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The Prayer Circle: Praying within the Character and Activity of God

Thanks for meeting us at the prayer circle.

We have all felt at some point in time that perhaps God wasn’t hearing our prayers. Or perhaps we’ve felt that we didn’t know what to pray.

Building on last week’s session, sometimes we just have to stand on the foundation of God’s Word, waiting to hear what He has to say to you. Learn more in this week’s Prayer Circle.

Praying within the Parameters of God's Character and Activity

One would think that everyone who prays would want their prayers to be heard by God. In fact, one of the apostles gave it an endearing term—confidence.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him,” (I John 5:14-15). In short, if God hears then we have. So, what can we do to pray prayers that God hears? Let’s consider 3 things.

Pray in submission to God’s holy character and sovereign activity. Our praying should be to participate with the heart and for the heart of God in all things. It’s okay to cry out with our hearts, but, in all respect, we should never treat God as our servant to whom we demand our rights or become consumers of our own pleasure (James 4:3). I speak this as it relates to individual believers and the corporate body of the church.

In Romans 11:36, after the apostle Paul is completely awed by God’s sovereign work in the salvation story, he summarizes everything with these words, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” This concise statement tells us that all ministry activity, even prayers, should originate with God, be carried out by the power of God, and return to God for His glory. If we are too busy or ambitious or rebellious to submit to His stated way, we will always be missing His will, praying wishful but ineffective prayers and wasting our energy on fruitless works. “Not our will but thine” is always appropriate.

Go deep in fellowship with God or I could say “be silent and listen.” Look at this amazing truth: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,” (I Corinthians 1:9).

This takes time and silence, but we are called to this fellowship and privileged with it. When a believing person or church is willing to slow down and listen, God will reveal His will in His time. From there confidence grows that He has heard us and that we will receive from Him.

How well does your ministry do at listening to God together? I have a friend in the construction trades who says often, “No time lost in sharpening.” I would agree. When I apply this thought to serving God, it sounds like “No time lost in listening.” God can do more in 10 seconds than we can strive to do in 10 years.

We would all agree that a proper request is important, but we do not always know what to ask.

Thankfully, we have a divine Helper. Look:

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God,” (Romans 8:26-27).

There is great comfort in knowing that when my mind doesn’t know exactly what my mouth should say to God, the Holy Spirit knows my heart and communicates with the Godhead according to God’s perfect will. Answered prayer begins when we hold up honest, humble hearts to God.

Take some time now and examine the model Jesus gave to His disciples when teaching them to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). Stay simple, humble, and dependent, and you will be heard.

Joe Humrichous

Joe Humrichous is the executive director of Paradigm One and Bible Prayer Fellowship. The message of the sufficiency of Christ for both the pastor and the local church was birthed during a time of brokenness in his early ministry. Now after 50 years in ministry, Joe is passionate to share this reality as it applies to corporate prayer and church leadership. He recently served as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Covington, Indiana. He and his wife Teresa have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.

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