The Ingredients Of Prayer

July 25, 2012

  The Ingredients of  Prayer

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

Biblical prayer should include more than just petitions.  It should also include worship, praise, and thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving should always be included in our prayers.  I Thessalonians 5:17 says we should “Pray without ceasing.”  If  we are continually praying we will also be continually giving thanks to God.

The Bible is full of examples of thanksgiving and praise in prayer.  It appears as though David didn’t know how to pray without praising God.  Even when he was in a desperate situation, praise to God was included in his prayer.  In Psalms 17 and 18 we see an example of this.  In Psalm 17:9 he was pleading for God’s protection “From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.” In verses 1-3 of chapter 18 he gives praise to God.  “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.   The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.    I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”  We see the same pattern in the prayers of the Apostle Paul.   He included thanksgiving in the following examples  :  Romans 1:8-9, Colossians 1:3, II Timothy 1:3,

I Thessalonians 1:2.

There is good reason for including thankfulness in our prayer.  We should be thankful for what we have received from God.  Everything we receive from him is because of his mercy and grace.  We don’t deserve anything.  We should even be thankful for the privilege of prayer.  What a marvelous thing it is that the Omnipotent God, the Creator of the universe, invites us, his finite creatures, to come and talk to him.  He even pleads with us to come.  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

The first prayer that we can expect God to hear and answer is that of a repentant sinner asking God for forgiveness of his sins and salvation.  We will never ask of God anything greater.  When God answered that prayer he transformed us from the power of darkness to the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:13)  He makes a new creature out of us.  (II Corinthians 5:17)  After that first prayer, anything else we ask of God will be of much less importance.

In the Lord’s prayer in Matthew chapter six we see examples of worship.  “Hallowed be thy name” (verse 9).  “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”(verse 13).

We should even thank God for our tribulations.  I Thessalonians 5:18 says “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We are often left in the dark as to the reason for our tribulations, but Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

If our neighbor is having some serious financial problems and we offer to pay his light bill before they shut off his electricity, he will most likely say “Ah thank you, thank you.”  But, wait; we haven’t paid the bill yet.  In the same way, we should thank God even before we receive what we have asked of him.

God doesn’t always answer our prayers.  We should even thank him for that.  One woman said, “Praise God he didn’t answer all my prayers.  If he would have, I would have married the wrong man three times.” By the mercy of God we don’t always receive what we ask of him.  Habakkuk 3:17-18 gives us the attitude we should have when God doesn’t answer our prayers.  “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:   Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

In II Timothy 3:2 unthankfulness is included among other sins.  That’s why thankfulness should be an integral part of our prayers.  How can we expect to receive what we ask of God if we aren’t thankful for what he has done?  It is selfish on our part if we are continually asking for God’s favor without praising him for what he has done.  It is the attitude that says, “I’m going to get all I can from God without giving anything to him.”

Acts 20:35 tells us that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Praise and worship is something we should give to God.  Psalm 50:23 says that we glorify God by offering praise to him.  Our praise need not be only for what he has done for us personally.  We should praise him for who he is and all  he has done and continues to do.

God shows favor to those who thank and praise him.  Philippians 4:6-7 says “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.    And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” How we need the peace of God!  Ephesians 3:20-21 says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.   “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,   Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  If we praise him he may give us favors that we are not even capable of asking of him.


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