Economy of Prayer

On the day I called, you answered me;
 my strength of soul you increased. Psa 138:3

Have you ever wondered if there are rules to prayer that you don’t know about? You may be thinking, “How come some people have their prayers answered, but others (like me) don’t?” Could it be that there is a certain system or economy that God has designed into prayer that you have yet to discover? Rest assured, you are not the only one thinking thoughts like these.
 
When it comes to prayer, there’s either God’s way to do it or man’s way to do it. As you could have guessed, God’s way is always the best. Here are eight rules of prayer from the Bible that anyone can follow to receive more of the abundant blessings of God.
 
1. Pray in response to God’s call to pray. God actually tells us to ask him for all sorts of things like answers, deliverance, wisdom, and blessings. If you aren’t receiving, it could be because you simply are not asking.
 
And call upon me in the day of trouble;
 I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psa 50:15
 
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jer 33:3
 
“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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Mt 7:7-11
 
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Js 1:5
 
2. Pray according to his will, not yours. Often times we pray for our whims, desires, and passions to be given us by God. A key to productive prayer is to pray for things according to the will of God – things that are in alignment with his desires, things that will bring him pleasure and things that will bring him glory.
 
And this is the confidence that we have toward 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 that we have asked of him. 1 Jn 5:14-15
 
And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Lk 22:41-42
 
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Js 4:3
 
3. Pray in faith without doubting. If we don’t think God can really answer our prayers, then why are we praying in the first place? When we come to God, we need to believe that he is more than able to answer our prayers – without even a single doubt!
 
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Js 1:6-8
 
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mt 21:21-22
 
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mk 11:24
 
4. Pray with passion; like you really mean it. God isn’t looking for rote, droning, or repetitious prayers to answer. If you really want your prayer to be answered you should pray like it really means something to you. If even Jesus prayed with cries and tears, shouldn’t we be willing to also put some passion into our requests to God?
 
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Heb 5:7
 
Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. 1 Chr 4:10
 
Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Gn 32:26
 
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jer 29:12-13

And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Lk 22:44

So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was make to God by the church. Acts 12:5

5. Pray while living an obedient life; always seeking to please him. There’s just no way that we can be living a disobedient life before God and expect that he will pour out his blessings upon us by answering our prayers. The reverse is also true: God delights in answering the prayers of the humble, the righteous, and those who obediently follows his ways. 
 
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Pt 3:12

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Psa 4:3

For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
 you cover him with favor as with a shield. Psa 5:12
 
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Jn 15:7
 
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 1 Jn 3:21-22
 
God will not listen if you delight in sinning.

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
 the Lord would not have listened. Psa 66:18 

God will not listen if you hate his ways and don't fear him.

Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
 they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge
 and did not choose the fear of the Lord. Prv 1:28-29
 
God will not listen if you don’t obey his commands.

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
 even his prayer is an abomination. Prv 28:9
 
God will not listen if you are involved in doing evil.

When you spread out your hands,
 I will hide my eyes from you;
 even though you make many prayers,
 I will not listen;
 your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
 remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; 
cease to do evil, learn to do good;
 seek justice,
 correct oppression;
 bring justice to the fatherless,
 plead the widow's cause. Isa 1:15-17
 
God will not listen if you are living in sin.
 
But your iniquities have made a separation
 between you and your God,
 and your sins have hidden his face from you
 so that he does not hear. Isa 1.15-16
 
6. Pray, and don’t stop praying. If it’s really important, keep seeking an answer to your prayer. If it’s not, well, was it really important to pray about it in the first place?
 
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Lk 18:1-8
 
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thes 5:17

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Col 4:2

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer... Acts 1:14
 
7. Pray “in the Spirit.” Sometimes we really don’t know how to prayer about a certain matter. Why not ask the Holy Spirit to take over and guide your prayers so that they will be acceptable to God?
 
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 20-21
 
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom 8:26-27
 
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Eph 6:18
 
8. Pray in the name of Jesus. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not. The name of Jesus is amazingly powerful.
 
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. Jn 14:12-14
 
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. Jn 15:16
 
In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. Jn 16:23-24
 
 

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