“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

4.10 The Power of Prayer

(Understanding Prayer)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Simply put, prayer is how a Christian talks with their Heavenly Father (God). Remember, God is not a material being (i.e., flesh) like we are – God is Spirit, and prayer is His method of communication with us.  Notice I didn’t describe prayer as talking to God but with God, because listening to hear what God says is equally important, maybe more so, as talking to Him. Please also remember that God is not some “magic genie lantern in the sky” that you just make wishes upon and expect/hope to get them granted. There is much that could be said on prayer, it’s hard to know what to include in this little book. We’re going to cover a lot of ground here quickly; my hope is to just get you started doing it and not worry about too many details at first. While there are many right ways to pray, there are also some “wrong” ways to pray that Scripture warns of. Those warnings should be heeded, of course.

Prayer is something a Christian does constantly, all day, every day, not just in times of duress. We see it written:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

These all [the disciples] with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. – Acts 1:14

Prayer is the central element in the life of a Christian, the glue if you will, which ties together and connects the various aspects of Christian life you have been reading about:

  • Living in the Spirit: It is by prayer that one is able to live in the Spirit, by which one makes requests known to God, and offers thanksgiving to God,
  • The Peace of God: It is by making your requests known to God through prayer that one finds this peace,
  • Godly Wisdom: It is through study of God’s word combined with prayer, asking of God, that one finds and receives the wisdom from above, and
  • The Armor of God: It is through prayer by which a Christian engages the spiritual forces of evil and does battle with them. Always remember we are in a spiritual war, battling for the lives of eternal souls.

Prayer today seems to have been needlessly made both mysterious and also superficial (of rite and repetition), when it is really quite simple as defined in the Bible. So, it is instructive first to say what prayer is not, since many have preconceived notions in this area that they have learned or been taught from childhood. Christian prayer is not some mystical chanting or new age mantra involving rituals, “babbling,” incantations, repetition of “Hail Mary’s,” talking in weird “tongues,” rambling on endlessly or other such nonsense. We see it written:

“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition [babble] as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” – Matthew 6:7-8

Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. – Ecclesiastes 5:2

As you just read, Scripture exhorts us to be to direct and to the point in our prayers, concise if you will, not rambling and droning on forever and ever like some do (I surely have seen prayers like that!). This “babbling” doesn’t indicate that you are more pious or have a more devout prayer life, it just indicates that you are babbling. Christian prayer is supposed to be simple, open and honest communication with God, much like a child talking with his or her father. In fact, such a relationship conveys a lot of understanding in how we are to view ourselves with respect to the Lord. This sets up a proper humble and contrite heart and a proper mentality of respect in our approaching God.

There are no specifically prescribed sets of words that you must say when you pray. You simply let Him know your feelings, desires, needs, wishes, and anything else on your mind. Remember, that nothing is hidden from God. Remember also however that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. So, while God sees and knows all things at all times, He still asks us to let Him know what we need, to make our requests known before Him. We are doing so not for God’s benefit, but for ours. It is also okay (and good) to express any hurt, anger, frustration, etc. that you are feeling; indeed, we see great examples of those in the psalms of David – but remember to do so in a respectful way.

You can pray kneeling, standing, sitting down, in the morning, at night, during the day, while in the car at a stoplight, etc. It also doesn’t matter if your eyes are open or closed, hands clasped or not, head bowed or not, etc. God searches the heart, not the postures. At the same time, however, any posture or position which enhances your humility before God is good and prudent, and the examples set before us in Scripture repeatedly show prayer being done while kneeling or even prone (face down on the ground)! Remember that you are having a heartfelt talk with the Creator of heaven and earth, the Lord God Almighty Himself; you should therefore approach prayer with utmost reverence, honor, respect, humility and contriteness of heart! Jesus humbled Himself in front of God the Father, despite being fully God Himself; His examples often show Him falling face down (prone) on the ground in prayer. How much more then should we do likewise! Again, we must learn from the examples He set for us.

A Christian should spend much of his or her day in prayer; in fact, we are told to “pray without ceasing” (i.e., constantly). I do think is prudent for a Christian to begin and end their day, each day, in prayer with the Lord (see the chapter on Essential First 30-Days Activities for a new Christian). The revered Old Testament Daniel prayed three times per day, even if it wasn’t convenient for him, or worse, even when it would put him in mortal danger for his life. Nothing whatsoever interfered with his prayer life. This sets an example for us to follow. Scripture shows us that even Jesus needed to pray, and that He prayed often. And if Jesus, being fully God, needed to pray, how much more should we be doing the same! And I also confess that my prayer life even today is nowhere near where I’d like it to be. It takes perseverance and desire to set aside the things and activities of this world in order to spend time alone with the Lord. It is a constant struggle to do that.

It is written that God communicates in a still, small, quiet voice. We see that Jesus often prayed either early in the morning, in the stillness of the early hours of the day before the noise, clamor and distractions of the world begin to take hold of us, or late at night, when the noise of this world has died down again:

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. – Mark 1:35

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” – Luke 9:18

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. – Matthew 14:23

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12

It is truly staggering how much noise this world gives off; we can grow used to it and therefore barely notice it, but it is constantly there, always vying for our attention. I have also found early morning to be a great time for prayer, the best time in fact, before the cares, concerns and duties of this world start to demand your attention.

And when we pray, we are to do so in private, not as a public spectacle to show how pious we are in front of others. Prayer is our alone time with God. Jesus would often withdraw to an inner room or remote location (mountaintop, wilderness, etc.) to pray:

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:5-6

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. – Luke 5:16

After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. – Mark 6:46

The bible tells us to pray in the “inner room” of our house, i.e., a place of quiet and stillness and without distraction. This again helps us shut out the noise of this world, so we can hear God. But also realize that you can pray in the middle of traffic while sitting in your car (safely of course), and at other times and places where you find yourself alone. In fact, I’ve found that prayer spots are available all day long, nearly all the time. You can even pray while waiting in an elevator or while waiting in line somewhere.

It can also be profitable to simply come before God without trying to tell Him things; simply make yourself available for Him by quieting your mind so He can talk to you. Prayer is a time of stillness and meditation. I do fully realize how hard it is to take my own advice on this; truth be told, I also need to do a much better job in this area. Writing this book has been a blessing, as it has helped me realize some of the things which I need to do better myself.

Also, while adding the words “In Jesus Name” or “In the Name of Jesus” at the end of the prayer can be used to express (and remind us) that we are approaching our Heavenly Father through His Son (the Mediator) and that we are calling on the authority of Christ, they are not required, and in fact, those who habitually and without thinking tack-on these three words at the end of each and every prayer as if they are some magical mantra are showing a superficial understanding of Christ’s instructions in this area. In ancient times, a person’s name also conveyed an indication of their character, their nature. Praying “in the name” of someone means according to their character; so, Scripture is telling us to pray according to Jesus’ character, which is selfless, humble, pure, noble, kind, merciful, gentle, gracious, giving, loving, etc.

As a reminder to you on this matter and to help break any unconscious habits, may I suggest that you try to mix in some other prayer endings at times. Here are some examples:

  • “Through Jesus I pray”,
  • “It is through Christ I/we pray,”
  • “Through Christ as mediator I pray”,
  • “By the blood of Christ I pray”,
  • “Through Jesus alone I approach the throne”

Also, contrary to nearly every teaching out there, the “where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20) and “if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them” (Matthew 18:19) verses do not even relate to prayer, as if by magic, if two or three Christians got together and prayed for a Ferrari car, that they would magically get one. Those verses are about Church discipline, not prayer. Furthermore, we are not to pray to Mary, or the dead or for the dead (e.g., the saints of old, family members, etc.), or whatever nonsense people come up with.

So just be yourself and talk with God, your Heavenly Father, as if He were right there in front of you, knowing that nothing whatsoever can be hidden from Him; your deepest darkest fears, desires, failures, ill thoughts, etc.…they are all wide open to God. Do not try to hide them; in fact, confess them, and ask Him to take that burden from you! That is when prayer really becomes wonderful, knowing you can fully trust in the Lord and give your burdens to Him. We are able to come directly into His presence through the blood of Christ; we are in effect coming right into His throne room in prayer, into the equivalent today of the “holy of holies”:

Therefore let us draw near with confidence [and boldness] to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

If a new realization or conviction of your sins (current or past sins) comes to you, confess them in prayer before God and “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is also taught in Scripture that we are to be persistent in our prayers and petitions before the Lord. This is taught in the Parable of the Lady and the Unjust Judge in the book of Luke. And remember, prayers are not only for yourself, but for others; it’s good to note that the Lord restored Job after he prayed for others:

The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. – Job 24:10

If you don’t know what to pray, may I suggest this simple prayer to help you get started:

“God, thank you for the gift of today, and for your Son Jesus Christ. Thank you for everything. Father, create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit in me! Amen!”

That is a very simple but effective prayer; also, do not underestimate the power of such a simple prayer. That was one that I prayed daily for months. It’s good to stop and reflect in awe and amazement that the God, Creator of heaven and earth and of all the universe, takes time out of His busy schedule to talk directly with you, anytime you want! You don’t have to schedule an appointment with Him or try to fit into His schedule. He’s always there, ready and waiting for you. Imagine trying to do that with a man of any great importance here in the world. And yet, God allows us to do just that through Jesus Christ. Amazing!

I’ve included in the Scripture below a prayer by Daniel, who was highly esteemed by the Lord. This is a fantastic example of prayer; in fact, Daniel’s prayer was heard immediately and a messenger (the angel Gabriel) was dispatched to him from the time he started praying. Now that’s one powerful prayer! Sometimes I receive an answer to a prayer almost immediately, but at other times, the answer takes quite a while, maybe even years. Also remember that He knows more than we do, and He sees a much bigger picture than we do, so as a result, He may not give us things we think we need or ask for; but we need to always trust in the Lord. Know that God hears you and He also knows what you need (which is not always that same as what you want), and He has promised loving kindness to those who call on His great name:

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18

The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous. – Proverbs 15:29

In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears. – Psalm 18:6

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” – 2 Chronicles 16:9

Daniel’s prayer also shows us the elements that comprise a good prayer:

  • Acknowledging God as sovereign Lord and showing respect,
  • Approaching the throne with boldness, but also with humility,
  • Confession of sins (even for others), along with sincere repentance,
  • Petitions and supplications, and
  • Thankfulness and gratitude

A person who prays well also has an attitude and expectation of the prayer being heard and answered. This is not presumption on our part; Scripture tells us this is proper. It demonstrates trust in the Lord, and that you understand that He always does what He says He will do as recorded in His Word. We may not always get the answer we like, and the answer may come in God’s time (not our time), but our prayers are answered.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. – 1 John 5:14-15

Remember that a Christian’s life this side of heaven, while we are still in our mortal sinful bodies, is one of continued repentance. While a Christian does not live in continued willful habitual sin once born again, you will still find that you sin at times (see the “A Christian No Longer Sins” false teaching). However, as you are convicted of any sins that you have done, be honest with God and confess them, and He is faithful and just to forgive you:

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:7-9

You use prayer to confess your sins before God, and Christ as mediator intercedes for you with forgiveness. How amazing is that! Now please don’t use God’s grace and mercy as justification for continuing to go on sinning willfully, as that is not abiding in Christ, nor being obedient to Him and does harm to Christ’s name instead of glorifying Him.

And finally, quoting Scripture in your prayers is fine and in fact strongly encouraged. God’s Word was given to us to use, not just read. Reminding God of what He has promised in His Word is not being disrespectful; king David did that often in his psalms.  Doing that serves to remind us of God’s promises, for it is us who are weak and need constant reassurance. Also, a good prayer often includes any heartfelt cries of emotion that you have. It’s fine to cry out to God in pain and anguish, during trials and tribulations here on earth; God hears you! In fact, the more you lean on Him in times of distress, the more He can help you:

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. – Psalm 5:1-3

I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. – Psalm 17:6
[Note: This is also an example of boldly approaching the throne of God, but doing so with reverence and humility.]

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. – Revelation 5:8

I hope this chapter has given you a solid head start on this vitally important topic of prayer.


And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:11-13 (KJV)

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. – Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

[Side note: The verses above are often called the “Lord’s Prayer” and are often much abused and misunderstood. First, in actuality, it’s not really the Lord’s Prayer, it is a prayer given to us. See John 17 for the actual Lord’s Prayer. Noting the prayer components can help us: 1) Addressed to the Father, 2) Approached with humility and respect, 3) Acknowledging Him for who He is, 4) Asking for His will to be done instead of ours, 5) Requesting that we have the right heart, and 6) Acknowledging His ultimate authority and power. Also, these verses are simply a sample prayer, a template if you will, that can help show you the structure for a proper prayer. They are not some magical incantation in and of themselves that we are to just blindly repeat without thinking. At the time this prayer was given to the disciples, Christ’s kingdom had not yet come in its power and glory yet (which happened at Pentecost), hence they were to pray for it to come. Today, we are already in Christ’s kingdom, so we aren’t to still blindly pray/repeat for “your kingdom come.” Christ is right now, this very instant, seated at the right hand of God the Father, ruling and reigning over His Kingdom from heaven (see the Dispensational Premillenialism false teaching). It is of course however still profitable and good to pray for God’s eternal heavenly kingdom to be fully established and realized, which will be on the great Day of Judgment; the same words “Your kingdom come” can apply to this if your intent is clear.]

“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” – Mark 11:24-25

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. – James 5:13

You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. – James 4:3

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:18-20

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. – Ephesians 1:15-19a

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:18-20

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:14-19

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” – Matthew 26:36-46

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You. – Psalm 51:10-13 [Note: In my experience, these are some of the most powerful verses one can pray.]

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Matthew 5:43-45

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. – Acts 16:25

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight. – Proverbs 15:8

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. – Romans 12:9-13

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1

“‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” – Jeremiah 33:3

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God [through prayer], who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” – Matthew 7:7-11

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. – Colossians 4:2-4

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. – James 5:16

For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light. – Luke 8:17 [Note: This also speaks to confessing your sins before the Lord in prayer.]

Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. – Daniel 6:10 [Note: Notice that Daniel kept praying to God even when it very likely doing so would lead to his imminent death!]

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” – Isaiah 65:24

So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.

“Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. Therefore the Lord has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

“And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked. O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. – Daniel 9:3-23

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” – Luke 18:1-5 [Note: This speaks to persistence in prayer.] 

Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” – Luke 11:5-13

Next Page>