Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7, ESV).
What is the one thing that we can do to increase the effectiveness of our prayers?
There is a difference between general prayers and specific prayers.
It’s easy to know a specific prayer because it’s noticed when answered. Asking God to bless a friend – how would you know if it’s answered? Asking the Lord to give your friend a job – you notice!
Let’s consider our prayers this week. Are they filled with general requests? Will you know if they are answered?
If we are hungry, we notice daily bread. If we’re sick, we know when our fever breaks. If someone is lost and then found – praise the Lord!
I often write about specific prayers.
I believe that God answers prayer, and even better, God wants to answer our prayers. Jesus said after teaching us to “ask” in Matthew 7, “How much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (v. 11)
Learning to ask specifically is an art. It’s developed through the years. God isn’t a celestial money machine with us having an unlimited debit card.
HHHHMMMHHM … let me rephrase this …
God has given us an unlimited debit card. As Jesus says in John 14:14, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” However, we must learn the art of asking specifically.
There are three prayers that are always answered. These prayers will help us master the basics of praying specifically this week …
- Ask God to give you an opportunity to share the gospel with someone.
- Ask God to speak to you about your besetting sin habits.
- Ask God to give you an opportunity to give someone money.
Artistic ability starts with the fundamentals and then develops through practice to a masterpiece.
I listed the three prayers above because the basics of evangelism/discipleship, forgiveness, and generosity must be learned before our faith can move mountains. If we don’t find success in these three areas, then our prayers can miss the mark when we pray according to our lusts, bitterness, prejudice, fear, and pride.
Sharing Jesus, receiving and giving grace, and generosity are the three prime colors of asking specifically!
The Apostle Paul mastered the art of asking specifically and reports in Philippians 4:19 that “God supplies every need of mine ….”
One of my favorite books is The Praying Life by Paul Miller. He writes …
All of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the Gospels can be summarized with one word: ask. His greatest concern is that our failure or reluctance to ask keeps us distant from God. But that is not the only reason he tells us to ask anything. God wants to give us good gifts. He loves to give.
No, we don’t get everything we ask from God, but as we learn to ask, we find that God answers our prayers exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask or even imagine.