What Helps Our Prayers
If you could determine one thing that would help you pray, would you put it to use?
We have been examining Steve Gaines’ helpful little book, Pray Like It Matters. First we looked at the importance of praying in a group. You can find it here. Then we looked at the things that can hinder our prayers. Look here for that. But let’s focus now on what aids our prayers. Let me tell you about Gaines’ Chapter 6: What Helps Our Prayers.
If one thing would aid your prayers, would you use it?
Steve Gaines gives us six aids for our praying:
- The Holy Spirit – The Spirit is our Helper and Intercessor (Rom. 8:26-27). The Spirit pleads our case before God. Can you imagine anyone better qualified to take our imperfect murmurings and explain them to the Father? That is what He does. So, pray in the Spirit.
- Praying Scripture – John 15:7 emphasizes that if Jesus’ words abide in us then we can ask for what we need and we will receive it (my paraphrase). So as we learn Scripture, as we memorize it and understand it, we are enabled in our prayers. I have learned a lot about prayer as I have tried to develop the discipline of praying Scripture and letting Scripture suggest things about which I need to pray.
- Praying in Jesus’ Name – Jesus directed us to pray in His name (John 14:13). Using His name, we are granted access to His authority. But, Jesus’ name is not a magic charm. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray according to His character and His will.
- A Holy Heart – Confessing sin in repentance moves us toward holy living. Psalm 24:3-5 points to God’s expectation that we approach Him with clean hands and pure hearts. The first step toward clean hands and pure hearts is to experience Jesus’ forgiveness and love. Since sin separates us from God, we confess our sins and turn from them so we can pray with power.
- A Hungry Heart – God promises to be found by all who seek Him. Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 5:6, and Amos 5:4 encourage us to seek God. Desiring God primes us to pray well. Can you say with the psalmist, “My soul thirsts for God” (Ps. 42:1)?
- A Humble Heart – We are to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand (1 Pet. 5:6) because God resists the proud but gives grace to those who are humble (1 Pet. 5:5). Come before the Lord with fear and love because He is holy, almighty, and above all things. See Him and see yourself as you are in His sight. Pray with a heart that is aware of Him.
We can approach the throne of God with confident, humble boldness when we pray. So with these things in mind, no power or plan devised against us can stand between us and God. Remember Psalm 21:11 ESV: “Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.” The evil one and no other distraction can stand against such prayers. These helps to prayer involve spiritual warfare. Battles may await us. But God is calling us to prayer. We have Jesus’ authority, and the Spirit will intercede for us. Therefore, let us pray.
Scripture: Look back over these six helps in prayer. Read the references given with each. Where are you prevailing in prayer? Where can you grow in your prayer skills?
Dig Deeper: Read Pray Like It Matters by Steve Gaines. Please note that small group teaching plans for Pray Like It Matters are available from the publisher’s site.