And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:21-22)
And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son. (John 14:13)
What is Prayer?
The most common answer you will get in christian circles to that question is that “prayer is communing (communicating) with God”. In a more practical sense, I will say prayer is how we show our dependence on God and our reverence for Him.
Just as there are principles of good and effective communication between human parties, some rules apply to prayer to make it effective. Despite this rules however, it is wonderful to know that because we are attempting to communicate with God who is by all means and standards far advanced in His communication skills (what do you expect of someone who has been communicating before the world began!), He so graciously overlooks and overcomes the weaknesses inherent in our communication to still make it effective. the bible says that before we ask He knows and while we are still asking He answers.
God is so committed to hearing and answering prayer that there are just two main rules.
Rule 1: Pray- That means open your mouth and say a prayer. There is no prayer without words. They may be silent or loud but they have to be said. The psalmist said “hear the voice of my supplications” (Psalm 28:2)
Rule 2: Have faith- Believe that God has heard your prayer and that He is committed to answering (Matthew 21:22). The adjunct to this rule is Rule 2a: Keep on praying-Prayer reinforces our faith. Sometimes our faith begins to waver when we don’t see or hear God’s reply as fast as we want it on in the way we want it. Keep praying and you will soon be praising. Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 Amp)
How does God answer prayer?
Every passage in the bible about prayer talks about receiving what you have prayed for. Through the centuries people have asked for every kind of thing you can imagine. A lot of these are recorded in the bible and you have no doubt observed some in your life time as well. People have asked for personal things, national things, material things, emotional things, tangible, intangible, measurable, miraculous signs and normal everyday things.
First of all, God can give one of three answers- yes, no or wait.
Yes if it is his will and the time, person and place are right.
No if it is not his will.
Wait if it is his will but there is something wrong with the time, person or place.
God is the almighty and He has sent messages to humans in many different ways. They can be categorised into two
1. Directly: God speaks to the person directly. This can be through a dream, a vision, an inner witness) John 10:27
2. Indirectly: Through another human being, through nature or our environment (even technology), through his written word the bible.
God chooses any means He sees appropriate to send messages to people. Often He has to deal with the many distractions we have filled our lives with to get the message across and sometimes He literally has to stop us in our tracks to speak to us. As christians however, God sends messages to our spirit through the Holy Spirit in an inward witness.
Most people discover a lot of time that God speaks to them through a particular medium on a regular basis. This is why the bible says we should have our senses exercised (Hebrews 5:14). When we learn to tune out all the distraction, we can sense what God is saying by whatever means He has chosen.
Prayer is a tremendous channel God has opened to us. The most exciting characteristic of prayer for me is that God hears every prayer and He answers. It can be an instant answer or it might take a while but He always answers and His answers are always best. Praise God!