Our cry today should be, "Lord teach us to pray." Prayer is one of the greatest blessings God has given His children. We are weak and always stand in need of prayer. Always remember, God answers the prayers of His faithful children. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)


      Prayer is a glorious privilege of the child of God. John 9:31 teaches us that God does not hear sinners. "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him." This principle would lead me to ask; have you become a Christian and are you faithful so your prayers can be answered? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27) After baptism you must continue to love God with your whole heart if you expect answers to your prayers. (Matthew 22:37-40)


      God answers prayers prayed in faith. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord." (James 1:5-7)


      God answers prayers prayed with urgency. "And He said to them, Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him; and he will answer from within and say, do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Luke 11:5-9)


      God answers prayers prayed by righteous men and women. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16)


      God answers prayers prayed persistently. "Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." (Luke 18:1)


      God answers prayers prayed from humble hearts. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:7-10)


      God answers prayers prayed sincerely. "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Matthew 6:5-6)


      Prayer is the opportunity and privilege of talking to God. Let us never fall short in our prayer life because this will have an effect on everything we do or say. What an honor to be able to speak to God in the name of His Son! God desires our prayers. "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." (I Timothy 2:8) Are you praying "without ceasing"? "Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (I Thessalonians 5:17-18)


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA