(source: Google images)
To pray is to beseech, entreat, implore, petition, plead, supplicate. That is, we pray because we expect an answer. We do not pray in vain.
Prayer is not just a mere recitation of words that we do because we feel it is our duty to do, like we pray because we think we ought to pray but deep inside our hearts, we do not REALLY BELIEVE that we will receive what we pray for or see them coming to fruition. When we pray in this manner, we cannot expect an answer to our prayer.
Neither do vain repititions produce much desired result. Sometimes we absent-mindedly repeat what we are praying for many times because we feel like they are not getting through. This happens because even as we pray, unbelief and doubts flood our minds.
Still sometimes we are in deep need and we know we ought to be praying, but doubts and misgivings hound our minds and precede our intentions to pray, thinking, “I’ve prayed for it before but there was no answer at all, why would it be different now?”
Prayers that come from a heart that is tainted with unbelief, distrust, and doubts cannot be answered in the way we would like them to, no matter how often we pray.
The most important element of prayer is our FAITH. God operates within the boundaries of our faith. Let’s examine the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:
…Have faith in God.
…and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
…What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, BELIEVE that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:22-24, emphasis added)
Our unbelief, distrust, and doubts limit God to work mighty deeds in our lives.
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Mat. 13:58, NKJV)
Let the words of the Apostle Paul remind us about the very reason why we pray: we believe that our prayers will not be futile, but that we will receive answer to them according to the will of God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:6, emphasis added)
So then, if we let unbelief, distrust, and doubts precede our intentions to pray, and they reign over our hearts and minds so that we become faint in praying, or we even give up praying, the Lord has this to say:
Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. (Heb. 10:38, NKJV)
However we pray, whether with fasting (see The Prayer of Daniel), or agonizing through the intercession of the Spirit with groanings that cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26; see The Prayer of Hannah), or whether cried out in desperation, a soft whisper, or a silent one in the mind, as long as we believe when we pray, we shall receive answer to our prayers.
Even the simplest prayer uttered in faith will be heard and answered. And we know that our prayer is received when we have confidence after we have prayed, peace floods our whole being, and we can completely trust that God will begin to work on our favor. And where does this confidence come from?
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 John 3:22)
I want to share with you another testimony that I wrote over at Minister of Mercy:
After being healed of stomach disease that was susceptible to cancer, Sister Nitz de Guia’s faith was tested: she suffered from slipped disc (herniated disc) and she was bound to a wheelchair, enduring pain night and day. Without surgery, she could be permanently paralyzed. But she did not choose surgery… Read the whole testimony.