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Praying With Confidence

Do you know how to pray? Are you certain your prayers are effective and powerful? You can be. In this study, you will discover the secrets to dynamic, confident prayer.

Personal Assessment

  • What do you think is the purpose of praying? Compare your answer with the way you approach prayer on a regular basis.
  • In your experience, what makes prayer effective?
  1. The Importance of a Close Relationship With GodPrayer is the means by which we develop intimacy with the Father. Through it, we worship Him, confess our sins, express thankfulness for blessings, and lay our requests before Him.
    • What makes it possible for us to approach God with our needs (John 14:6)?
    • Why should we expect Him to answer our prayers (John 15:4-7; Rom. 8:32)?

    A life of rebellion and indifference short-circuits our boldness in prayer. The apostle John writes that “if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21).

    • Are you holding on to any sin that cheats you out of confidence and faith in prayer? Write a prayer of confession, and surrender that area of your life to the Lord.

    One caution: Although sin hinders our prayers, living righteously does not guarantee that our prayers will be answered in the way we hope.

  2. The Importance of God’s WillBiblically speaking, the Lord’s will determines whether or not He answers a prayer.1 John 5:14-15 says:

    This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

    In this passage, the Greek word for “hear” does not simply mean that our prayers are audible. It carries with it the idea of “listening attentively” or “listening favorably.” The fact that the Father hears prayer signifies that He answers it.

    • According to this passage, how can we be sure our prayers will be answered?
    • The fact that God answers only those prayers that are within His will can seem discouraging. Why is this limitation actually a blessing?
  3. Practical Ways to Know God’s WillKnowing the will of God is critical to effective prayer. What are the primary ways He reveals His purposes and plans?The Bible explains the Father’s general will (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word sets guidelines for our lives that can direct our prayers. For example, we may confidently ask the Lord for peace despite our circumstances, or to help us provide for our families (1 Tim. 5:8; Isa. 41:10).
    • What biblical principles reveal God’s general will regarding your present circumstances? Find a few scriptures that apply, and use them to write a prayer which is within the Father’s will.

    The Holy Spirit reveals the specific will of the Lord. Especially in important decisions–such as which college to attend, whom to marry, or when to switch jobs–we should discover and follow God’s unique plans for our lives.

    The Holy Spirit takes the general revelation of God and applies it to our situation so that we know the Lord’s will. When you aren’t sure what God has in mind for you, ask Him to speak to your heart, and trust that the Spirit will reveal His plans in time.

    Will we always know God’s will? No. Paul asked three times for his “thorn” to be removed before God revealed its purpose in his life (2 Cor. 12:7-10). It’s fine to share our wants and desires in prayer, especially in similar situations.

    Sometimes we know the will of the Father quickly. Other times, God waits to reveal His point of view. Either way, if the Lord doesn’t grant our request, we should remember that although what we asked for appeared ideal, it was not His best for our lives.

    • Describe a situation in which the Lord didn’t answer your prayer even though it seemed to be within His will.
    • Looking back, why do you think He didn’t grant your request?

Closing: Would you like to see the Father answer your prayers as never before? Then discover His specific will for your situation through the principles of Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When the Spirit directs your prayer, you can have confidence that God will answer your petition.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, make us sensitive to Your Spirit so we will know Your will in every situation. Help us distinguish between our wishes and Your plans. Teach us to trust You even when our prayers aren’t answered in the way we expected. Grant us faith to believe that You are in control and have our best interest at heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)