Today is the National Day of Prayer. I enjoyed a prayer breakfast this morning at Kansas Wesleyan University. I enjoyed the gathering of Christians from 19 different churches in the area. I think Christ was honored and exalted and God was glorified. The prayer breakfast reminded me of a couple of important prayer lessons from scripture. Too often our prayers fail because our prayers are too small, too few and too selfish of prayers. Let’s not make those mistakes anymore. Let’s take a moment and consider a few traits of powerful prayer.
Luke 11 offers us many wonderful lessons on prayer. Let’s examine four traits of effective and powerful prayer. Verse 1-13 deal with the topic of prayer. Take a moment and read verses 5-13. First, make note that God is not teaching us that if we bug and bother Him enough He will finally give in and give us what we want. It’s almost like a crying and whining toddler who wants something at the store and he falls to the ground in a temper tantrum and the mother finally gives in to her son hoping he will get up and stop embarrassing her. That is not a picture of biblical prayer.
What does this teach? On this National Day of Prayer, let me offer you four things I can glean from this passage. Effective prayer is persistent prayer. Too often we don’t get an answer from God in the first couple of times we pray, and we give up. At the heart of this passage, God is saying, don’t give up in prayer. Continue to pray.
Secondly, effective and powerful prayer is praying in boldness. I’m not a huge fan of the 2011 translation of the NIV. However, I do love Luke 11:8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” I love the idea of praying with shameless audacity. Now that is with great boldness. Too often our prayers are too small. The church must be praying with shameless audacity. What are you praying for that only through God’s intervention will an answer come?
Thirdly, effective and powerful prayer is expectant prayer. As you pray, believe God will answer. Look at the promise in 9-10. We pray with doubt. Instead, pray in faith believing God is able and will answer. There are so many promises in scripture that assures us if we pray with faith and in line with God’s will He will answer and give us what we ask. Pray expecting God to answer.
Finally, notice verses 11-13. The key to effective and powerful prayer is the Holy Spirit. To pray effectively, you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is the one who will lead you; He is the one who intercedes for you; He is the one who knows the Father’s heart and what the Father’s will would be. As you pray, ask the Father for the Spirit. He will give you the fullness of the Spirit so you will be able to pray powerfully and effectively.
Why does prayer fail? The main reason prayer fails is we simply don’t pray. My challenge and encouragement to you today is to pray and pray with effectiveness and power. Don’t give up in prayer. Pray with shameless audacity. Pray expecting God to answer your prayers and pray in the Spirit. You will begin to see God powerfully move in and around you through prayer.