Before I started reading With Christ in the school of prayer, i remember wondering, what on earth does an effective prayer look like? Like when do I say I am efficiently praying? Because I understood praying isn’t just about asking and receiving. So an effective prayer can’t be just one where you get what you asked for. And I couldn’t grasp my head around what I could call an effective prayer.
But at least now I have an idea of what an effective prayer looks like.
Jesus kept on repeating that if you don’t forgive your brother/neighbour, then your heavenly father won’t forgive you. Even in the famous Lord’s prayer, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And that’s where our lesson comes from today.
How effective our prayers are depend on 2 things;
1. Our relation with God
Of this many things have been said. But the most important for today is, you can’t have faith in God’s scripture/promises coming true unless you have faith in the promiser. Let us check our prayers. How do we ask for things? You know some of these things we do subconsciously. For example, before starting to read this book, when I wanted something so badly, I would go to God and try and explain my case, why I want what I want, then I would quote for Him his word that supports whatever I want, then I would insist on it again. And this cycle goes on for a while, either until i get what I want or I give up on it and move on.
Now, imagine if I assumed I was talking to my father. Probability is that my conversation with Him would take a very different course. Why? Because how I view and relate with him is different thus how I even perceive his word is different.
And that is why faith and prayer go hand in hand. To pray you must have some faith. Then your prayer will increase and strengthen your faith. And together they will strengthen each othe
For an effective prayer, you must at least know and understand and have a working relationship with whoever you are praying to. What is your relationship with your father, because regardless of what His word says, your prayer is dependent on how you two relate.
2. Our relation with men
This is why Jesus said that if you are going to the altar and remember a brother who has not forgiven you, leave your present at the altar and first go and sort out issues with fellow man. That’s how important our relation with fellow men is. That God would have you get out of church to go sort out your issue with your friend/spouse/neighbour first before coming to worship Him. Its that serious.
I know we are told differently. That God comes first. Sometimes this implies leaving some our duties to go to God’s house. Well, apparently, God will forgive you as you forgive others. So is you if you are depending on “Time heals” to forgive that person who hurt you, know that your God is also doing the same to your sins.
We try and make ourselves presentable when going to God. No wonder you hear phrases like, ” Unanitusi na Leo ni Sunday?“. We have this idea of how we should go before God. Yet when God looks at those 2 hours or prayer, He shall answer them ,not according to how much you pleaded or quoted his word , or how sincere and fervent you were, but by how you spent the other 22 hours of your day.
I once read somewhere Ernest Wamboye was saying that the bible says that husbands will not have their prayers answered if they mistreat their wives or something of the sort. I thought it a bit harsh. Until I now encounter Jesus telling us to get out of church and first sort out any issues we have with each other before coming to God. I don’t know why this has kinda shocked me. Like how you live your daily life, how you treat those around you, will a 100% affect the reception of your prayers in heaven. Seems I have a lot of food for thought.
Anyway, the above 2 have at least given me a glimpse of what an effective prayer looks like. Its one offered by a person right with God and right with men.
To pray is to change.