Minimal Prayer
Minimal Prayer
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Minimal Prayer


Many believers have minimal prayer lives because they believe that their prayers make very little real difference. Perhaps, they believe that God does what he wants to do regardless of what they pray or whether they pray. Perhaps, they fall into that group of people who simply don’t believe that God responds to their personal prayers. Maybe their requests to an earthly father went unheeded or earned a rebuke and they project that template onto their Heavenly Father. Because they struggle with their self worth and identity, these individuals don’t sense their significance in the kingdom and, therefore, believe that God hears and responds to the prayers of   “spiritual people,” but not theirs. Because of that, they don’t pray.


However, God has promised to not only hear our prayers but to act on those prayers when we pray according to his will. The apostle John declared, “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 Jn. 5:14-15, emphasis added). Speaking of our requests, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (Jn.14:11-14).


Those promises are not just for a few “spiritually elite” believers, but for every follower of Jesus Christ. We also have the following promise. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:7-9).


When we pray, we sow into the spiritual realm. Our prayers can be thought of as seeds that are planted and then watered by subsequent prayers and faith. When the time is right, the power of God causes them to germinate and answers to our prayers are then manifested on earth. Of course, some prayers receive an immediate response from God, but most require some persistence on our part. That is the “don’t grow weary in doing good” part of Paul’s exhortation.


The essential key to effective prayer is found in John’s text where he said, “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.” The key is to pray according to God’s will. An old 1970’s  Janis Joplin song summarizes the misunderstood version of such promises. She sang:


Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery each day until three,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a color TV?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?
I’m counting on you, Lord, please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town?

Some people have expressed the promises of answered prayer much like Joplin’s lyrics express them and then label God as uncaring or unreliable when their prayers go unanswered. It is true that God is willing to give us the desires of our heart but only when those desires line up with his…according to his will.


God is not obligated to give us whatever we ask for anymore than a loving earthly Father is obligated to give his thirteen-year-old a pearl black Maserati that can achieve a nifty 195 mph on the highway for his or her birthday. The thirteen year old may want the car more than anything and even have faith that the Father will give him what he asks, but a wise and loving father would never say yes to that request – not only for the child’s welfare but also for the welfare of everyone on the road. God is a good father. He will deny prayers that are selfish, destructive, and carnal because he cares for us and those whose lives we affect.


However, when our hearts are tuned to his, the Father will surely answer our prayers in amazing and powerful ways. In the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve authority over his creation. They turned their authority over to Satan but Jesus took it back. He subsequently gave that authority to us. It is his intent to rule this world but to rule it through his people. Because of that, he honors our authority by waiting for us to ask before he acts in a significant number of things. Since he often waits on us before he moves, our prayers are incredibly significant and even essential to the kingdom. Every believer’s prayers are essential to his will being done on earth as it is in heaven. Never let the enemy tell you that your prayers don’t matter because they matter more than you will ever know. Ask the Father what he wants you to pray about and how he wants you to pray and then see what he does. You may well be amazed.








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