Praying puts you in the place of God’s will for you. Prayer is much like a lifeline for many people. Akin to 911 call, it is used as a call for help in times of difficulty, helplessness, or danger. Perhaps, many times it is used as the last resort. When all other ways failed to solve the problem, then the last thing to do is to pray. But for a believer, the one who lives for God, not as a result of human tradition but out of the rebirth by His Spirit, prayer is so much more than a lifeline in times of trouble or call for help when in distress. It is a regular communication between you and God. You go to prayer not only because you need God’s help, but because you delight in His presence. You take pleasure in the friendship you have with God. “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” -John 15:14-15. Because you know who you are in Jesus, prayer is an act of worshipping the Most High God and submitting to His will. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said to pray like this, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” -Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus has provided us with the model on how we should pray. While Jesus clearly showed in the prayer that you can ask God to help you in your needs and to protect you from all kinds of evil, your needs is not the only thing that you should be concerned about when praying. There is another thing that you should remember when praying. It is to seek the will of God for you. What Jesus was telling the disciples was that when praying, they need to submit to the will of God. When you pray to God, you need to do exactly that. Submit to the will of God for you. When you pray, give God the praise and ask God for His will to be done in your life. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” -James 4:3. When your prayer is not aligned to the will of God for you, you do not receive it from God. God answers prayers according to His infinite wisdom and perfect love for each of us. Most of the time, when we pray to God, we ask for provision of our needs and ask for things we desire. It is not wrong to ask. God wants you to ask from Him through prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:7. But your asking should be according to what God’s will is for you. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” -1 John 5:14. Sometimes, it is difficult to know what the will of God is in the area you are praying for. Do not worry about it. As you pray for it, continue to seek His will, and He will show you the right way. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” -Romans 8:26.
Let your prayer be like an incense offering to God. King David prayed, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” -Psalm 141:2. The burning of incense along with the meat offerings in the Bible times is a symbol of worship and prayer of Israelites to God. This is led by the High Priest. God required this in detail to Moses. “And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it. Every morning when he dresses the lamps he shall burn it, and when Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn it, a regular incense offering before the Lord throughout your generations. You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it.” -Exodus 30:7-9. This has become a ritual or practice for Israelites whenever they go to the temple to worship God. But God does not delight in the frangrant offerings by itself. “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.” -Isaiah 1:11. “When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” -Isaiah 1:15-17. Your prayer only becomes acceptable, like a sweet perfume rising to God’s throne, when you live uprightly before God. When your life brings glory to God by abiding in His will for you, your prayer is like a fragrant offering to God. King David knew this very well for he said, “I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” -Psalm 66:17-18.