Prayer is Communication with God (Part 3)

In Genesis 11 we read a very interesting story.  It seems a whole bunch of men got together and decided they would build a tower that reached to the heavens.  To build such a tall building, the best architects were brought in.  They had to come up with plans to make a wide enough and strong enough base that it would support such a mighty tower.  They had to figure out how to best taper it as the went up so that it would point right to the sky and present an awesome sight to anyone who would look upon it.  Once this was all drawn out to the exact specifications, they would need to prepare a material list and decide where the materials would come from.  All the materials would need to be gathered and workers would be brought in to build this magnificent structure.  Their ultimate goal was to have a building that would reach God to that they could make a name for themselves.

They made the bricks for the structure and made mortar to hold those bricks together.  The building was proceeding along nicely, but their goal was not pleasing to God.  He heard their intentions and decided to do something about it.  It wasn’t long before the men realized that, all of a sudden, they could not understand each other.  They were all speaking a different language.  And since they could not understand each other, they could not effectively communicate how work on the tower should proceed.  Very quickly the workers started to get frustrated and walk away, going back to their villages and countries.  The tower was left incomplete.  Our modern word babbling, meaning talking in confused words, comes from this story.

The third step to effective communication is that we must be understood.  If I am going to give a lecture to a room full of Spanish speaking people, I better use Spanish or my lecture would be useless.  I must use the language of the people I am speaking to.  I must communicate to their understanding, not my own.  If I try to communicate with them on a level that I understand but they don’t, I will not be very effective.  Lately I have enjoyed watching a TV show called “Eureka” on Amazon Prime  It’s about a community where all the smartest people in the world are brought together to work for a company that experiments with every kind of technology and science you can imagine.  Into this mix of genius is brought a Sheriff of normal intelligence.  When strange situations pop-up, and they always do, the Sheriff is out looking for answers and the geniuses try to explain things to him with their own understanding.  He asks at least twice in every episode that they please speak it in his language of understanding.

I am well aware that God understands every language on the face of the earth.  After all, He gave everyone their voice, and He is the one who started the whole different language thing that day at the Tower of Babel.  He even knows our prayer language.  He also hears every word that is spoken, because He tells us that we will be held accountable for every word that is spoken (Matthew 12:36).  But there is one specific way that we can make sure we are understood by God, because there is one thing that God says He rewards.  And He tells us that we must practice this one thing if we want to be rewarded.  That one thing is faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him.  For he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”

First, we cannot please God without faith.  God is a loving Father and He says He desires to give good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11).  When we come to Him with faith, we can move mountains and obstacles in our way (Matthew 17:20).  When we come to Him with faith, He will do what we ask of Him (Mark 11:24).  A Roman Centurion, enemy of the Jews, came to Him with faith and his prayer was answered (Matthew 8:5-13).  A Canaanite woman’s (an unbeliever) prayers were answered because of her faith (Matthew 15:22-28).  Faith, no matter who has it, will be answered.

Second, if they come to God with their requests, they must believe that He is.  Why would I bring a prayer request to someone I do not believe even exists?  I would not.  It does not say here that we must believe Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord.  It simply says we must believe that God is, that He exists.  And I don’t know anyone who would pray, or bring a request, to someone who does not exist.   If an atheist ever says to you he will pray, ask him what or who he is praying to.  The God of the Bible does not care where a person stands in our religious vernacular.  All He cares about is that the person believe that He is.

Third, the person that comes to Him must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Here is faith again.  Must believe – must have faith.  Again, why would I take my request to someone I did not think would answer it.  When I pray to God, I must know that He will answer me.  The women with the issue of blood gave her all to get to Jesus and she was rewarded (Mark 5:25-34),  The paralytic man benefitted by the actions and prayers of men who gave their all to get him to Jesus (Luke 5:17-39).  These people knew that if they diligently sought Him out, they would be rewarded.  And they were.  We will be as well.

For more on Effective Communication with God, and on how we can build a better prayer life, get your copy of “The A.S.K. Principle” today.  You can order on the side bar of this web site, or go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble online.

Prayer is Communication with God (Part 1)

Not all that long ago there were no cell phones, no fax machines, no computers and no internet. Today we have instant communication in many different forms. The major communication tool of today is the cell phone. We can email someone, text message them or pull them up on Skype or Facebook messenger and talk to them face-to-face.  Then  there is Snapchat, WhatsApp or any number of other apps that are available to communicate with one another. We also have personal computers, laptops and tablets that can be used for all forms of communication. It is amazing that we have so many options available to us to keep in touch with other people. And yet it seems like we’re farther apart from people than we ever have been . 

Face-to-face communication is happening less and less.  I have seen teens sit across the room and text each other rather than just sit next to each other and talk.  Fortunately, we cannot text God! Our line of communication with God is called prayer and it must be done vocally or thoughtfully. In other words, we can speak it at any volume, or we can just think it and direct that thought toward Him.  I believe the spoken communication with God is the best form as there is power in our spoken words, just as there is power in the spoken words of God.   After all, He did speak all creation into existence.

There are 6 parts to effective communication on any level.  If we leave out even one part, we are not fully implementing our ability to communicate.  Since prayer is usually considered a type of request we can list these major parts as asking, being heard, being understood, expecting a response, listening for a response and accepting the response. 

We must ask.  Jesus said our Father knows what we have need of before we even ask (Matt 6:32).   He still wants us to ask because that lets Him know whether we know what we really need or not.  And we must ask for the right reasons (James 4:3).  I  must admit that my little dog communicates very well without a sound.  He hangs out in the kitchen when I am cooking, hoping that just a little morsel will fall to the ground.  This is his form of asking.  Any crumb that falls, He claims.  We never outright give him anything, so it is all hope on his part.  He just looks patiently and watches.  I know he is asking for a bite.  He has high hopes that he will get just a bit.

This is a great example of how we should ask.  The only difference is that we should be verbal about it, not silent like my dog is.  But we should ask all the time if necessary until we get an answer.  Just because the answer does not come the first time we ask does not mean God will not answer.  My dog knows that well.  He always comes to my feet when I am cooking.  He is always expecting to get something.  He is relentless.  Our prayers should be the same.

For more on our communication with God, pick up my book “The ASK Principle”.  Just click on the Buy Now button on this page.  Your prayer life will never be the same!

Introduction to “The ASK Principle”

I am convinced that everyone prays. Even an atheist has a way of expressing their needs to someone or something other than themselves.  They too need help through difficult times.  There is something deep within every human being that cries out for help. When trouble comes our way or when someone we know is going through struggles, we reach out.  Major religions around the world each have their own view of what prayer should include.  There are also many ideas on how prayer should be delivered.  Some require a set schedule of prayer, while for others, it’s more a form of meditation.  Prayer is a vital element of the human soul.

First Congregational Church, West Boylston, Mass

I was raised in church.  My mom was the church secretary in a small congregational church in Massachusetts when we were growing up.  We had to be in church!  I sang in the children’s choir. Our family was involved in everything that went on at church. At 13, I was confirmed and started being a teacher’s helper in Sunday School.  A friend and I ran a small teen hangout in the church for a while. We were at church often.  

We learned to pray at an early age.  Reciting our bedtime prayers and praying over meals were the two ways we practiced.  Unfortunately when I reached the rebellious age of 16, I wandered away from church and set out on a road of self-destruction.  Drugs, alcohol, sex, and parties were all that seemed to matter.  Church was ignored.  Even then, I can remember praying at certain times.  It is something that stuck with me even when I was away from God.  I wasn’t even sure at times who I was praying to.  I just knew I had to call out to something greater than myself. 

I remember one instance where my group of friends and I were working on a car.  We were all far from God and full of trouble.  We were trying to get the transmission apart from the bell housing and one of the bolts just would not come out.  We all tried with no success.  None of us really believed in God and we never darkened a church door.  As a last hope, my friend Wayne made the statement, “OK, God.  If this bolt comes out, I will go to church this Sunday.”  He gave it another try and the bolt came out like it was never stuck.  I remember it like it happened yesterday.  Today I ask myself why that prayer was answered and so many others, from true Christians who love the Lord, seemingly go unanswered.  By the way, he did not go to church the next Sunday.

In 1976, I made a trip to Iowa.  We attended a service earlier in the week.  The preacher had me convinced I was going to hell, and I knew I did not want to go there!  The night before I was going to head home, my friend’s pastor came to his trailer.  There, in my best friend’s mobile home, I prayed the sinners’ prayer.  I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.   I was saved that night.  Upon returning to Massachusetts, I started attending that same congregational church I grew up in.  Two years later, on a return trip to Iowa, I met my future wife and moved to Iowa in 1978.   We were married by year’s end.  Three children and five grandchildren have come along and we will soon be celebrating 40 years together.

This was a time when I really started to grow in the Lord and learn His ways.  I was focused on building a family and growing in the Lord.  Long hours were spent in prayer and in the Word.  Reading through the Bible several years in a row brought understanding.  Studying things I did not understand were all priorities of mine.  Seeking God for wisdom was at the top of my list during those years.  I became a worship leader in my small church.  Some lay ministry and prison outreach occurred.   I developed a prayer life, but I always sensed there was a lot more than I currently realized.

I had so many questions about prayer through these years of my walk with the Lord that I decided to study and learn for myself.  What is prayer?  When should we pray?  How should we pray?   Why should we pray?  How can we pray effectively?  In 1990, I earnestly sought the Lord with these questions and developed the basics for what I thought would eventfully be a book.  After finishing the study, it sat on a shelf at home.  I was busy raising a family and growing my career.  The book would not get done and the study was forgotten. 

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Cancer in the spring of 2016.  My treatment included two stem cell transplants in the first six months.  The recovery was lengthy.  Maintenance chemo would continue for two years during which I slowly regained strength. In the winter of 2107-2018, the notes from this study were found in a house cleaning session.  I decided to take another look at what I had written out thirty years earlier.  I found dozens of scripture references, notes to myself, ideas I had forgotten about and a study just as relevant today as it ever was. 

During my illness I felt directed to start a blog which would concentrate on Bible study.  After going through Philippians, Galatians, Psalms and James, the Lord put it on my heart to take this study and put it out on my blog.  Ideas and concepts were added that I had learned since the original study.  I was pleased it was so well received by my fellow bloggers.

The blog posts were gathered together and I realized that I now had the book from thirty years ago.   It amazes me how God can bring things about.  Had it not been for my illness, this book would not have happened.  It is my belief that God uses our worst circumstances to do amazing things in our lives.  This book is a prime example.  If I had not become sick and had such a long recovery time, I would have been too busy with career and other things to put this all together.  Because He gave me this time and directed me to put this book together, I believe the church will benefit greatly by the contents.

My desire is that together we can get a better understanding of the inner workings of prayer.  There are a lot of very familiar concepts and verses included.  There are also some things that God has allowed me to share with you that might be a little different than the way you have always understood prayer. By keeping an open mind, I believe we will all gain new insights into our prayer lives.  

We desperately need prayer in this world today.  Effective, heartfelt prayer that will touch the heart of God.  Prayer for healing.  Prayer for deliverance.  Prayer for finances.  Prayer for our cite, our state, our country.  Prayer for our families.  I pray this book will help you develop that kind of prayer life and will strengthen the kingdom of God in these last days.  I pray it will glorify God for the wonderful gift of prayer that He has given us.    I pray this book will start a tsunami of prayer that will sweep the church, our nation, and our world.  The enemy of our souls is raising his head in so many places.  It’s time to come against him with our most effective weapon – our prayers!