“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Matthew 21:22, NIV
Huh,” you say. “I know what it says, but it sure has not worked for me!” When reading passages like Matthew 21:22, have you ever thought these thoughts? Have you ever concluded that such passages are for other believers but not for you? Have you waged war with prayer against temptation, discouragement, or hardship and failed? So what is up with that?
There are several possible explanations, but let us focus on one of the more common reasons why prayer does not seem to work. The Apostle Paul provides some insight in Philippians 4:6 “…by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Here, Paul indicates that attitude has a lot to do with the effectiveness of prayer. Many believers sabotage their own prayers by offering anemic prayers that seem to have little power and provide little comfort. When faced with a temptation, we often pray, “Oh no Lord! Here it comes again! You know how many times I have failed at this before! And I am feeling really weak right now… .” Now there is a prayer that God must be anxious to bless! Prayers like that program our minds for failure!
Paul exhorts us to pray with “thanksgiving” and “praise.” Instead of praying, “Oh no,” we should pray, “Thank you God that You promised never to allow any temptation to come before me that I cannot resist. I praise you Father that you have helped others resist this temptation and that you are going to help me resist it right now!” Do you see the difference? When we pray with confidence, praise and thanksgiving, good things are going to happen.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
QUESTION: What worry or concern do you need to turn into a prayer today? What temptation do you need to resist with confidence that God can take you through it?