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Passionate Prayer

Do you love Me more than these?
John 21:15

Prayer is simply communication with God. It is two-directional - man to God and God to man.

Everybody prays, both Christians and not-yet-Christians. To say that God only answers the prayers of Christians or the righteous ones can be very shortsighted and narrow-minded. All the peoples of the earth are His creation. Our Father in heaven causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). God has revealed His glory to all men and shown it clearly to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen and being understood by the things that are made (Romans 1:18-21). Since the days of Genesis, God perpetually spoke to men. He even spoke to pagan and evil kings like Nebuchadnezzar, returning him understanding and sanity (Daniel 4:34-37).

As Christians, we recognize our dependence upon our Creator. As His children, we are forever grateful and thankful for His daily blessings bestowed upon us! Prayer is not just asking God for things, for money, for needs, for answers, for directions in life, for guidance, for healing, for deliverance, for this or for that. Prayer is more than all of these. Prayer is enjoying holy communion and sweet fellowship with God. That’s why the psalmist said that it was a great delight to be with Him. Many people find that spending time with God in prayer is dull and boring. Many more think that praying is a waste of time. They dread to pray. They rather take matters into their own hands and try to make things happen!

Some try to impress God in their prayers. Some try to manipulate Him. Very often, their prayers are futile repetitions of Christian phrases and jargons. God looks at the heart of man. It is the motives that God is interested in, not the motions! Even the worst undecipherable words of babies are understood by their Father in heaven. And the mute had their prayers heard and answered!

Prayer is a very enjoyable encounter. It is lovely to be with a loving Father Who cares for us and shares with us. A Father Who knows our needs even before we ask Him. Our Heavenly Father is not a policeman who is ceaselessly on patrol trying to catch any person who does wrong. Our God is not like that. He seeks the fellowship of man who delights to be with Him.

It is impossible for sinful men to connect and reach God. It is God, in His grace and mercy, Who takes the initiative to connect with us. Unless God connects with us, our prayers are in vain. It is like trying to talk over the phone when the line is not yet connected. Without connecting, there is no possible communication! Upon connection, we can reach out and touch the Father’s heart. We can get to taste His divine love.

When God connects with us, we must connect with Him. God desires to shower His love upon us. Unless we receive His love, we are not able to reciprocate His love or love Him back! We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19). Whenever we tell the Lord that we love Him, we must also allow Him time and opportunity to tell us that He loves us! Love is mutual!

In times of prayer, we must wait to hear His voice. That’s why praying without ceasing is possible (1Thes 5:17). Praying is a conversation with God. We speak, we wait and He speaks! Waiting is part of the praying process! As God is omnipresent, we are in His presence continually! We are never alone! We see Him everywhere we go! Even in our sleep, we can pray! Very often, God speaks to us in dreams and visions! Adam got his prayer for a help mate answered when God put him to sleep.

In Luke 18:1-8, there is this parable about persistency in prayer. There was a city judge, a very godless man, who had great contempt for everyone. A widow of that city came to him frequently to appeal for justice against a man who had caused her harm. The judge ignored her for a while. But eventually she got on his nerves. Though the judge feared neither God nor man, what this widow did really bothered him. She was wearing him out, pleading non-stop. The judge finally gave in to her. She got the justice she requested.

God is more loving and just than this godless judge! If He answers the prayers of a persistent widow, how much more He will answer the prayers of His passionate Bride! There is a new move of God all over the world – a Bridal Paradigm! The Church has been a widow for far too long - wallowing, weeping and wandering. Jesus is coming back for a glorious Bride who is perfected, pastoral and passionate!

Besides persistency in prayer, God is looking for true passion – people who truly loves to be with Him, not only in words but also in deeds. God does not require our lip services telling how much we love Him when our hearts are not! He requires us to love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind (Matthew 22:37).

Without knowing what God requires can hinder our prayers from becoming effective. Because of our ignorance and lack of understanding in approaching God, sometimes our prayers may turn adversely to become abominations to the Lord (Proverb 28:9). God rewards prayers not according to the words of our mouths but according to the works of Jesus Christ. Our basis for a rewarding relationship and fellowship with God is firmly founded upon the Rock of our Salvation, Christ Jesus. He had laid and paved the Way for us to come boldly before the Father (John 14:6).

Because God is holy and just, His Sovereign love does not permit Him to grant every petition just as it is asked. Like a loving Father, He knows what is best for us. He hears and answers our prayers in the way that will best benefit others and us. Sometimes no answer can be the best answer. God does not practice favoritism. We should not think that we would always have success in obtaining the things for which we have asked. When we pray, we leave the decision to Him. He always provides the best answers.

Sometimes we trade God’s best for something lesser. Sometimes we ask amiss lusting after things that are contrary to His character and righteousness. But God has promised to answer our requests:

  • When we start helping the hungry and afflicted (Isaiah 58:9-10)
  • When we believe that we will receive what we ask (Mark 11:22-24)
  • When we forgive others (Mark 11:25-26)
  • When we ask in Christ's name (John 14:13-14)
  • When we abide in Christ and His words (John 15:7)
  • When we pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18)
  • When we obey the Lord's commandments (1 John 3:22)
  • When we ask according to His will (1 John 5:14-15).

However, there are several hindrances to answered prayer:

  • Iniquity in the heart (Psalm 66:18)
  • Refusal to hear God's law (Proverbs 28:9)
  • An estranged heart (Isaiah 29:13)
  • Sin (Isaiah 59:2)
  • Waywardness (Jeremiah 14:10-12)
  • Offering unworthy sacrifices (Malachi 1:7-9)
  • Spiritual pride wanting to be seen of men (Matthew 6:5-6)
  • Spiritual bribery such as fasting and tithing (Luke 18:11-14)
  • Lack of faith (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Doubt or double-mindedness (James 1:6-8)

Whenever we pray, we must be ready to be offered as living sacrifices upon the altar of God. The very answers to our prayers may be the very ones praying. Unless we are ready to be blessings to others and ourselves, we cannot expect God or others to bless us. We must be willing to be vessels ready for the Lord’s use. The praying Bride has passion for her Bridegroom and people! Whenever we pray for missions and evangelism, we must be willing to give and go! Those who spend time in prayer with God will become more like Him. Those who have tasted that the Lord is good will become more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, more kind, more good, more faithful, more gentle and more self-controlled. The best way to pray is through praise and worship. Reading through the Psalms will give us some insights on how the psalmists prayed. With songs upon the musical instruments, they sang their prayers to the Lord!

In prayers of worship, we recognize Who is of the highest worth – God Himself! Not ourselves or others or other things. The Divine Being deserves our undivided devotion, respect and attention. The awareness of God's holiness will lead to the consciousness of our own sinfulness. We are unclean and undone! In prayers of confession, we acknowledge our sins and ask for His forgiveness! In prayers of praise, we express what is in our innermost beings! Deep calls unto the deep - our utmost for His Highest! Highly esteemed and greatly loved! Almighty God!

In prayers of adoration, we love Him dearly. The greatest desire of God is that we love Him with our whole being (Matthew 22:37). Our love should be expressed, as His has been expressed, in both deeds and words. People sometimes find it difficult to say to others and to God, "I love you (You)." But when the love of God floods our souls, we can tell Him how much we love Him. His love will flow out of our hearts so that we are able to love others also! Loving God, loving ourselves and loving our neighbours!

In prayers of supplication, we make our requests known. In prayers of intercession, we engage in spiritual warfare. In prayers of thanksgiving, we are thankful for receiving what we do not deserve! Some of us are unthankful because we think that we have not received what we deserve. We forget that we deserve punishment and death! Instead, God gives us grace, mercy and life! With this in mind, we can give Him thanks in everything at all times - in the good and also bad times.

Praying with all kinds of prayers at all times, we will have true passion for God and the peoples of the earth. Our love will grow in breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ! We will glow in the fullness of God. And all these fervent prayers of His passionate Bride will avail much!

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary