Title: Pray With Respect And Clarity.
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That the world we live in today is in turmoil will be simply an understatement. There is confusion of one form or the other in all countries and majority of citizens of every country have experiences that they never thought they could have previously. Hunger, poverty and starvation is threatening day-to-day and the hope of many is thinning out. Many efforts are becoming fruitless and it seems all roads leading to success are gradually being closed. Of course it seems that some are succeeding whilst majority are failing in their endeavours but such impression remains just a mirage as it is a question of time before the encroaching situation will get to them and they will realise that all are in a common danger that will go round in a matter of time.
For those who are in this turbulence already or who are wise sufficiently to see the imminent danger, they are quickly making the decision to seek supernatural intervention since it seems natural abilities are failing. Truth be told, it will not be a surprise if majority of those who are truly successful today have the backing of one spiritual source or the other. It will be an attempt to be hypocritical if most of them deny this salient fact. What is different is the spiritual source that each one is approaching in order to achieve breakthroughs in this turbulent world that we live in. Ranging from governments, to organisations, to communities and to individuals, it is not unusual for sessions of prayers to be held to help in mitigating or eliminating completely one undesired situation or the other. Several of these groupings and individuals have clerics on their payroll whose main task is to continue to offer prayers to one form of spiritual deity or the other.
Christians and those who seek solution to their challenge through the Christian God are definitely not exempted from all these challenges and the need to seek solution and because the Christian god is the Almighty God whose name is Yahweh, it will be expected that supplications to him will be met with prompt and positive answers but this appears not to be true in several situations. If anything, the failure rate of such requests for intervention amongst these group of people seems higher than that amongst other people who seem to seek intervention through other gods. This failure rate has created serious doubts in most people including Christians about the ability of Yahweh to intervene positively in the lives of His adherents and some of them are now becoming adulterous in their relationship with Him whilst some are actually seeking for outright divorce. They seem to have had enough of this god to whom they are betrothed but who seems incapable of meeting marital obligations – 2Cor. 11:2; Jms. 4:4-5; Eze. 16:30. What most do not do however is to assess their fidelity and general activities in this relationship with Yahweh and check whether they can be considered deserving of getting their expectations from Him. No doubt, most people will fail this assessment exercise and they still expect that He should be loyal to them when they are obviously disloyal and disrespectful. These group of people are quick to cite other gods who seem to grant the request of their adherents promptly with such people seemingly more effective in prayer but do not consider the various conditions and standards set by each god and repercussions of meeting or falling short of those standards.
Beyond the fact that Yahweh promises answers to prayers in a manner that does not bring regrets either immediately or in the future in this life and also in the life to come, He does not just grant requests without totally assessing the effect of such granted requests on others and the environment in general – Prov. 10:22; Isa. 59:1; Jms. 4:1-5. Requests made with negative intentions or which will have negative impacts, either on the one who is praying or the people around such a person will not be granted by Him as He seeks balance in nature always.
Of major note in today’s teaching is the manner of approach of the one who is praying to Yahweh as seen in the society today. The manner of communicating requests as seen amongst Christians and those who are approaching this sovereign god for spiritual intervention leaves much to be desired and can never engender effectiveness in prayer. To be effective in prayer is to be able to receive an intended or desired expectation. That definitely is not the case for most people and beyond the known fact that His timing remains key to effective prayer, some people may wait until eternity and the likelihood of their prayers been granted will still be zero all due to wrong approach to prayer.
Although prayer seems to be associated mainly with religious activities, it is actually an act that man is involved in on a regular basis as man is always making one form of request even from fellow men. It is not unusual, for example, for legal practitioners to use the phrase, “I pray this honourable court…”, during their submissions to the trial judge. Prayer is actually a request to someone who is higher in status than the one who is praying. The fact that the one praying is making a wish immediately places such a person at a level lower than the one to whom the prayer is being directed at least in that situation, else such would not have to make a wish in prayer but will actually give an order or a command to make a demand. It is not normal to find one with higher authority praying to a junior person for a wish. One of the basics features of such a relationship at that point in time is the humility and respect that is shown by the one who is making a wish in prayer. It is simply not possible for a legal practitioner, no matter his/her standing in the Bar to approach a member of the Bench, no matter how low such may be, in a disrespectful manner during court sessions. Not only will the request be rejected but such may actually get reprimanded by the trial judge. Today Christians and others approach the Bench of the trial judge, who in this case is the Almighty God and address the Him in a manner that obviously lacks respect. Christians need to differentiate at all times between presenting a prayer request to the Almighty God and commanding or ordering the devil and his agents. They are allowed to shout on the latter and his agents especially if they are Christians not just in words but also in deed. This is because, as Christians, we have authority over these beings and so can exercise such when we have to – Lk. 10:19. The implication of exercising a non-existent authority can however be grave. It may not be evident on the first occasion but may manifest as such begins to get used presenting a false picture of self to such beings and it comes usually with very serious consequences – Acts 19:11-20.
However, relating with the Sovereign God must be different. He is bigger than any god that people may want to call god and with Him, there is actually no other god – Jer. 10:6; Exo. 3:14; Rev. 1:18; 22:13. All who come before Him must come with fear and trembling knowing very well that a single case of bad conduct before Him can earn such a person unexpected penalties – Phil. 2:12.
Unfortunately, this misconduct seems to be the order of the day amongst Christians who are supposed to be approaching a sovereign god. In a manner that they dare not exhibit before the important personalities of this world like their immediate bosses, people of influence and position in the society and so called mentors and helpers, they approach the Almighty God with so much disrespect that one begins to wonder whether it is not the case that the Almighty God it is, that actually is praying to them. In a manner that seems like they are issuing instructions, they shout, supposedly at the Almighty God, possibly because they think He is deaf or He is one of their servants. They issue instructions to Him on what He should and should not do to them and barely stop short of letting Him know the consequences of His not implementing their orders which they call prayers. All those who are praying to the Almighty God must realise that He cannot and will not be bullied by anyone into granting a request. The one that comes to Him must come with a broken and a contrite heart – Psa. 51:17-19. It is simply impossible for someone with such a heart to be shouting at Him in the name of making a request. One really wonders the picture of God that such people carry to the place of prayer. Most probably that of a deity who they can intimidate with their spirituality as they do not see him as the deity that conferred the spirituality on them in the first place, even if they have it. There is no way a human being will grant such requests, more so, the Almighty God who is the maker of heaven and earth. No matter the familiarity that the Christian wants to claim he/she has with the Lord, it will never be sufficient to justify disrespect and contempt that such acts really are.
Prayer is primarily an act of communication and such communication must be very distinct and courteous. Not only are the communications of Christians in prayer very rude and disrespectful, it is most times meaningless, even to the fellow human being who is listening. With the use of various phrases, some form of psychedelic approach has been brought into prayer sessions with the feeling that there is a competition on who can pray for the longest time and the use of mostly irrelevant and meaningless words phrases all in the name of praising Him, during prayers.
The one who prays must, in very simple words and very respectful manner, present supplications to the sovereign Lord. It may not guarantee that the prayer will be effective but at least, it would have placed such a person on a good stead with regards to his/her relationship with Him and such prayers been answered.
May the Almighty God teach us all how to be effective in prayer in Jesus name. Amen.