I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wonder whether I’m praying “right”. Whether God hears me – or pays attention to me at all. And if He doesn’t hear my prayer, why? Do I need to pray for a certain amount of time every day? Yeah, that’s it. 30 minutes a day will guarantee me God’s ear. NOT!
So if it’s not time, and presumably it’s not a seminary degree, then what is it? Why do humble prayers get answered in the Bible, while those by "important people" are seemingly ignored, and vice versa? There must be a key somewhere.
So let’s go on a Bible hunt. Find the key to effective prayer and unlock the mystery!
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:16-18 (ESV)
Wow! Elijah was a man – but he prayed and God stopped it from raining for 3 ½ years. Would you like to pray like that? Let’s look at a prayer by King Solomon:
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and swears his oath before your altar in this house...whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways ( for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind),
1 Kings 8:27-30, 38-39 (ESV)
1. Who was Solomon praying for?
2. How would you describe Solomon’s prayer?
3. What was God’s relationship with His people?
4. What did Solomon really want from God?
As I read this passage, I note the intimacy that Solomon has with God. Although he is well aware that God is holy and speaks to Him accordingly, it is evident that Solomon has an ongoing conversation and relationship with his Creator. All Solomon wants is to have that relationship with the Almighty – for himself as well as the people of Israel. It’s fervent – honest – and inspiring. He’s not asking for trivial things.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that we can pray as fervently as Solomon? What would it take to bring that kind of relationship with God into our lives?