There are three sermons any pastor can preach that will exponentially increase the guilt level of the congregation he serves. Messages on effective prayer, sacrificial giving, and faithful service are always sure to draw a tepid “Come on, preach it, Pastor” from those who are convicted in these things. The reason we don’t rise to the level we should in these matters is due to a lack of faith and an absence of passion. But we tell ourselves that we lack time and money and talent yet deep down we know we’re just blowing smoke. It’s amazing that some who have no time, take time to pray regularly. And some who have no money, give generously. And some who have no talent, serve faithfully. Faith and passion are very creative.
I’m sure there are a lot of reasons God’s people don’t pray, and one of them is the fact that we feel we don’t pray very well. I don’t play basketball because I don’t play it well. I don’t play chess because I don’t play it well. I don’t play handball because, well, you know why. Many would say, “I don’t pray because I don’t pray well.” I get it. The following two verses will help you to pray well.
“Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. “For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.'” Genesis 32:11-12
Here is why Jacob is praying. He’s coming back to Canaan after being away for twenty years and has to face Esau, the brother he defrauded. He is afraid Esau still has a grudge against him and means to do him harm. He takes his fears to the Lord in the passage above.
In his prayer he …
- Makes his request: he asks for rescue from the anger and power of Esau.
- Says what his problem is: he is afraid of what Esau might do to him.
- States the reason why God should rescue him: because God promised to bless him. (And, of course, that promise couldn’t come true if he were dead.)
Did you notice that? Jacob reminded God of the promise He Himself had made. Jacob prayed the promises of God. This is an effective and Biblical way to pray. This will help you to pray well.
Parents are aware of this approach to asking for things. Your daughter says, “Remember yesterday when you promised to take me to the park tomorrow? Well, today is yesterday’s tomorrow.” Your son says, “Dad, remember you said that you would take me to the A’s game this Saturday? Tomorrow is Saturday.”
Your kids quote you to you. That’s unfair, and pretty effective. They don’t have to yell and cry and pout. They don’t have to lay out five reasons why you should do what they’re asking you to do. They’re asking you to do what you said you would do. They don’t have to try and persuade you with logic or anger or dimply-smiles. All they need to do is remind you of what you said and that’s it. That’s genius!
YOU can pray genius prayers. Remind God of His promises and tell Him you are counting on Him to be faithful.
Let’s follow the example of David as recorded is Psalm 5:3.
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
David prayed and lifted his head up and eagerly watched for the work of God. Genius!