The Path to Successful Praying
by Noah Hefley
August 15, 2020
“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 John 5:14-15).
This verse on the surface makes prayer sound kind of easy, but in truth a successful prayer experience is not quite so simple. Prayer is something we must learn in time and it comes only as we grow spiritually. A rich, productive prayer experience doesn’t come naturally, it comes only through spiritual maturity. Most of us were taught prayers when we were younger, but we need to learn how to pray when we are older. We need to grow up in our prayer life.
When I was a kid I went to the carnival at the Sunset Strip mall across the street from my church and parsonage where I lived in Shreveport, Louisiana. There I saw a baby elephant for the first time and loved it! So that evening I prayed for God to give me an elephant for my yard as my pet and I believed God would answer my prayer. Would you believe the very next day the elephant truck broke down and when I went out in the front yard to play there was that baby elephant standing in my front yard?
Ok, not really! I said “Would you believe…? You see, that’s how a child prays—He prays for what he wants, wishes, and wills. That’s not how a mature Christian prays. A person who has grown in prayer will pray, “according to His will” (1 John 5:14). The words of Paul apply here, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child and (I think we could add to that) prayed like a child…” (1 Cor. 13:11).
We have to grow up in prayer! Here’s why: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). So when we pray with selfish motives simply to fulfill our selfish pleasures, like a child, then God is not going to answer those prayers. Successful prayer comes only as we mature!
Let us resolve then to practice prayer daily with a view to grow up spiritually so that our prayers come from a mature heart and make an impact in this world powerfully. May we further God’s Kingdom and honor our great God through our prayers! Amen and Amen!
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