Effective Prayer Is Expectant Prayer (ATP)
When praying about something, do you just pray once about it (say one day, one time & move on and wait )or do you keep it in your daily prayers? Example: healing for instance.
How are we supposed to pray? Though the Bible has more than sufficient instruction on the matter, it seems that believers often are befuddled with this question. I myself have thought this often in the past. To truly understand how to pray we must understand why we pray. Prayer, in its simplest form, is us conversing with God. I would say that we pray to express something to Him or for Him to express something to us. To most however it seems that prayer is just them asking something of God. God wants us to ask Him, however if our only conversation with Him is to see what we can get, it would seem that this is a very shallow point of connection.
I have many conversations with many people on any given day. How would we rate them if my conversation were only me asking people to give me something or to do something for me? The fact is, we know how to converse with people, so we should know how to converse with God. Matthew 6:7 says, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” When I looked up the word heathen I found something interesting. A heathen is described as one who is alien to the worship of the true God. God’s desire is for us to have a relationship with Him, but to most the idea of this is alien. Most would think it weird to walk up to random people you don’t know and ask them for various whatevers. My children don’t go to my neighbors asking what’s for dinner, they come home where it is not foreign to them. In the same way, they know they don’t have to beg because they know their parents. The reason for this is because trust and understanding has been built between us.
Asking things of God should be very much the same. Look what Jesus said in John 15:7. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Notice asking and getting are connected to your relationship (abiding or living) with Him. Often times people are pleading with God, not out of built trust or love, but from a place of sort of stabbing in the dark. It’s more a gamble to them if anything and this is wholly unpleasant to our loving Father. Why would anyone answer that kind of request?
Our relationship with God should be established on trust. 1 John 5:15 says, “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” If we know He hears, and we know we have, then repetitive asking would seem pointless, wouldn’t it? Actually, if my kids asked me for something, and I said yes, and they kept asking I’d get downright annoyed! I would probably tell them, “Now, you’re going to wait!”
This leads me to the last point, which is, that we are held responsible to know some things. God, through His written Word, has already promised us a host of things. One of these is healing. Asking God for healing over and over tells God that we do not trust it belongs to us! You cannot be saved if you continually ask for it, neither can you be healed this way. These are things already given to us as believers (if we truly are) so these things must be received.
How do you receive a gift? You don’t ask for it, you thank the giver. Look what the Apostle Paul told the church in Colossians 4:2, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Prayer again is not just asking for something but conversing with God. Space would keep me from getting into all of what prayer is but remember that if prayer to the one “praying” is only asking God for stuff, they don’t understand what God meant prayer to be!Thanksgiving is a type of prayer and that is how we receive what God has for us.
To sum this up, it is our responsibility to know what God has already promised us through the Word. Those things we simply receive with thanksgiving. We save our asking for those who don’t know the wonderful things God has given. If there is something you desire and it is not specifically talked about in scripture (i.e. a house, a car, a spouse), ask Him once and thank Him for it thereafter. God isn’t looking for you to ask Him for something a bunch of times, He’s looking for you to trust Him and be thankful.