by Omolola Oriogun
When we wonder “how should I pray”, we seldom look to the Bible for guidance. The truth, however, is that the Bible is packed with praying people, and we can learn much from their examples.
Sometimes, we have to dig through Scripture for models. We don’t always find an obvious tip-off, such as, “LORD, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1. but instead, we can look for strengths and situations. Many Bible figures showed courage and faith, but others found themselves in situations that brought out qualities they didn’t know they had, just as your situation can do today.
Despite our heartfelt prayers, things don’t always go the way we expect. Imagine you lose a loved one or your job. What you expected from GOD was just the opposite of what you are seeing. What then?
Let’s take the case of Lazarus, Martha and Mary as our example from John 11:1-46. JESUS’ friend Martha was broken-hearted when her brother Lazarus died and she told JESUS how she felt. GOD wants you to be honest with HIM; you can give HIM your anger and disappointments, HE doesn’t mind because HE feels your pain and HE’s touched with the feelings of your infirmities, Heb. 4:15. JESUS didn’t run to Bethany as soon as HE heard of Lazarus’ illness, instead HE went to do other things. HE knew the hour to go there so that God will receive the glory. JESUS made Martha realise that HE is the resurrection and the life, John 11:25-26. JESUS felt the pain of Martha and Mary; HE was so pained at the unbelief of all the people that were around. HE wept for the pain of Martha, and Mary. JESUS gave thanks to HIS Father and Lazarus was resurrected. Of course, we should not expect JESUS to raise all our loved ones from the dead, as HE did Lazarus but we should expect loved ones who are believers to live eternally in heaven, as JESUS promised. By the time we get to heaven, GOD will mend all our broken hearts and all our pains will be over.
Trials in Prayer
Trials always accompany prayers, and if you do not understand the rudiments of praying and receiving from the LORD you will most times lose blessings. You need wisdom, knowledge and understand to keep your blessings, Prov. 24:3-5. GOD allows trials to accompany prayers because the nature of Christianity demands it. We have been born-again into a spiritual warfare against Satan and Satan will do all he can to win this battle. Satan’s strategies to fight us in prayer include:
Satan is a strategist; his first point of attack is to discourage children of GOD from asking and believing GOD. He attacks them with sickness, lack, destruction of property and makes them feel GOD does not hear them, Prov. 16:4 and John 19:11a. GOD allows Satan to attack and discourage HIS children, not out of cruelty but to see if HIS children will believe in HIM.
Second line of attack is accusation; Satan is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev.12:10). When a Christian passes the first line of attack, Satan comes next with accusation; reminding the Christian of his or her past and making him or her to believe GOD has not forgiven or is still angry with him or her. All a Christian need do to overcome Satan is go into the word of GOD and claim all of GOD’s promises for them, Rev. 12:11; Acts 17:30; Rom. 5:16 and Rom. 8:30.
Satan’s third strategy is surrounding circumstances. This means that Satan turns everything surrounding us to chaos and turns our attention to the unfavourable circumstances around us. We can see an example in 2 kings 6-7. Elisha did not allow the famine situation of that time to pull him down but prophesied the word of the LORD. Everyone that believed the prophecy enjoyed GOD’s provision. For those who did not believe the word of the Lord, not only did they not enjoy God’s provision but they also lost their lives. As Christians, believe GOD’s promises more than Satan’s doubts.
For more on this topic, I recommend the book “Praying to Receive” by Pastor Andrew Morgridge.
Remember that God sees and knows all about what you are going through. Worship and give HIM thanks through it all.