I hope the title got your attention. Hopefully, every Christian is concerned about not only having a continual habit of prayer, but also that their prayers be effective. Too many times, we start our prayers “Dear God“ and then start our wish list. But I think it’s important to get the proper perspective in before we begin telling God what we would like Him to do for us.
I think we have a wonderful example of this in Acts chapter 4. The persecution of Christianity had begun, and Peter and John had been apprehended by the Sanhedrin council for preaching Jesus. After being forbidden to speak anymore about Jesus, they were released with the threat that if they continue to do so, things would get much worse.
Peter and John then met with the local church. It was a difficult time for Christians and they were at an important juncture for the movement. So, they decided to pray. They needed God’s comfort and His assistance to remain courageous and keep moving forward for the cause of Christ. We can read that prayer in verses 24 through 30.
If we examine that prayer, we will see they did not immediately jump into what they wanted God to do. They began by praising and honoring Him. I looked it up in my Greek New Testament, and their prayer consisted of 130 words in the original language (koine Greek). The first 86 words of that prayer were in praise of God for who He is and what He has done. It is only then that they entered into the section of prayer where they made their requests. This means that the first 2/3 of their prayer was to honor God.
So here’s my suggestion: On your next prayer, spend the first 2/3 of it in praise of God. Doing that will put things into perspective. And in praying this way, we will not only be honoring God, we will be humbling ourselves and increasing our faith by reminding ourselves of just who He is and what He has done in the past. It is then that our heart should be prepared to present our true desires before Him.
When the early church prayed in this fashion, God answered their prayer in a most dramatic way (v.31). I am confident this would be true for us, as well (although you may not literally feel the ground shake beneath your feet).
Broadway church of Christ