a song and then forget the prayers as soon as we walk out.
We don't forget to worry about what is looming though. Yet we're told not to worry as it won't add a single day to our lives. We're also told not to fear, but we do. Thinking on, when we do worry or fear, we are actually sinning because we're told not to do it.
Consider this: repentance is about doing a 180° about-face. To stop doing what we're doing wrong and continue in a different direction. Therefore we need to:
- Watch what we say
- Watch how we feel; nervous, anxious, fear, guilt, worry (see the article Your legal rights as a Christian according to the bible)
- Confess (say aloud) our sins to God
- Confess (say aloud) our new direction
- Confess (say aloud) our new prayers and do not waiver
- Petition, write up our prayers and pin or stick them up so they can reminded us how we need to think.
Renew You Mind
Romans 12:2 it's all about renewing your mind and not letting "stinking thinking" get the better of us and making us say something wrong - out loud.
Psalms 94:11 says that the Lord knows that our thoughts are worthless. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:20 also quotes this verse. You may also have heard the saying, "The birds of the air may fly over your head, but don't let them make a nest in your hair". In short, whilst you can think what you like, don't let anything bad take root in your heart - for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!
God wants us victorious and we are the ones who will make it happen. What Jesus did on the cross was out of this world - he did his bit, now let us do ours and watch what we say.
Stay blessed and keep at it.
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